Kuwait to meet Iraq soon on Gulf War reparations

Iraq initially had 30 percent of its oil exports diverted to the reparations fund but now pays about 5 percent.

Kuwait to meet Iraq soon on Gulf War reparations

Kuwaiti and Iraqi officials will meet "very soon" to discuss reparations imposed on Baghdad for the invasion and occupation of its smaller neighbour in 1990, Kuwait's state news agency said.

"There is a meeting very soon with the Iraqi side, under the supervision of officials responsible for compensation at the United Nations to look into this issue in which the Security Council has the ultimate say," KUNA quoted Kuwaiti Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Khaled Jarallah as saying.

Jarallah did not give a date for the meeting but Iraq said in April that Kuwait had agreed to consider its request to reduce the compensation payments.

Kuwait said at the time that any change in the reparations regime would have to come in a Security Council decision.

Iraq's government has become more vocal in calling on world powers to reduce the percentage of its oil exports earmarked for the Geneva-based fund, the largest ever programme set up to settle post-conflict damage claims.

Iraq initially had 30 percent of its oil exports diverted to the reparations fund but now pays about 5 percent.

The United Nations Gulf War reparations body paid out $972.4 million in April for damage inflicted on Iraq's neighbours and others during the seven-month occupation that began in August 1990, bringing the total to almost $24.4 billion.

Kuwait, which has received nearly $14 billion from the UN reparations body, is still owed some $27 billion.

Jarallah said the repayment of loans mostly made to Iraq during its 1980-1988 with Iran was for parliament to decide.

Kuwaitis are still bitter about Saddam Hussein's 1990 invasion and parliament was unlikely to allow the government to forgive debts, MPs and analysts have said.

The United States has been pressing its Arab allies to forgive Iraq's debts and restore top-level diplomatic ties since its 2003 occupation.

The issue has come to the fore since the United Arab Emirates, another Gulf Arab oil exporter, waived all of Iraq's almost $7 billion obligations this week.

Kuwait's al-Wasat newspaper quoted diplomatic sources as saying that Kuwait would shortly send Ali al-Mumin, a retired military officer, as ambassador to Baghdad.

Reuters

Last Mod: 09 Temmuz 2008, 14:43
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