Kuwait urges Iraq to resort to witnesses to close file of missing persons


In a letter addressed to Dr. Tarek Najem Abdullah, Chief of Staff of the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki, the Acting President of the Kuwaiti National Committee for Missing Persons and Prisoners of War Affairs, Dr. Ibrahim Majed Al-Shaheen, said: "We are honoured to correspond with our brothers in Iraq and value the good faith that exists between us." A copy of the Kuwaiti letter was addressed to the Security Council President, UK, and released on Monday.

"While we appreciate the Prime Minister’s efforts, we also understand the prisoners’ families’ insistence that action should urgently be taken in the field in order to locate mass graves.

The perpetrators of those despicable crimes intentionally covered their traces, and Iraqi eyewitnesses are the only source of information on the location of such graves. "After so many years, it is absolutely imperative to obtain that information from those witnesses while it is possible," Al-Shaheen said in his letter. "With regard to the question of prisoners of war and missing Kuwaiti nationals, we hope that that humanitarian issue will be resolved and end the suffering that those prisoners’ families have been undergoing for some 20 years," he added.

As members of the Tripartite Commission and its Technical Subcommittee, he noted, Iraq and Kuwait must coordinate their efforts with the International Committee of the Red Cross and other Commission members. "We must also mention the commendable efforts being made by Ambassador Gennady Tarasov," he said, expressing hope that the meeting of the Technical Committee would acheive "real progress" towards identifying the sites of mass graves.

The Kuwaiti letter was in answer to an Iraqi invitation in mid-July by Tariq Najim Abdullah, Director of the Office of the Prime Minister Nour Al-Maliki, to Al-Shaheen to visit Iraq to discuss "possible means for reinforcing cooperation on this issue" in an attempt to close the file and thereby put an end to that humanitarian ordeal and the suffering of the missing persons’ families.

Abdullah also recalled that Al-Maliki attaches "great importance to the matter and has instructed his office to follow up and provide all necessary assistance in that regard." Only 236 out of a total of 605 bodies have been identified so far.

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