Baghdad, Asharq Al-Awsat- Ali al-Dabbagh, official spokesman for the Iraqi Government, has stressed that his country is seeking to persuade all the neighboring and regional quarters and states that the regime in Iraq now “is not a threat to security and peace in the region.” His statements came amid reports about a Kuwaiti quest to keep Iraq tied to the provisions of Chapter Seven [of the UN Charter] as long as Baghdad does not meet its obligations to Kuwait in connection with the pending issues such as compensations, the missing persons, and the delineation of borders between the two countries.
Al-Dabbagh declared to Asharq Al-Awsat: “We want all states, and Kuwait in particular, to show understanding and not to oppose the lifting of Iraq’s obligations under Chapter Seven, and of the sanctions that have adversely affected the Iraqi people that have suffered a great deal because of them.”
Concerning the measures taken by Iraq about this matter, Al-Dabbagh points out that “the Iraqi Government wants to resolve all the pending issues between Iraq and the states of the region, all the more since a number of states have taken positive steps in this respect, dropping their debt claims to Iraq; so, we are expecting the State of Kuwait to set aside apprehensions over Iraq.” He adds: “It is not in the interest of relations between the two countries that these issues should remain an obstacle in the way of lifting Iraq’s obligations under Chapter Seven; in fact, I do not believe that any state would benefit from Iraq remaining shackled and tied up.”
Al-Dabbagh further says that “Iraq is not opposed to the settling of all the other pending issues with all states, such as Iran, for example, especially concerning disputes over territorial waters, with the participation of any side concerned; Iraq sees this as a step towards the settling of all the pending issues with all the states in the region.”
With regard to the likelihood of meetings being held with the Kuwaiti side at the upcoming stage, the spokesman for the Iraqi Government affirms: “We call on the brothers in Kuwait to hold meetings in order to settle all pending issues between the two countries.”
In this connection, Al-Dabbagh stressed in a statement, a copy of which has been received by Asharq Al-Awsat, “the importance that the Iraqi Government attaches to the brothers in Kuwait showing understanding to the full commitment of Iraq to deal with the issues concerning the remains of the Kuwaiti martyrs, and Kuwaiti properties, as well as with the rest of the pending issues, by all the possible and available means. Iraq also fully sympathizes with the families of the missing [Kuwaiti] persons who have disappeared, together with thousands of Iraqis, under the Saddam regime.”
In this connection, an adviser at the Kuwaiti amir’s court, Muhammad Abdullah Abu-al-Hassan, has ended a shuttle trip to the UN Security Council permanent member states, and he met the UN secretary general in order to spell out Kuwait’s position toward the Iraqi moves seeking to have its obligations under the provisions of Chapter Seven of the UN Charter dropped. The Iraqi moves in question are being made as the date is drawing nearer for the UN secretary general to present his report to the Security Council – next month – about how far Iraq is meeting its obligations under the terms of UN resolutions.
For his part, Labid Abbawi, under secretary at the [Iraqi] Foreign Ministry, has pointed out that Iraq has informed Kuwait that it is fully prepared to meet all its obligations under the terms of the Security Council resolutions, including the pending issues, notably those related to the remains of [missing] Kuwaitis and Kuwaiti properties.
Abbawi told Asharq Al-Awsat that “Iraq continues to adhere to this line, and that it has always shown its preparedness to help the UN and the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq, and to cooperate with the brothers in Kuwait.”
Abbawi emphasized that “Iraq has no wish not to definitively settle these issues at the soonest possible time, but, nonetheless, some issues need more time to be solved, especially regarding the search for the remains of Kuwaitis in mass graveyards. In fact, we are following any information we receive about this matter, with all interest and professionalism.” He stressed that “Iraq has affirmed that the bilateral relations between the two countries, neighborliness, Kuwait’s support for the country since the fall of the [Saddam] regime and up to now, and the exchange of visits between the two countries, all this underlines Iraq’s commitment to establishing relations with Kuwait.”