Iraq has urged international donors to speed up delivery of pledged aid so the war-torn country can build a long-term future for its people.
Speaking to representatives of 55 countries and organizations on the first day of a two-day donors' conference in Tokyo Wednesday, Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih said development and stability cannot be driven forward through the barrels of guns.
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage told the conference that after a slow start the United States has disbursed a billion dollars in aid to Iraq in the last three months. Mr. Armitage also said debt relief is essential if Iraq is to recover.
Conference delegates will meet again Thursday, but not many new pledges of aid are expected.
The Tokyo conference is a follow up to last year's meeting in Madrid where $13 billion was pledged for post-war construction projects.
So far, only about $1 billion of that amount has been deposited in a trust fund set up by the World Bank and the United Nations.
Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.