Kuwait stands by Iraq in fight against terrorism: UN representative

Khaled Al-Jarallah

KUWAIT: Kuwait’s Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Suleiman Al-Jarallah said on Tuesday that the Iraqi’s President Barham Saleh visit to Kuwait embodied the strong bond that brings both nations together. Jarallah added in a statement to the press that the results of the discussions made was very positive, which reflected the depth of bilateral relation, in addition to the keenness of both nations to enhance them. The Iraqi delegation have listened to His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah’s vision regarding the region, in addition to ways to enhance the bilateral relation, he added.

Jarallah pointed out that this visit will have a great impact in the near future, stating that it will open various opportunities to cooperate in all fields, and it will establish a joint vision toward issues in the region. Kuwait’s Deputy Foreign Minister wished Iraq more stability and prosperity, congratulating the Iraqi people in completing the political process by electing a President, who have appointed a Prime Minister to form a new Government.

Meanwhile, Kuwait’s Representative to the United Nations on Tuesday renewed his country’s commitment to supporting the Iraqi people and government in their efforts to combat terrorism, and consolidate their national unity and territorial integrity. “Kuwait, a robust partner of Iraq, stands with the country in its efforts to ensure its sovereignty and stamp out terrorism,” Mansour Al-Otaibi said at the UN Security Council session on the situation in Iraq. He welcomed the recent visit to Kuwait by Iraqi President Barham Saleh, saying it reflected the growing improvement of the neighborly ties and the shared desire to take the relationship to a new height.

Ambassador Otaibi welcomed the successful elections in Iraq in May as well as the subsequent peaceful transfer of power. However, he cautioned that the post-election phase could be a sensitive one. Noting that peace, security and stability cannot be achieved without sustainable development, he urged the international community to support the outcome of the international conference on the country’s reconstruction held recently in Kuwait.

Warning that terrorist groups continue to pose a threat to Iraq’s stability even in places where the so-called Islamic State (ISIL or Da’esh) has been conquered he said partners must take all necessary steps to end those activities and ensure that the perpetrators are arrested and prosecuted. Turning to the fate of Kuwaiti and third country nationals, who went missing during the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1991, as well as missing property and assets, he welcomed efforts by Iraq to recover them and reiterated Kuwait’s commitment to help speed up that process.

Ambassador Otaibi asked the new government of Iraq to advance its investigation into the fate of Kuwait’s missing national archives, which represent a crucial part of his country’s heritage. He spoke highly of the efforts, being made by Jan Kubis, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), to iron out the problems relating to Iraq, including the retrieval of Kuwait’s missing persons and property.

Meanwhile, Kubis stressed, in a briefing to the Council on Iraqi progress in fighting terrorism, reducing sectarianism and peacefully transferring power, the critical importance of international support to the new government for its efforts to deliver basic services as well as to improve security. “Iraqis will require and count on the continued support of the international community. We must not let them down,” he said. The UN official welcomed “the exemplary peaceful transfer of power” in which the political blocs had demonstrated a willingness to act in support of Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi, with differences largely political and non-sectarian. He said that Iraqis deserve acknowledgement for defeating the ISIL, uniting the country during deteriorating economic conditions, improving relations with neighbors and reducing sectarian rhetoric. He welcomed Government plans to build on those foundations, reporting that it intends to immediately begin creating services and jobs, reforming and energizing the economy and fighting corruption and red-tape.

Reporting on political developments in the Kurdistan region, demining efforts, women’s empowerment, and the fight against impunity for international crimes in the country, Kubis noted the recent discovery of mass graves and welcomed the arrival of the Head of the United Nations Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by ISIL in Iraq and the Levant (UNITAD).On outstanding issues from the invasion of Kuwait, Kubis said that in November numerous items of property were returned and the new Minister of Foreign Affairs assured him of attention to clearing up remaining issues.

Noting that this is his last report to the Security Council in his current capacity, he affirmed that “The United Nations in Iraq has shown its relevance and will continue to build on the firm foundations of its ongoing partnership with Iraq and its people.” Following the briefing, Council members took the floor, with most paying tribute to the work of UNAMI and Kubis, and welcoming the formation of the new Government and its reported intentions to improve the daily lives of Iraqis.

Some delegates, beginning with the representative of France, described the country as being at a turning point. In that vein, speakers urged the new Government to work without delay to provide services without sectarian discrimination, and to make necessary reforms in governance, economics and security that prevent the resurgence of the ISIL and impunity for past crimes. – KUNA