Iraq seeks Kuwait “compromise” over debt, compensation

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Iraq, whose forces under former leader Saddam Hussein occupied the oil-rich emirate for seven months in 1990, also called on Kuwait to help in reducing deductions in favour of a UN compensation fund for war damages.

"Any compromise solutions on these outstanding issues will be a very good result," Hashemi told reporters at the end of a three-day visit to Kuwait. He said he has not asked for a total write-off.

"I appealed to the emir to review these issues. The respose was good but there are constitutional channels in this connection," said Hashemi in reference to Kuwaiti parliament.

Hashemi said that he also requested Kuwaiti leaders to help in reducing the amount deducted from Iraqi oil revenues, which currently stands at five percent, in favour of the UN Compensation Commission for Iraqi war reparations.

"The five percent is a very large amount considering the high oil price. Iraq is undertaking huge infrastructure and services projects and its budget is not enough to finance them," he said.

He said the two nations agreed to set up a joint technical committee to review the issues which will be discussed in detail by Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari who arrives in Kuwait on Sunday.

Kuwait’s government and private sector have received more than 11 billion dollars in war reparations from Iraq for Baghdad’s occupation of the emirate out of 41.3 billion dollars approved so far by the UN Compensation Commission.

The emirate has filed compensation claims totalling 178 billion dollars to the UNCC, set up by the UN Security Council following the liberation of Kuwait in February 1991 by a US-led coalition.

Kuwaiti lawmakers have warned their government against giving in to "external pressures" to forgive part of the unpaid compensation, with some threatening to hold the government accountable.

The emirate, however, agreed in 2004 to an American request to substantially cut the estimated 16-billion-dollar debt owed to it by Iraq.

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