UN Security Council meets in Kuwait for first time
KUWAIT: Kuwait said on Friday that it was looking forward for a new approach to help Iraq meet international obligations towards Kuwait, including missing Kuwaiti and third-country nationals. Kuwait appreciates UN Security Council’s (UNSC) keenness on implementing resolutions related to situation between Kuwait and Iraq with regards to compensations, missing Kuwaitis and third-country nationals, and missing Kuwaiti properties including national archives, Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah said.
“We reaffirm importance and sensitivity of these issues, and their role to improving relations and building confidence between Kuwait and Iraq,” Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled, addressing a meeting with visiting representatives of UNSC members. “Therefore, we are looking forward for more efforts and to see a new approach to addressing obligations towards State of Kuwait … specially the humanitarian matters related to missing Kuwaitis and third-country nationals,” he said. Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled welcomed recent endeavors by the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) which contributed to finding remains “which we hope belong to Kuwaiti citizens.” Kuwait, he added, was awaiting “important positive developments” that would achieve concrete progress on the ground in order to end over 28 years of suffering of families of the missing.
On June 20, a joint statement by ICRC-affiliated Tripartite Commission announced recovery of human remains in southern Iraq, offering hope for families of missing people from 1990-91 Gulf War. Kuwait and Iraq are the other Commission members. The remains were found at two burial sites, as a result of joint efforts between Iraqi and Kuwaiti authorities, and experts from ICRC, conducted within framework of the Commission. The remains were fully exhumed and transferred to Baghdad’s Medico-Legal Directorate for DNA analysis.
Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled, who said Kuwait would spare no efforts to know fate of missing citizens to close this humanitarian file, commended “genuine desire” of Iraq to fulfill UN-related obligations towards Kuwait. Kuwait, he added, was ready to provide support for Iraq to speed up execution of obligations. Kuwait has always supported Iraq at different fronts, noted Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled, either bilaterally or via the UN. He commended UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) for helping Iraq improve security and stability nationwide, as well as contributing to reconstruction. “Kuwait fully supports the Mission and is cooperating with it to fulfill its mandate in line with UNSC resolution 2470, as well as its follow up of the file of missing Kuwaitis and third-country nationals, and Kuwaiti properties including the national archives in line with UNSC resolution 2107,” he said.
Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled asserted Kuwait supported reconstruction of areas liberated from so-called Islamic State (IS) and other terrorist groups. Kuwait hosted the International Conference for the Reconstruction of Iraq in February 2018, raising around $30 billion worth of loans, investment and credit facilities, he noted, of them Kuwait pledged $2.5 billion. “We are looking forward to establishment of a mechanism to follow up these pledges,” added the top diplomat. However, he said, Kuwait was still worried over threats posed by the terrorist groups in Iraq despite IS defeat. Kuwait hopes to see Iraq double efforts to crack down on terrorists, he said. Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled spoke further about Kuwait’s support of Iraq when His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Jaber Al-Sabah visited Baghdad last week in a big boost to bilateral relations and cooperation. Kuwait also hosted last month the joint committee with Iraq and the two sides reached understandings and agreements over a host of issues of mutual interest.
Meanwhile, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled thanked the UNSC representatives for their visit to the region, which would also include Iraq. He hoped the visit to Iraq “sends a message of support for the Iraqi government towards implementing its international obligations, fighting terrorism, as well as reconstruction and improvement of humanitarian situation.” The UNSC representatives thanked Kuwait, a current non-permanent member, for supporting peace-making worldwide. Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled then held a dinner banquet for the UNSC representatives, and ambassadors of UNSC members to Kuwait. The meeting was attended by assistant foreign minister for the minister’s office Ambassador Sheikh Dr Ahmad Nasser Mohammad Al-Sabah, assistant foreign minister for protocol Dhari Al-Ajran, Kuwait’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Mansour Al-Otaibi and assistant foreign minister for international organizations Nasser Al-Hayyen.
The UN Security Council members were in an official visit to the State of Kuwait for the first time to be briefed with the evolving Kuwaiti-Iraqi relations. “We hope this visit would give UN Security Council members an idea on how evolved relations between Kuwait and Iraq are,” Otaibi said. Meanwhile, US Ambassador to Kuwait Lawrence Silverman said that the United States “looks forward to close Kuwaiti-Iraqi relations and hopefully an expanded economic relation between the two countries. It would be mutually beneficial. It is as important for Iraq to broaden its economic relations and integration with its Arab neighbors.”
He stressed the significance of the UN Security Council members’ visit to Kuwait, branding it “extremely important,” noting that “among all states, Kuwait is actually the one who understands the importance of stability and prosperity in Iraq, which was evident from His Highness the Amir’s recent visit to Baghdad.” In addition to the permanent members; UK, US, France, Russia and China, this term’s non-permanent members include Belgium, Germany, Poland, Cote d’Ivoire, Dominican Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Indonesia, Peru, South Africa and Kuwait whose chairmanship ends by end of June. – KUNA