‘Kuwait, Iraq compensation issue should be treated seriously’


"Of course the Iraqis have the right to ask for what they have asked for. I have not seen this letter, and of course we’ll study it, and of course the Kuwaiti side also has to be treated seriously. So we’ll take a look at the letter," Khalilzad told reporters.



The US envoy was answering a question about Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari’s letter to the council president, circulated earlier in the day.



In that letter, Zebari said "the Government of Iraq believes that the time has come to review this matter … Iraq would like to suspend the obligation to pay compensation or to have the amount of the payments reduced and, to that end, would like to work towards the creation of a new and just compensation mechanism.



" Ambassador Al-Murad also told KUNA that the council is "obviously Master of its own decisions" but "we hope it does not suspend or reduce the Iraqi payments to the UN Compensation Fund," arguing that 5 percent of Iraq’s oil revenues earmarked to compensate Kuwaiti and non Kuwaiti victims of the invasion is "not a high percentage." A spokesman for the French Mission told KUNA that a response to Zibari’s letter is being drafted by the council presidency – France – and that once approved by all council members, it will be sent to the Iraqi Mission in New York.



He declined to elaborate on the content, saying simply that he did not expect the response letter to be ready before the end of this week.



Zibari complained in his letter to the council president that the Iraqi payments made to the Geneva-based Compensation Fund, about 5 percent of its oil proceeds, have increased as a result of the increase in the price of oil and in Iraq’s production capacity.



A UN official told KUNA that Iraq’s payments to the Compensation Fund should continue until the Security Council, which established it following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in the early nineties, decides otherwise.


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