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Statement by Ambassador Byrne Nason at the UNSC Briefing on Iraq/Kuwait

Thank you very much Mr. President, and we welcome the unanimous adoption today of Resolution 2621. I want to thank Ambassador Gaffey for his briefing, and to wish a very warm welcome to His Excellency Mr. Faud Mohammad Hussein, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iraq, and of course to welcome our colleague Mansour Al-Otaibi, the Ambassador of Kuwait, back into this chamber also. 


Mr. President,


I would like to begin by echoing the words of my colleague Ambassador Gaffey in his recent letter to this Council, and in the Chamber today. The fulfilment of the Commission’s mandate indeed marks an unprecedented achievement in the history of international claims resolution. As the Commission’s report notes, this represents the first case of individuals having recourse to seek compensation from an aggressor state. Ireland has been pleased to preside over the Governing Council in Geneva, at this critical moment in the Commission’s history.


We welcome the final payment made in January, in respect of the last  remaining claim with an outstanding balance in compensation awarded by the Commission. I wish in particular to commend the Governments of Iraq and  Kuwait for their cooperation with the Commission. I note especially the cordiality that has characterised relations on the file, such as Kuwait’s support to Iraq’s request for a postponement of its deposit requirements in 2014, 2015, and 2016 when Iraq was dealing with the fight against ISIL.


Mr. President,


It is difficult to overstate the significance of this development. Nearly thirty-one years ago, this Council adopted Resolution 692, by which the Council decided to establish this fund and Commission. In doing so, it provided a unique and effective means to enforce state responsibility for unlawful acts while making possible post-conflict reconciliation and reparation, following devastating losses and damages. The joint efforts, commitment and perseverance of the governments of Iraq and Kuwait, acting through the United Nations, reminds us all of the enduring value of dialogue and multilateralism.


Mr. President,


As we have previously highlighted at this Council, there is an inextricable link between Iraq’s stability and that of the wider region. We have previously commended Iraq’s ongoing exemplary role in encouraging and facilitating regional dialogue over the past year. The conclusion of this file is yet another example of these efforts.


We look forward to further positive developments in Iraq-Kuwait relations, and in particular regarding missing Kuwaiti and third-country nationals, and missing Kuwaiti property, where we have seen strides in recent years towards resolving outstanding issues and addressing the tragic legacy of the past.


To conclude Mr. President,


We all recognise today as a unique occasion. As we all know, it is very rare in this chamber where we actually successfully conclude a UN process. There is an old Irish proverb that says, “what is rare is wonderful”, and in my own language “an rud is annamh is iontach”.


Thank you Mr. President.


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