Iraq / Kuwait / POWs and missing persons
Vienna / New York, 20 May 1994/P/K/14322c-is
In a meeting with Iraqi Vice-Primeminister Tareq Aziz earlier last week in Vienna, the President of the International Progress Organization, Dr. Hans Koechler, raised the issue of Kuwaiti citizens reported missing after the Gulf War. The Vice-Primeminister assured the President of the I.P.O. of Iraq's readiness to fully investigate the fate of all missing Kuwaitis. He further stated that the Iraqi National Assembly has invited the members of the National Assembly of Kuwait to visit Iraq and to investigate the fate of their compatriots in Iraq itself.
The International Progress Organization earlier last year contacted the International Committee of the Red Cross concerning the same matter. In its official reply, the ICRC stated that the Iraqi authorities have committed themselves to respond to the individual files submitted by Kuwait in a detailed and well documented manner, and that the ICRC, in its capacity as neutral intermediary and with its expertise in tracing procedures, is assisting the two parties in their tasks. The ICRC expressed the hope that progress will be achieved through these conventional procedures.
It is to be recalled that the International Progress Organization - on the basis of its commitment to humanitarian causes - in an earlier situation has launched a campaign for the exchange of prisoners of war between Iran and Iraq. In connection with this initiative, the President of the I.P.O. personally visited Iranian prisoners of war in Iraq.
In his visit to United Nations headquarters in New York earlier this week the President of the I.P.O. held consultations with representatives of international non-governmental organizations and with representatives of U.N. member states concerning all humanitarian issues related to the Gulf War, in particular on the devastating effects of the ongoing sanctions on the civilian population of Iraq and on the economies of the countries of the region, in particular Jordan and Turkey. After extensive consultations among international NGOs, the International Progress Organization endorsed an appeal to the Security Council for the lifting of the oil embargo originally imposed on Iraq in connection with the occupation of Kuwait. A similar appeal was launched by members of the National Assembly of Austria.
The President of the I.P.O. expressed the hope that all outstanding humanitarian issues between Iraq and Kuwait will be settled
on the basis
of mutual respect and of recognition of the human rights of the populations of both countries. This will include the recognition of the sovereignty of the State of Kuwait and of the territorial integrity of the
Republic of Iraq.