Permanent Mission To The United Nations
New York

 Iraq's Position on the Issue of the Kuwaiti Missing in Action

1. In compliance with United Nations' Security Council resolution 686 (1991), Iraq had released and repatriated in March of 1991, in cooperation with the International Red Cross (ICRC), all the detainees and POWs of the Gulf War whose total number was 6222.  The corpses of all those killed in the war were sent home too.  After the adoption of SC resolution 687(1991), a series of meetings were held.  First in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and then in Geneva, Switzerland where the approach of personal file for each MIA was adopted, according to which the ICRC was asking Iraq to respond to (627) files of missing Kuwaitis and others.

2.  The number of Kuwaitis who used to live in Iraq and then chose to go back to Kuwait was (6364). There are still, however, (4214) Kuwaitis living in Iraq and registered with the (ICRC) who expressed their wish to return to Kuwait, but the Kuwaiti authorities has permitted so far only (707) of them to return.

3. Iraq's Foreign Ministry informed the ICRC on August 6, 1994 that it is ready to commence working on those files by presenting all the available information obtained by different methods of search on those missing.

4. Iraq has been presenting this information to the ICRC and the tripartite committee in charge of search for the missing, whose membership is composed of Iraq, the ICRC as well as some other members of the coalition forces such as the United States and Britain. Iraq observes four principles in this process of search: First, the commitment to search for the missing according to the criteria and the practices of the ICRC; Second, to cooperate with the ICRC in its capacity as an impartial mediator to settle this humanitarian issue and according to the technical help provided by this body; Third, confidentiality and non-politicization must be observed, and fourth, the nature of the process should be cooperative so as to be able to account for the destiny of all the missing persons.

5. Iraq continues to attend the meetings of the tripartite committee and its technical sub-committee where these two committees dealt with (301) files.  Several of these files were settled and closed.  Therefore, the remaining outstanding files as of now are only (598) compared to (627) files presented at the initiation of the process.

6. The seriousness of Iraq in dealing with this very important humanitarian matter should be reciprocated with faithful cooperation from the other side, especially by refraining form politicizing this issue by making it a condition for lifting the sanctions imposed on Iraq since 1990.

7. Within the context of Iraq's cooperation with all concerned parties on this issue, the Iraqi authorities have permitted a American military team accompanied by an ICRC team to visit Iraq in November of 1995 for a week in order to look and search for an missing American pilot whose plane was shot down in 1991.  At the time, both the American and the ICRC expressed their appreciation for Iraq's cooperation.

8. Iraq has presented and later implemented several suggestions to the meeting of the tripartite committee in its meeting of June 12,1996 to accelerate the process of searching for the missing. Among those suggestions were the circulation of the names and the photographs of all the missing by means of posters in several areas in Iraq, the publication of their photographs in Iraqi newspapers as well as establishing an Iraqi national committee to help in determining the fate of these people.

9. Another example of Iraq's cooperation is when Iraq accepted and implemented in 1996 a Kuwaiti suggestion according to which an Iraqi technical team travel to the Kuwaiti desert to locate the remains of a buried Kuwaiti citizen killed during aerial bombardment in 1991.

10. Concerning the files of the Iraqi MIAs, the tripartite committee approved for the first time in 1996 the presentation of their files to the committee. Iraq has already presented (1037) files to the committee.

11. In addition to its continuous cooperation with the ICRC and the tripartite committee, Iraq has been open to all initiatives from different governments and non-governmental organizations or organizations such as the Arab League, the Governments of Morocco, Qatar. However, unfortunately, the Kuwaiti government rejected all these initiatives.

May 1998

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