A Security Council statement issued today welcomed the ongoing cooperation between Iraq and Kuwait in the search for Kuwaitis and third-country nationals missing since the 1990 invasion and encouraged the Government of Iraq to pursue its efforts to track down missing Kuwaiti property, including that country’s national archives.
In a presidential statement presented by Anatolio Ndong Mba (Equatorial Guinea), its President for February, the 15-member Council commended the efforts of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) in implementing resolution 2107 (2013) on the return of missing Kuwaiti and third-State nationals, as well as property seized during the former Iraqi regime’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait.
In the statement, the Council noted with regret that 369 Kuwaiti and third‑country nationals remain missing and that no human remains have been exhumed since 2004. It encouraged the international community to provide advanced technical equipment to help Iraq identify burial locations.
The Council went on to encourage the two countries to collaborate closely through the tripartite mechanism chaired by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to achieve further concrete results. It welcomed Baghdad’s sustained commitment to return all remaining Kuwaiti property and acknowledged steps taken by the two Governments in that regard, including the handover of Kuwaiti property by the President of Iraq on 11 November 2018 during his visit to Kuwait.
Kuwait’s representative welcomed the statement, while noting that the issues it addresses are humanitarian in nature and have nothing to do with international peace and security. They represent a legacy of Iraqi aggression against Kuwait, he explained, adding that the statement sends an important and clear message to all parties concerned regarding detainees, missing persons and property while underscoring the great importance that the Council attaches to the matter.
The meeting began at 10:03 a.m. and ended at 10:14 a.m.
The full text of presidential statement S/PRST/2019/1 reads as follows:
“The Security Council recalls its resolution 2107 (2013) on the situation between Iraq and Kuwait and all its previous resolutions and presidential statements addressing the issues of missing Kuwaiti and third-country nationals and the return of Kuwaiti property, including the national archives, and takes note of the reports of the Secretary General pursuant to paragraph 4 of resolution 2107 (2013).
“The Security Council commends the ongoing efforts by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) in the implementation of resolution 2107 (2013). The Security Council expresses its full support for the Special Representative and Head of UNAMI Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert and Deputy Special Representative for Political Affairs for UNAMI Alice Walpole in their efforts to resolve outstanding issues related to Kuwaiti and third-country nationals and the return of Kuwaiti property, including the national archives, and urges them to continue engagement on these issues. The Security Council expresses deep gratitude to former UNAMI Special Representative of the Secretary-General Ján Kubiš for his tireless efforts to fully implement resolution 2107 (2013).
“The Security Council welcomes the strong bilateral relations between Iraq and Kuwait and commends the Government of Kuwait’s continued support for Iraq in its efforts to achieve stability, and welcomes Iraq's efforts to fulfil all remaining obligations in accordance with relevant Security Council resolutions.
“The Security Council further Welcomes the ongoing cooperation between Iraq and Kuwait in the search of missing Kuwaiti and third-country nationals, and the positive efforts by the Iraqi Ministry of Defence on this important humanitarian endeavour and encourages the Iraqi Government to continue with these efforts in the same constructive vein and to ensure that all appropriate institutional, financial and technical support is made available to facilitate future activities and further encourages the international community to provide the necessary advanced and innovative technical equipment to Iraqi authorities to assist in identifying burial locations in accordance with best practices.
“The Security Council shared the views expressed by the Secretary‑General in his reports that ascertaining the fate of missing persons and providing answers to their grieving families depend on steadfast commitment, action and the adoption of new and innovative ways to push the issue forward.
“The Security Council expresses its strong support for the perseverance of the members of the tripartite mechanism and its Chair, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), in their effort to locate the remains of the missing persons. The Security Council notes the latest meeting of the Technical Subcommittee of the Tripartite Mechanism on 11 December 2018 and the Tripartite Commission on 13 December 2018, and welcomes in this regard the additional information provided to the ICRC by France, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America that might help to identify potential burial locations, as well as the formal adoption by the Technical Subcommittee of the ICRC’s Review Project Report, as an important contribution towards progress on the issue. The Security Council encourages the two countries, consistent with resolution 2107 (2013), to collaborate closely through the tripartite mechanism to achieve further concrete results.
“The Security Council notes with regret that there remains 369 cases of missing Kuwaiti and third-country nationals still unresolved and that no human remains have been exhumed since 2004. The Council reiterates its deepest sympathy to the families of the missing and expresses its condolences for the lives lost.
“The Security Council welcomes the sustained commitment of the Government of Iraq to return all remaining Kuwaiti property including the national archives and acknowledges the important steps taken recently by the Governments of Iraq and Kuwait to reinvigorate this file and welcomes in particular the handing over of a consignment of Kuwaiti property by His Excellency Barham Saleh, President of the Republic of Iraq, during his recent visit to Kuwait on 11 November 2018 to meet His Highness Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, the Amir of the State of Kuwait. The Security Council encourages the Iraqi Government to continue its search for the missing property, in particular to reinvigorate its search for the missing Kuwaiti national archives.
“The Security Council expresses its intention to remain engaged on these important issues.”