United Nations: Iraq Update June 2012
Posted: June 2, 2012 in Iraq: Chapter VII, Iraqi Dinar/Politics, Top Headlines
Tags: April, Baghdad, Central Bank of Kuwait, DFI, Iraq, Iraq Kuwait, kuwait, Kuwaiti Expected Council Action
The funding for the activities of the High-level Coordinator who advises the Council on the Iraq-Kuwait missing persons and property issue, is due to expire in mid-June. The Council is expected to receive a report on the issue, pursuant to paragraph 14 ofresolution 1284, and a briefing in consultations by the coordinator, Gennady Tarasov. The Council is likely to issue a press statement on the coordinator’s activities and supporting the extension of the coordinator’s funding.
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The Council is also expecting the second report of the Secretary-General, pursuant to paragraph 6 of resolution 1956, on the post-Development Fund for Iraq (DFI) mechanism. At press time it was not clear if the Council would consider the report in June.
The mandate of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) expires on 28 July.
Key Recent Developments
On 10 April, Martin Kobler, head of UNAMI, last briefed the Council. Kobler stated that “Iraq’s political situation is heightening communal tensions in the country.” However, he commended “the Kuwaiti and Iraqi Governments for their efforts to improve bilateral relations.”
In other significant Iraq-Kuwait related developments, Nasser Hussain Bandar, head of Iraq’s civil aviation authority, said on 5 April that Iraq had agreed to the request of Kuwait’s Jazeera Airways to operate flights to Iraq, more than 20 years after direct flights between the two countries were halted.
On 16 and 17 April in Kuwait, a delegation from the Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs transmitted Kuwaiti currency, documents, keys for safes belonging to the Central Bank of Kuwait, and 15 microfilm cassettes containing the archives of Al Anba newspaper, to the Kuwaiti authorities. On 20 May in Baghdad, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari met Tarasov and highlighted these developments. According to the Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website, Zebari also highlighted Iraq’s “serious efforts to find the remains of the Kuwaiti Missing in Action” and his country’s keenness to getting out of Chapter VII.
On 29 April, Sabah al-Khalid al-Hamad al-Sabah, Kuwait’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, attended the second meeting of the joint Iraq-Kuwait Committee, in Baghdad. Following the meeting, Zebari told reporters that the two sides had reached important agreement on cooperation.
In other developments regarding the compensation, on 26 April, the UN Compensation Commission (UNCC) made a payment of $1.02 billion to six claimants. (The Geneva based UNCC was established through Council resolution 692 in 1991, to process claims and pay compensation for losses resulting from Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990.)
In a 4 May letter to the President of the Council, the President of the Governing Council of the UNCC highlighted Iraq’s contribution to the Compensation Fund stating that “the outstanding balance of $16 billion could be paid in full as early as April 2015.” Furthermore, the letter noted “satisfaction with the continued transfer of 5 per cent of Iraqi oil revenues to the [Compensation] Fund since the transfer of the oversight over Iraqi oil revenues to the Committee of Financial Experts.”
Human Rights-Related Developments
After a meeting in Baghdad on 25 April with Iraqi Minister of Human Rights Mohammed Shi’a Al-Sudani to review the situation of human rights in Iraq, Kobler welcomed Iraq’s intentions to place greater attention on social, economic and cultural rights, while also remaining committed to promoting and protecting political and civil rights. Noting that human rights are “a cornerstone of every democratic state,” Kobler said that UNAMI would continue its support to the Minister of Human Rights as a key player in ensuring that Iraq meets its international human rights obligations.
A key issue before the Council is the extension of the High-level Coordinator’s activities to help resolve the issue of missing Kuwaiti persons and property.
Another issue for the Council is whether the post-DFI mechanism is functioning in a satisfactory fashion.
On Iraq-Kuwait issues the Council could release a press statement that:
acknowledges the recent positive developments;
encourages Iraq to make further progress on resolving outstanding issues (including borders, missing persons and property);
supports the Secretary-General’s intention to extend the activities of the High-level Coordinator for an additional six months or longer; and
reiterates the need to resolve outstanding issues between Iraq and Kuwait before the removal of any further Chapter VII measures imposed during the regime of Saddam Hussein.
On the post-DFI issues the Council could take no action at present while continuing to monitor the progress of the post-DFI mechanism until the audit is conducted. (The first report of the Secretary-General pursuant to paragraph 6 of resolution 1956[S/2011/795] notes the appointment of the firm Ernst & Young to conduct the 2011 audit of the DFI and its successor account.)
Council and Wider Dynamics
Most Council members are overall pleased with the recent progress on Iraq-Kuwait issues. Several members feel that it is important for Iraq to make further efforts to fulfil its obligations to Kuwait but they do acknowledge that the recent developments on this issue are encouraging.
The US is the lead country on Iraq issues in general, and the UK is the lead on Iraq-Kuwait issues.
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