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UN Offers Help To Restore Basic Services In Ramadi

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi (center) visits Ramadi on December 29 after the city had been retaken from Islamic State extremists.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has offered to help Iraq restore basic services in Ramadi to allow civilians to return after the city was recaptured from the Islamic States (IS) extremist group.

Ban made the offer on December 30 during a telephone conversation with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi who visited Ramadi after Iraqi forces drove out IS militants.

Ban described the recapture of Ramadi as "an important victory," his office said in a statement.

The statement said Ban "stressed the need for measures to be taken to restore the rule of law as well as basic services in Ramadi as to allow for the return of internally displaced persons as soon as possible."

The United Nations estimates initial reconstruction needs in Ramadi require about $20 million, but the longer term outlay is likely to be much greater.

The U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said in a statement on December 30 that "Areas are still insecure, littered with IEDs [improvised explosive devices], and there has been extensive damage of public buildings and houses. Electricity and water services have been damaged."

Ramadi has been battered by IS explosives and U.S.-led air strikes targeting Islamic State militants since IS fighters overran the city in May.

Abadi ordered the immediate formation of a high-level committee to stabilize and rebuild Ramadi.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters