UNITED NATIONS, July 20, (KUNA): Iraqi Ambassador to the UN Hamed Al-Bayati late Thursday told the Security Council that his government is “committed” to solving the remaining issues with Kuwait within the framework of the relevant resolutions adopted on the situation between the two countries. “Solving these remaining issues through friendly relations and negotiations is a top priority for us in Iraq,” Al Bayati said in an open meeting by the Council.
“I assure this esteemed Council that there is a positive collaboration and exchange between the Governments of Iraq and Kuwait to settle all the unresolved issues between the two countries” resulting from the 1990 invasion of Kuwait, he said.
The Council met to listen to a briefing by the UN Special Envoy for Iraq Martin Kobler on the work of the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) prior to the renewal of its mandate for 12 more months next week.
He asserted that Iraq has made “intensive efforts” to locate the remains of missing Kuwaitis and of the Kuwaiti property.
He also pointed out to the meeting of the joint Iraqi-Kuwaiti Ministerial Committee that took place in Baghdad on April 29 and during which a number of issues were discussed, including Iraq’s obligations towards international resolutions, land borders, freedom of navigation in Khor Abdallah, Kuwaiti loans to Iraq, compensations, Kuwait new Mubarak Port, the establishment of a Gulf hunt area and the opening of Kuwaiti consulates in Basra and Arbil.
He said the meeting resulted in three agreements: identification of all issues, creation of a joint collaboration committee, and the establishment of a joint management committee to facilitate and organize navigation in Khor Abdullah signed by the Transportation Ministers of both countries.
He added that an agreement was also reached to sign other accords, after concluding the legal steps in each country, during the visit the Kuwaiti Prime Minister intends to pay to Baghdad before the end of this year.
“All these agreements have been achieved as a result of the political will of the leaders of the two countries. We hope that the achievements of April 29th meeting will pave the way for Iraq’s exit from the provisions of Chapter VII, especially when there is an understanding on specific mechanisms and joint vision for the future steps,” he noted.
Kobler told the Council that Iraq has taken “decisive steps to finalize the Iraq-Kuwait Boundary Maintenance Project” in accordance with resolution 833 of 1993.
From June 4 to 11, he explained, a UN tripartite mission traveled to the border area to assess the current situation of border pillars and update the concept of operations for the project.
He added that the UN, at the request of both countries, is preparing for the maintenance work to start by October 31, “provided that key prerequisites like the removal of obstacles on the border are met.” He indicated that “bringing all Chapter VII obligations (pertaining to Iraq) to a satisfactory close will boost prospects fro bilateral trade and investment, promote regional cooperation and lead to the restoration of Iraq’s rightful standing within the international community,” urging Iraq, once again, to “quickly fulfill all its obligations.” Kobler pointed out that the intensity and frequency of sand and dust storms mainly generated from inside Iraq has increased in recent years and had a “significant impact” on public health in Iraq and in the wider region, and affect transport and trade.
He said in this regard, that while in Kuwait last month, and following an offer by HH the Amir to invest a portion of Iraq’s outstanding war compensation funds back into Iraq, he proposed an “environmental fund.” “If Iraq and Kuwait agree, the fund could be used to undertake activities to reduce this health hazard, which is impeding daily life in the region,” he said.
Such activities, he suggested “might include improving water resource management, anti-desertification, reforestation and agricultural projects.” On the violence in Syria, he said it is a “source of deep concern, given the potential for the spread of instability and violence, humanitarian fallout, and political repercussions.” For that reason, he added, the UN system in Iraq is putting in place contingency plans for possible humanitarian emergency.
He noted that the number of Syrian refugees in Iraq are 7,000 and that number is “manageable” for now.
Kobler also talked about the political, security, humanitarian and other issues in Iraq and UNAMIS’s work in the country.