Iraq to resume payments of war reparations to Kuwait

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Iraqi President Fuad Masum speaks to journalists in Kuwait City. — KUNA

KUWAIT CITY — Iraq has agreed to resume payments from its oil revenues to compensate fully the $4.6 billion (Dh16.9 billion) still owed to Kuwait for destruction of its oil fields and facilities during the 1990-91 Gulf War, the United Nations said on Tuesday.

Payments from the UN fund, which were suspended since October 2014 due to security and budgetary challenges faced by Iraq in its fight against Daesh (the so-called IS), will begin with 0.5 percent of its oil proceeds in 2018 and escalate annually until the end of 2021, the UN Compensation Commission said.

"Based on oil price and export projections, this would result in payment in full of the outstanding claim award," the UNCC said in a statement issued in Geneva.

The damages claimed by the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation was the largest approved by the UNCC, set up by the UN Security Council in 1991.

In 2000, the UNCC awarded $14.7 billion to Kuwait for oil production and sales losses incurred by the KPC, $4.6 billion of which is Iraq’s last debt.

Kuwait’s Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Al-Jarallah said on Sunday that he hoped the two sides would reach a solution to end this issue soon.

Kuwait accepted Baghdad's proposal, which was also endorsed by the UNCC's Governing Council on Tuesday in a special session of the body composed of the Security Council's 15 members, the statement said.

Iraqi President Fuad Masum visited his Kuwaiti counterpart, Emir Sabah Al-Ahmed on Monday looking to strengthen relations between the former enemies.

Under the four-year agreement, the percentage of proceeds from Iraqi oil and petroleum products paid into the UN coffers for payment to Kuwait will rise to 1.5 percent in 2019 and 3 percent in both 2020 and 2021, Leah Kraft, UNCC legal officer, told Reuters.

The UNCC has awarded $52.4 billion to some 1.5 million successful claimants for damages to states, corporations and individuals due to Iraq's invasion and seven-month occupation of Kuwait under former president Saddam Hussein.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi said on Tuesday that Daesh had been defeated from a military perspective but he would only declare final victory after militants were routed in the desert. — Agencies


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