Iraq Still Owes Kuwait 24 Bn

Iraq still owes about 24 billion dollars in war reparations for the 1990 occupation of oil-rich Kuwait, a Kuwaiti lawmaker was quoted as saying on Tuesday.

Adnan Abdulsamad, head of parliament’s budgets committee, said the emirate had so far received 17.5 billion dollars out of the 41.8 billion dollars approved by a United Nations special compensation fund.

Kuwaiti newspapers quoted him as saying that the emirate had filed compensation claims worth 177 billion dollars for damages from the invasion and seven-month occupation by Saddam Hussein’s forces.

Iraq is required to put five percent of its oil revenues into a UN reparations fund, which has so far paid out 28.9 billion dollars to claimants.

Since Saddam’s overthrow following a US-led invasion in 2003, Iraq has repeatedly appealed to Kuwait and other countries to waive tens of billions of dollars in compensation and debt.

The bulk of the money is owed to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

Iraq also owes Kuwait around 16 billion dollars for loans to Saddam for Iraq’s 1980-88 war with Iran, which was largely bankrolled by the oil-rich Gulf states.

Iraq, struggling with insecurity and a raft of economic problems since the US invasion and occupation, has appealed for the percentage taken out of its oil revenues to be reduced.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon in July urged Iraq to consider investments and other alternatives to resolve reparations disputes with Kuwait, and pressed the Security Council to help Baghdad meet outstanding obligations.

Last September, Kuwait’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammad al-Sabah said his country is considering a proposal by Ban to recover the unpaid compensation by investing in joint ventures in Iraq.

( AFP )

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