Insecurity in Iraq slowing efforts to recover missing Kuwaitis – Ban Ki-moon

10 December 2007

Recovering the remains of Kuwaiti and other nationals missing since the country’s 1990 war is taking longer than anticipated given the serious security challenges in Iraq, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says in a new report.

Recovering the remains of Kuwaiti and other nationals missing since the country’s 1990 war is taking longer than anticipated given the serious security challenges in Iraq, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says in a new report.

At the same time, he voices hope that the security conditions in Iraq will sufficiently improve so as to allow Kuwait to send technical teams and resume search and exhumation efforts at Iraqi mass burial sites next year.

In his latest report on the issue to the Security Council, Mr. Ban notes that since May, the number of Kuwaiti and third-country nationals whose remains have been identified remains unchanged, at 233. The identifications were based on human remains brought to Kuwait in 2004, as no exhumation activities were conducted this year, he adds.

“Kuwait is unable to send field missions to Iraq to perform search, assessment and exhumation activities as long as the security situation in Iraq remains dangerous,” Mr. Ban writes. In addition, efforts to convince Iraqi witnesses to come to Kuwait and provide relevant information have so far been “unsuccessful.”

In the meantime, Kuwait has been gathering information about burial sites in Iraq in preparation for dispatching technical teams to the war-torn country as soon as the situation there stabilizes. Security permitting, it hopes to send a technical team to Iraq in early 2008 to carry out identification procedures at one such site.

Regarding the return of Kuwaiti property, Mr. Ban adds that the national archives have still not been found. He expressed support for the intensified activities of his envoy, Yuli Vorontsov, to determine the whereabouts of the archives and facilitate their return, as well as for his continued efforts to assist in the repatriation or return of all Kuwaiti and third-country nationals or their remains.

 

♦ Receive daily updates directly in your inbox - Subscribe here to a topic.
♦ Download the UN News app for your iOS or Android devices.