Author: By a Staff Writer
Wednesday 30 October 2002
KUWAIT, 30 October — Iraq completed the handover yesterday of nearly two tons of documents seized from Kuwait 12 years ago, but an official said Kuwait’s national archive was still missing.
Iraq took the documents during its seven-month occupation of Kuwait which ended with the 1991 Gulf War. United Nations officials said the two countries completed the transfer process which began at the border nine days ago.
But a Kuwaiti official involved in the transfer said the documents did not include 20th century treaties, official diwan (court) documents of the emir and the crown prince and other papers that make up the national archive.
"They gave us some diwan papers but they are overtime sheets for drivers and security men...this is not the archive," the official said. "It was like a feast without chick peas".
The head of the UN-sponsored transfer operation said there had been no official complaint from Kuwait and added the UN’s role did not include inspecting the documents. "We never got involved in the qualitative aspect of the content," said Richard Foran, who brokered several other transfers of Kuwaiti property in the early 1990s, including gold looted from Kuwait’s Central Bank.
Iraq says it has fulfilled a promise to return the documents, meeting some UN demands in an effort to improve its image at a time Washington is threatening military action.
Kuwait also wants Iraq to handover other looted property, but its primary demand is the return of some 600 people, mainly Kuwaitis, missing since the Gulf War when a US-led coalition drove Iraqi troops out of the emirate.
Iraq says it has no idea where the missing people are and has offered to open its prisons to Kuwaitis to prove it was not holding them.
But Yuli Vorontsov, the UN envoy in charge of the dispute, said Iraq was holding them prisoner and insisted their release should be next on the agenda.
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