Skip to main content

Iraq's lack of cooperation stymies progress on missing Kuwaitis, Annan reports

Iraq's lack of cooperation stymies progress on missing Kuwaitis, Annan reports

Iraq's refusal to cooperate with a commission dealing with the repatriation or return of all Kuwaiti and third-county nationals or their remains continues to stymie any progress on the issue, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan says in a report released today.

"Despite the encouraging agreements at the Arab Summit in Beirut [in March], Iraq's words on the fate of the missing persons are yet to be matched by tangible deeds," the Secretary-General says in his latest report to the Security Council.

"There still is a window of opportunity to address humanitarian issues, such as that of missing persons, in good faith," Mr. Annan observes. "Iraq should use this opportunity to restore its credibility on the outstanding humanitarian issues."

The Secretary-General stressed that the UN's High-level Coordinator, Ambassador Yuli M. Vorontsov, "can only achieve what he is mandated to accomplish if Iraq changes its position of non-cooperation with [Security Council] resolution 1284," which reiterates Baghdad's obligation to work with the various parties dealing with the issue.

Ambassador Vorontsov remains ready, at short notice, to meet once again with Iraqi officials, at any time and at any place, Mr. Annan writes, adding that it is his "strong conviction" that a dialogue between the Government of Iraq and the Coordinator would bring positive results in the search for a solution to the humanitarian issue.

The Secretary-General also voices his appreciation for the continued efforts of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to resolve this humanitarian issue, and its dialogue with the Iraqi, Kuwaiti and Saudi Arabian authorities, as well as other parties, towards this end.

"I encourage ICRC, as well as other international agencies and organizations, to continue to remain engaged to promote an expeditious resolution of this issue," Mr. Annan says. "At the same time, the Tripartite Commission remains the most appropriate mechanism to deal with the issue, and the Coordinator will continue to maintain close contacts with it."

The Security Council is scheduled to meet in closed consultations on Wednesday to discuss the report and hear a briefing by Ambassador Vorontsov.