18/12/2002
Press Release
SC/7610
IK/324



PRESS STATEMENT ON KUWAIT BY SECURITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT


Following is the statement to the press made by the President of the Security Council, Alfonso Valdivieso (Colombia), concerning missing Kuwaiti and third country nationals, as well as Kuwaiti property issues on 18 December:


Members of the Security Council reviewed the latest report of the Secretary-General, pursuant to paragraph 14 of Security Council Resolution 1284 (1999), regarding the repatriation of Kuwaiti and third country nationals and the return of all Kuwaiti property, including archives.  The Council once again expressed their unanimous support for the work of Ambassador Vorontsov and for his efforts in following this issue.


Members of the Council expressed their deep concern at the continuing plight of the Kuwaiti and third country nationals still remaining in Iraq and expressed their sympathy for their families.  Members of the Council took note that Kuwait had indicated that the recent invitation extended to Ambassador Vorontsov by the Iraqi Foreign Minister to visit Iraq was a step forward in the direction of the cooperation demanded by the resolutions and expressed their strong desire for concrete and substantive progress on the matter.  Members of the Council expressed their hope that this issue would continue to be dealt with as a strictly humanitarian one by all sides concerned and be resolved urgently.


Members of the Council noted the return to Kuwait, by Iraq in October this year, of documents previously taken or removed from Kuwait.  Members of the Council also agreed that Kuwait was uniquely positioned to ascertain whether Iraq had returned all of the documents taken by Iraq, including the return of its national archives.  Members of the Council called upon Iraq to redouble its efforts aimed at returning all remaining Kuwaiti property.


Members of the Council continued to stress the importance of the work of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Tripartite Commission in solving this humanitarian issue.  Members of the Council took note of Iraq’s recent agreement to resume its participation in the Tripartite Sub-committee, as proposed by the International Committee of the Red Cross, and expected positive developments on the issue as a result of Iraq’s resumed presence in the Commission.  Members of the Security Council urged Iraq to cooperate fully with Ambassador Vorontsov in fulfilling his mandate as set out in resolution 1284.


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