Tons of Kuwaiti archives, stolen by former Iraqi regime, arrive home
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Eight tons of archived files the former Iraqi regime had stolen from Kuwait were returned on Sunday, officials from both countries said.
This is the third shipment of such archives Kuwait has recovered from Iraq since 2019, according to Kuwaiti and Iraqi officials, after the two sides agreed on a return procedure.
Assistant Minister of foreign affairs of Kuwait for international organizations, Nasser al-Hain, said that the latest shipment includes “the archives of Kuwait University, the Ministry of Information and many other bodies, in addition to some special equipment of the Ministry of Information.”
Hain added, “Kuwait always welcomes these efforts and the completion of the archive handover, and we look forward to furthering cooperation, and, God willing, there will be additional steps soon to reach the complete handover of the archives.”
In August 1990, Iraq’s army occupied Kuwait for seven months after Iraqi officials accused the neighboring country of using so-called “slant” drilling techniques to steal oil from the Rumaila field in Iraq, leading to US-led military action. As Iraqi forces retreated, they set fire to over 600 Kuwaiti oil fields.
In August 2019, Iraq’s foreign ministry announced that Baghdad had returned 42,000 books to Kuwait after they were seized following the former Iraqi dictatorship’s invasion.
The Iraqi government in early August 2019, also handed over to Kuwait the remains of 48 of the small Arab nation’s citizens who disappeared during Baghdad’s 1990 occupation and the ensuing Gulf War, Iraq’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) announced. They had recently been found in a mass grave.
Within thirty years, Baghdad paid Kuwait 51 billion dollars, and Iraq, which is witnessing the worst economic crisis in its history today, still owes it about four billion dollars.
It took 20 years to repair relations between the two countries. The United Nations did not lift the sanctions it imposed in 1990 until 2010, seven years after the fall of Saddam Hussein.
Nevertheless, border disputes still exist, as Iraq recognizes the land borders drawn up by the United Nations in 1993, but considers that its maritime borders prevent it from reaching the Gulf, which is vital to its economy. Therefore, the Kuwaiti navy regularly arrests Iraqi fishermen.
There are still thousands missing on both sides.
According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, only 215 Kuwaitis and 85 Iraqis have been repatriated. Al-Hain also stated that the Kuwaiti authorities will hand over the remains of an Iraqi soldier who was recently found on Bubiyan Island after the rains uncovered the body.
Editing by Khrush Najari