The Iraqi government’s latest moves toward constructive engagement with Kuwait mark a step towards “the full normalization” of relations between the two countries following decades of strained relations, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Wednesday.
“The Secretary-General commends the efforts of the Governments of Iraq and Kuwait towards resolving outstanding issues between them and calls for their continued constructive engagement,” said a statement issued by his office.
On 28 October, the Iraqi government chaired the first formal meeting of committees charged with the coordination and guidance of new national priorities, the UN Special Representative for Iraq, Jan Kubis told the Security Council on Tuesday.
Such priorities include Iraq’s pledges for reconstruction funds to rebuild its economy and infrastructure, following last year’s victory over ISIL or Dae’sh militants, which were made in Kuwait, as a major conference on reconstructing Iraq, last February.
“This signals a Government’s determined shift toward development and investment,” Mr. Kubis said.
Iraq is still indebted to Kuwait following the 1991 Gulf War, when former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s forces invaded and annexed the small nation, seizing oil reserves and other property, prompting an international coalition to launch an offensive to liberate Kuwait.
This year, following many months of preparation, Iraqi Foreign Ministry representatives returned “numerous property items taken during the invasion,” to Kuwait on 11 and 13 November, Mr. Kubis said, marking a “clear indication” of the Iraqi government’s commitment to resolving outstanding issues.
The repatriation of property being handed over more than 25 years on, includes 2,300 books, an archive of Kuwait Television video tapes, a sword, and a valuable painting.
“The Secretary-General reiterates that the United Nations will remain fully committed to the resolution of all outstanding issues between Iraq and Kuwait,” said Wednesday’s statement.