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Tareq Al-Bannai
Tareq Al-Bannai

Kuwait demands action on POWs, UN urges urgency

NEW YORK: Kuwait Permanent Delegate at the United Nations Ambassador Tareq Al-Bannai reaffirmed the necessity of pursuing special operations to locate the remains of 308 missing Kuwaitis and prisoners. Bannai, addressing a special Security Council session on Thursday, called on the international community to adopt a renewable mechanism to “move this file forward”

This multiparty operation has so far failed to identify the remains of half of the prisoners and missing persons, he said, stressing that the operation must continue. Bannai stressed the necessity that the Security Council work out a mechanism to accelerate the search, proposing the assignment of a senior-level coordinator for this file, as the 1284 UNSG Security Council Resolution of 1999 stipulates.

He lauded the intensive efforts that had been exerted to collect information and evidence for preparing the 40th report on the issue for the UN Secretary-General, who is concerned with the file of the missing Kuwaitis, third-country citizens and Kuwaiti properties, including the national archives, in line with the 4th article of Resolution 2107 of 2013. He acclaimed the performance of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and affirmed Kuwait’s support for completing its tasks of resolving pending matters, namely the file of the prisoners and the missing, during its work period that expires in Dec 2025.

Bannai expressed hope that all pending files with Iraq would be worked out during the mission’s set action period and appealed to the concerned authorities in Iraq to continue efforts at this level. Moreover, the Kuwaiti delegate indicated that in the event all these files have not been tackled for good, “we all ought to look together for other options”. He reiterated Kuwait’s affirmation with respect to the necessity that Iraq’s sovereignty and decisions be respected concerning the UNAMI presence in the country.

Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert
Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert

Kuwait reserves the utter right regarding the file of the prisoners, the missing and the properties, he stressed. Kuwait, during its non-permanent membership in the UNSC (2018–2019), pushed for the adoption of Resolution 2474, with the participation of 68 states, he said, noting that this resolution affirms the necessity that states need not deviate attention from prisoners’ issues in armed strife. He finally underscored the necessity to maintain the UN follow-up on the events in this vein through the daily regular reports, filed with the UN Secretary-General, until locating the last remains.

Meanwhile, rhe Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Iraq called on Baghdad to double its efforts to speed up settling the issue of missing Kuwaiti and third-country nationals and missing Kuwaiti property, including the national archives and dossiers. “As I said last time, swifter progress is needed,” Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, also head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq, said in a briefing to the special UN Security Council session on Iraq.

“And this must involve the overcoming of bureaucratic hurdles and immediate follow-up on outstanding issues,” she added. Hennis-Plasschaert stressed the urgent need for an uptick in activities to identify and further excavate burial sites. The UN official called for the reactivation of the joint committee on missing Kuwaiti property and described the pace of the current efforts to resolve these issues as too slow. “It is quite simple: The pace of the search and return of property, including the national archives, is currently too slow,” she said. - KUNA

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