Iraq needs around $100 billion over the next four to five years to rebuild its shattered infrastructure, a government spokesman said on Tuesday.
"The situation in Iraq surpasses Iraq's ability to finance development projects," Ali al-Dabbagh told a news conference in Kuwait during a meeting of officials from donor nations and the United Nations on Iraqi reconstruction and economic reform.
Iraq's infrastructure was ravaged by decades of sanctions and war during the rule of deposed President Saddam Hussein, and by the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 and the violence that followed.
Reconstruction has been hampered by insurgent attacks which forced many projects to be halted and diverted funds away from rebuilding and into increased security.
The oil industry has been hit by frequent sabotage.
"The Iraqi economy is a one-crop economy built on oil only and there are no other revenue sources... therefore oil exports are being spent on operational expenditure," Dabbagh said.
"Until the oil sector can rise and assume its full role ... we need this sum for the infrastructure and for investment expenditure."
The meeting was the last set of talks on the International Compact for Iraq, a roadmap for economic reform, which is expected to be adopted by a ministerial meeting in December.
Dabbagh said the compact also included plans to build dialogue in Iraq and disband militias to try to halt violence.
NEW U.S. PLEDGE
U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary Robert Kimmitt said Washington will commit to new pledges of aid to Iraq again.
"I think the size of the pledges will be announced by the ministers at the ministerial meeting ...," Kimmitt added.
Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih said in a statement that his government has a tough timetable to push reforms that included a recently-passed investment law. The government set a target to cut unemployment by at least 15 percent, he said.
"The International Compact represents a carefully-drafted roadmap to clarify how can Iraq, with the help of its international partners, achieve economic self-sufficiency in the medium term," Salih said.
To succeed, Iraq needs progress in three areas -- "political reconciliation ... achieving security and stability in all regions ... and achieving economic growth and prosperity".
But he said Iraq won't be able to achieve any of the goals under the compact without generous international support.
Ashraf Qazi, the U.N. secretary general's special representative for Iraq, told the meeting that in coming weeks the United Nations will consult with countries and institutions which had shown interest in helping Iraq.
Iraq's goals include winning relief on some $40 billion in debt owed to Gulf Arab states. Western states have already forgiven Iraq much of its debt but Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, the biggest Gulf creditors, have made no firm commitments.
Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammad al-Salem al-Sabah hinted that there was little movement on the issue of some $16 billion that Iraq owes it, reiterating that debt forgiveness is a matter for the Gulf country's parliament to decide on.