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Efforts Urged To Recover Missing Kuwaitis In Iraq

Secretary-General calls for renewed efforts to recover missing Kuwaitis from Iraq

24 June 2008 - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for renewed efforts by all parties towards recovering the remains of Kuwaiti and other nationals missing since the 1990 Gulf war, in a report detailing the activities of his new envoy on the issue.

The success of Gennady Tarasov in carrying out his mandate requires "the earnest cooperation and practical involvement of all concerned," Mr. Ban writes in his latest report to the Security Council.

Mr. Tarasov was appointed the High-level Coordinator for the repatriation or return of all Kuwaiti and third-country nationals or their remains and the return of all Kuwaiti property, including archives, seized by Iraq, in April, following the death of former envoy Yuli Vorontsov last December.

In the past few months, Mr. Tarasov has held meetings in New York, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia on the issues that have been pending since the Gulf war.

Iraq's representative to the UN told Mr. Tarasov, in a meeting last month, that his Government fully understood how important it was for the families of the missing Kuwaiti and third-country nationals to receive clarification as to the fate of their loved ones and see their remains properly buried.

The number of Kuwaiti and third-country nationals whose remains have been identified has reached 235 - two more since Mr. Ban's previous report of December 2007.

"The contribution of Iraq is essential to putting an end to this long-standing human tragedy concerning the fate of the missing persons as well as finding the archives," Mr. Ban stresses in the report. "I am pleased that Iraq has shown sensitivity and understanding as well as a sincere intention to assist in resolving the outstanding cases."

The Iraqi representative added that his country had no interest in or intention of keeping the Kuwaiti archives, which he said had apparently been destroyed by fire during the last days of the previous regime. But if documents and other property belonging to Kuwait are found, they would be returned immediately, he noted.

The Secretary-General calls again on governments and individuals who may know what happened to these documents or who possess information on their whereabouts to clarify their fate.

ENDS

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