UN chief ‘encouraged’ by progress in relations between Kuwait and Iraq

5 December 2012

During a visit to Kuwait, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today said he was encouraged by the country’s recent progress in relations with Iraq, adding that the two nations have a “historic” opportunity to begin a new era of cooperation.

“I believe there is a historic opportunity for Iraq and Kuwait to move beyond the past and usher in a new era of cooperation,” Mr. Ban told reporters in Kuwait City.

“I am committed to normalization. I am also committed to continue to ensure that Iraq fulfils all its outstanding international obligations pertaining to Kuwait,” he added.

Relations between the two countries suffered as a result of Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait. The following year, the Security Council established the UN Compensation Commission (UNCC), which settles the damages claims of those who suffered losses in the invasion.

So far, the amount of compensation disbursed by the UNCC totals $37.7 billion for more than 1.5 million successful claims of individuals, corporations, governments and international organizations. Successful claims are paid with funds drawn from the UN Compensation Fund, which is funded by a percentage of the proceeds generated by the export sales of Iraqi petroleum and petroleum products.

Outstanding issues between the two countries pending from Iraq’s 1990 invasion also include missing Kuwaiti and third-country nationals and property. In this regard, Mr. Ban said he was heartened by recent exchanges of high-level visits and the holding of the second meeting of the Joint Ministerial Committee, tasked with leading and coordinating efforts with regard to the Kuwaiti national archives.

During his visit, Mr. Ban met with Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, with whom he discussed a wide range of regional issues ranging from prospect for peace in the Middle East and the ongoing crisis in Syria.

“As democracy advances across the region, I count on Kuwait to address the aspirations of the country’s people and advance toward greater openness and freedom for all,” he said.

Earlier today, Mr. Ban spoke at an informal ministerial roundtable as part of the 18th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in Doha, Qatar.

Mr. Ban underscored that climate change has been and will remain one of his top priorities, and stressed that governments address this issue through all their policymaking areas, including finance, energy, transport and foreign relations.

“It is essential that we abandon silos and work together to join the dots to meet the climate challenge,” Mr. Ban told the roundtable entitled “Ambition, Support and Delivery, Now and in the Future.”

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Iraq: UN envoy flags improved Kuwait links, with progress depending on ‘restoration of confidence’

Highlighting improvements in relations between Iraq and Kuwait, the United Nations top official in Iraq today said that progress will “depend on the restoration of confidence between both sides” and encouraged further momentum from the two countries.