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Annan hopeful fate of missing Kuwaitis will be resolved following Iraq conflict

Annan hopeful fate of missing Kuwaitis will be resolved following Iraq conflict

Secretary-General Kofi Annan
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan voices hope in a new report to the Security Council that the fate of Kuwaiti and third-country nationals missing since Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990 will now be solved quickly after the end of the current conflict in Iraq.

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan voices hope in a new report to the Security Council that the fate of Kuwaiti and third-country nationals missing since Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990 will now be solved quickly after the end of the current conflict in Iraq.

The Secretary-General notes that since his last report there had been some reason to hope for progress in the early months of 2003, including five meetings of the technical subcommittee between Iraq and Kuwait but "regrettably no concrete results have been achieved."

These meetings were interrupted by the outbreak of conflict on 20 March, but Mr. Annan adds: "It is hoped that the question of the repatriation or return of all Kuwaiti and third-country nationals or their remains will be resumed as soon as military activities cease, and that the mandate given to the High-level Coordinator will be implemented in full."

The Coordinator, Yuli Vorontsov of the Russian Federation, visited Baghdad in January pursuant to his mandate under resolution 1284 of 1999 on the repatriation issue.

The report notes that at the subcommittee meetings Iraq promised to present information at subsequent meetings. But it says that after the fourth meeting, the last one Mr. Vorontsov attended, "the coordinator stated that the constructive approach to the disarmament issues, as exemplified by the destruction of Al Samoud missiles, should be matched by the same attitude on the humanitarian issues."

Iraq began destroying its Al Samoud missiles before the outbreak of hostilities when ordered to do so by UN arms inspectors, who declared them prohibited weapons because they exceeded the 150-kilometre limit imposed by Security Council resolutions.