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Arabic press review: Five million orphans live in Iraq

Elsewhere, Saudi and Iranian experts hold talks in Jordan and Egyptian help with Gaza reconstruction efforts amid dispute over what should be rebuilt first
Omar's family were killed in ongoing battles to oust the Islamic State group from Mosul. He sits in July 2017 with a member of the Counter Terrorism Services who helped him flee the city (AFP)

Five percent of the world's orphans in Iraq

Five million orphans - equivalent to five percent of all orphans worldwide - are in Iraq, with nearly the same number of young people living in poverty, data published in a new Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights report has revealed.

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According to the report, covered in Asharq al-Awsat, one million children are working as labourers to support their families, including 45,000 who don't have official identification documents as a result of their parents' affiliation with the Islamic State group. 

Around 4.5 million children are in families living below the poverty line with 25 percent of the total population of Iraq living in poverty and an unemployment rate of 14 percent, the commission found.

The number of missing citizens since 2014, the year the Islamic State group launched its offensive in the country, has reached 8,000. The commission said Iraqi authorities have failed to fulfil their duty to those missing to investigate their whereabouts or compensate their families financially.

Saudi-Iran security talks in Amman

Saudi and Iranian experts discussed regional security and confidence-building measures that could be taken between the long-standing rivals in Amman, Jordan's state news agency Petra reported.

The dialogue, hosted over the weekend by the Arab Institute for Security Studies, focused on security and technical issues, including cooperating with regard to Iran's nuclear programme, Petra reported.

Ayman Khalil, the institute's secretary-general, said there was an atmosphere of mutual respect which reflected the desire of both parties to develop their relations and enhance regional stability.

"Further meetings between the parties are supposed to be held soon to follow up the recommendations of the security and technical discussion, and to form its details," according to Petra.

Last month, Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan said that talks between the kingdom and Iran would continue with the aim of normalising relations severed between the two countries six years ago.

He stressed at the time that the kingdom had reservations about the Iranian nuclear talks while Tehran called on Riyadh to show it was serious about negotiations on regional issues.

Egypt team in Gaza to rebuild after May war

An Egyptian engineering delegation arrived in the Gaza Strip on Sunday as part of Cairo's efforts to rebuild what was destroyed during Israel's offensive on the enclave in May, a Palestinian source told Al-Quds al-Arabi.  

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According to the anonymous source, the delegation of eight arrived in Gaza through the Rafah crossing. It was unclear how long the group would stay.

The delegation's visit comes as Naji Sarhan, undersecretary of Gaza's Ministry of Public Works, told reporters at a press conference on Sunday that reconstruction efforts were "moving slowly".

Sarhan said that while homes and shops destroyed by Israel should be the reconstruction priority, Egypt was constructing residential complexes approved before the offensive, rebuilding Al Rashid Street and planning to build two bridges.

US agrees to give Jordan $597m in aid

The US and Jordan signed two agreements on Monday offering grants and assistance to Amman worth $597m, Jordanian newspaper Al-Ghad reported.

The agreements, signed by Jordan's minister of planning and the US Agency for International Development (US AID) director of mission in Amman, are part of $1.2bn in economic assistance the US is set to give Jordan this year.

The first agreement authorised $245m in direct cash support to Jordan while the second agreement brings $352m for private sector grants meant to stimulate the recovery of the Jordanian economy and support health, education and social services.

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