KUWAIT CITY (AFP) – Kuwait urged the United Nations on Thursday not to lift sanctions on Iraq before Baghdad makes war reparations for invading the Gulf state nearly two decades ago.
“We understand the Iraqi desire to exit from Chapter 7,” Kuwaiti foreign ministry undersecretary Khaled al-Jarallah was quoted as saying by Al-Qabas newspaper.
“But there are obligations (on Iraq) and outstanding issues that are illogical to be left unresolved,” Jarallah said.
Kuwait has said outstanding issues include the fate of the missing and prisoners of war, payment of war reparations, the return of stolen property and the demarcation of land and maritime borders between the two neighbours.
Kuwaiti officials said in April that Iraq owes the oil-rich emirate 25.5 billion dollars of reparations for its seven-month occupation of the country under the regime of executed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
In addition, Baghdad owes the emirate around 16 billion dollars in debt.
“The United Nations is a partner and must continue to guarantee these obligations since they were issued under chapter seven,” Jarallah said.
Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, which is invoked in case of threats to international peace and security, can open the door to sanctions or even military action.
The UN Security Council imposed crippling sanctions on Baghdad after Saddam’s forces invaded Kuwait on August 2, 1990. Most were lifted in the wake of the US-led invasion in 2003 but an arms embargo and some financial restrictions remain.
And Iraq has been urging the Security Council to lift the remaining sanctions, particularly those concerning war reparations.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said during a visit to Baghdad in February that the United Nations is considering scrapping all sanctions, with the Security Council due to conduct a review in June.
Kuwait is sending Mohammad Abulhassan, a top advisor to the emir, to the five permanent Security Council members to press its case.
He has already visited Britain, France, Russia and the United States while the Kuwaiti ruler Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah raised the issue with Chinese officials in Beijing two weeks ago.