The Security Council today called on Iraq and Kuwait to redouble their efforts in the search for persons and property missing since the 1990 Gulf war, noting limited progress on this matter in recent months.
Progress on this front “would further strengthen existing friendly relations between Iraq and Kuwait,” the 15-member body said in a statement read out to the press by Ambassador Le Luong Minh of Viet Nam, which holds the Council presidency this month.
“The members of the Security Council noted that limited progress had been made on the identification of human remains,” he said.
They also took note that no progress had been made on clarifying the fate of the Kuwaiti national archives, he added. Nevertheless, the Council welcomed the return by the Iraqi Government of currency and postage stamps to Kuwait.
“The members of the Security Council also welcomed the Iraqi Government’s Action Plan on reconnaissance activities, including sending technical teams to burial sites and their preparation for exhumations, and looked forward to its implementation in the coming months.”
The statement followed the Council’s closed-door meeting with Ambassador Gennady Tarasov, the Secretary-General’s High-Level Coordinator for the issue of missing Kuwaiti and third-country nationals and the repatriation of Kuwaiti property.
Mr. Tarasov briefed Council members on the Secretary-General’s latest report, in which he notes that recent months have brought about some “initial indications of movement” on the issue.
“Progress remains fragile, however. The main task of discovering and identifying the victims and, finally, closing their files lies ahead,” Mr. Ban wrote, adding that this objective can be achieved only through increased cooperation between the two countries.
In its statement, the Council also voiced support for the Secretary-General’s proposal for a “confidence- and cooperation-building period,” to further encourage the parties to achieve progress.
It also agreed to finance the continuation of the activities of the High-Level Coordinator for an additional eight months.