BAGHDAD: The remains of 21 persons are handed over to Kuwait Embassy officials at Baghdad airport yesterday. - KUNA

KUWAIT: Kuwait received yesterday remains suspected of belonging, according to initial information, to Kuwaiti prisoners of war who were captured by Iraqi forces during their 1990-91 invasion and occupation of Kuwait, a foreign ministry official said. The identities of the remains will be examined by forensic experts who will conduct DNA tests "and who are doing a very important job in this humanitarian issue," said Rabee Al-Adasani, chairman of the ministry's department dealing with prisoners and missing persons.

Speaking to KUNA during the reception of the remains, Adasani said examining the identities of the remains is "a complicated process which should be accurate, and it needs time to extract the DNA from the remains and match them with the data of prisoners and missing to identify the remains before announcing the identities". He said extensive search and verification of information related to the file of Kuwaiti prisoners and missing will continue through the technical and tripartite committees "until the closure of this humanitarian file".

Adasani, who signed the documents of the handover, thanked the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Iraqi government, Saudi Arabia, Britain, France and UN for their commitment to resolving this issue. Kuwait's Embassy in Baghdad said earlier yesterday it received remains of 21 persons, presumably of Kuwaiti citizens missing during Iraq's 1990-91 invasion of Kuwait.

The handover of the remains took place near Baghdad International Airport with attendance of representatives of Iraq's defense ministry, ICRC and the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI)."Handing over the remains is part of efforts related to the file of Kuwaiti and third-country prisoners and missing persons," Mohammad Al-Wuqayyan, Kuwait's Charge d'Affaires told KUNA.

"According to initial indications, it is believed that the remains belong to Kuwaiti prisoners and missing who were found in the desert of Samawa in southern Iraq," said Wuqayyan. He said the remains will undergo DNA tests in Kuwait to verify their identities. He thanked the Iraqi government for efforts to address this "humanitarian issue" and to UNAMI for providing logistical support. - KUNA