Global Policy Forum

UN Security Council Raps Iraq

April 21, 2001

UN Security Council members told Baghdad yesterday it was obligated to cooperate with a decade-old search for missing Kuwaitis, the sole Iraqi policy issue on which all 15 council members agree.

British Ambassador Sir Jeremy Greenstock, this month's council president, told reporters that any country with contacts in Baghdad was urged to repeatedly raise the issue "until we have some results on something that has taken far too long, with a zero still against it."

"International pressure is the only way to get a change on this item," he said. Greenstock spoke after the council was briefed by the UN envoy in charge of the issue, Yuli Vorontsov, Russia's former ambassador to the United States and the United Nations.

"There was deep concern that there has been no movement whatsoever since the last report. All of us, from Ambassador Vorontsov onwards, are convinced that there is more information to be given from the Iraqi side," Greenstock said.

The missing include 570 Kuwaitis, three Lebanese, one Indian, four Iranians, five Egyptians, four Syrians, one Bahraini, one Omani and 14 Saudi Arabians. All disappeared during Iraq's occupation of Kuwait in August 1990, which ended with the U.S.-led Gulf War in early 1991.

Settlement of this issue is a demand in post-Gulf War Security Council resolutions before UN sanctions, imposed on Baghdad after the 1990 invasion, can be lifted entirely. The Security Council, however, is bitterly divided on how and when the embargoes should be suspended.

But Greenstock said "this is the one area where the Security council is unanimous on Iraq in support of the work of Ambassador Vorontsov. It has no direct connection with other parts of the Iraqi issue on our agenda".

Commissions, which include the International Committee of the Red Cross, have been set up for years but made little progress. Baghdad maintains the issue is one-sided with no one was searching for 1,142 Iraqis missing since the war. Iraq, according to a paper by Vorontsov, also contends it has a duty to investigate but not actually produce the missing persons.

The controversy contributed to Iraq's failure at an Arab summit in Amman, Jordan, last month to get backing on a lifting of the sanctions. Kuwait had insisted Iraq first apologize for the invasion, return stolen property and account for the missing.

More Information on a Turning Point for Iraq
More Information on the Iraq Crisis
More Information on Sanctions Against Iraq


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