Ban Ki Moon

UN chief Ban Ki-moon in Baghdad for talks

BAGHDAD: United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Baghdad on Saturday for talks with senior officials on ways of assisting war-ravaged Iraq, the world body said.

Ban, who had last visited the Iraqi capital in March 2015, was travelling with World Bank chief Jim Yong Kim and Islamic Development Bank head Ahmad al-Madani.

They went straight into talks with Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari.

Ban flew from Lebanon, where he called for an end to war in the region and visited some of the 1.2 million refugees the country hosts.

A drop in oil prices has had a devastating effect on the economy of Iraq, already strained by the cost of the fight against the Islamic State group.

As areas are gradually retaken from the extremists in intense battles, Baghdad is left with little to spare on the reconstruction of ravaged cities.

The government has asked for support from its foreign partners.

During a visit to Baghdad on March 16, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said lenders would be urged to help.

“We will work with our partners from the G7 in order to provide direct support to the Iraqi government, and also to put pressure on the international financial institutions to give bigger and quicker loan support to Iraq,” he said.

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