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Iraq pledges at least $13 billion

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The World Bank says $55bn will be needed to rebuild Iraq.

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MADRID, Spain (CNN) -- Donor countries, excluding the United States, have pledged at least $13 billion to help rebuild Iraq, conference officials said.

The U.S., which has pledged $20 billion to Iraqi reconstruction, had hoped other countries would contribute $36 billion at the donor's conference in Madrid.

More than $55 billion is needed over the next four years, according to estimates, to help in the reconstruction of Iraq.

So far, the largest contribution outside the United States has reached come from Japan. (Donor list)

Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi announced a $5 billion package, which includes a $1.5 billion grant for 2004 and $3.5 billion in loans through 2007

Saudi Arabia said it will give $500 million in export credits and $500 million in loans.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said the contributions being sought are "not a one-size fits all proposition."

"Each donor will find its own way to contribute, but whatever form your support may take, it must be substantial because Iraq's requirements over the next few years are very substantial."

Iraq and the United States have stated very clearly that they would prefer cash grants over loans. Some of the delegates have not explained whether their donations will be in the form of grants or loans.

Qatar -- the Persian Gulf emirate where U.S. Central Command was based during the buildup of the Iraq war -- said it would donate $100 million.

Kuwait is pledging $500 million in aid for its neighbor who invaded the small country under Saddam Hussein, prompting the 1991 Gulf War.

Earlier, it was incorrectly reported at the donors' conference that Kuwait pledged $1 billion in aid.

EU External Affairs Commissioner Chris Patten blamed the error on a translation problem. Patten said the Kuwaiti delegation wanted the conference to know that Kuwait already spent $1 billion for Iraq and that Friday's pledge of $500 million was new money.

France and Germany, who led the opposition to the most recent U.S.-led war that ousted the Iraqi leader, are being urged to contribute separately from the European Union's pledge of $236 million.

Ayad Allawi, representing Iraq's U.S.-appointed Governing Council, accused the two countries of neglecting Iraq at a crucial time.

"As far as Germany and France are concerned, really, this was a regrettable position they had," Allawi said Thursday. "I don't think the Iraqis are going to forget easily that in the hour of need, those countries wanted to neglect Iraq."

World Bank President James Wolfensohn said his organization is prepared to offer between $3 billion and $5 billion to Iraq, based on some conditions, including security on the ground. Reports have indicated the money would be loans, not outright cash grants, however Wolfensohn did not specify.

"This is not charity the country is looking for, this is opportunity," he told the conference.

Italy's Foreign Minister Franco Frattini pledged $236 million for 2004 through 2006, but also did not say if the money would be grants or loans.

The World Bank and the United Nations estimate that rebuilding Iraq after decades of war, economic sanctions and misrule under Saddam Hussein will cost more than $55 billion over four years.

The United States is seeking up to $36 billion in pledges at the two-day international conference and has asked the U.S. Congress to spend $20 billion on reconstruction.

Powell said he did not expect to get all $55 billion in one conference.

"This donors' conference is an important step towards meeting that goal and I am confident that when the day is done, the world will see that we have come together and made a substantial contribution to that goal."

Spanish Economy Minister Rodrigo Rato said last Friday he hoped $15 billion to $20 billion would be raised at the conference, but Foreign Minister Ana Palacio told CNN last week that the pledges might come to as little as $6 billion.

The EU has pledged $236 million in reconstruction aid and plans to outline a "medium-term strategy" for Iraq in March 2004, according to Patten. But he added, "Whether we can spend the money we've already pledged will depend a great deal on the security situation."

Patten also defended Germany and France, insisting the countries have "put their doubts to one side" and have come forth with aid to Iraq.

"Germany and France are contributing indirectly through the overall European budget, and Germany, for example, has been and extremely generous provider of assistance for humanitarian purposes," he said.

On Thursday, the first day of the conference, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan Thursday urged the representatives to ante up the billions needed for reconstruction, saying Iraq requires work "on a monumental scale."

"The people of Iraq have a hard road ahead of them, filled with both risk and opportunity," he said. "Let us not leave them to travel that road alone." (Full story; Facts: Iraq's needs and donors)

-- CNN Correspondents Sheila MacVicar and Al Goodman contributed to this report.

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