Iraq's Odious Debts

Kuwait’s decision on writing off Iraqi debts goes in tune with Paris Club’s

Kuwaiti News Agency (KUNA)
December 1, 2004

Foreign Minister Sheikh Dr. Mohammad Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah said on Wednesday that Kuwait’s decision on dropping part of its debts on Iraq would go in harmony with Paris Club’s relevant decisions.

Sheikh Mohammad told a news conference held jointly today with the visiting Czech Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda, that the Kuwaiti government will recommend the National Assembly (parliament) to vote for the writing off, so as to assist the Iraqi people, and help the new Iraq to recover.

The minister affirmed that Kuwait owns official documents to prove that its debts on Iraq were legal and legitimate; “any single dinar that Kuwait paid to Iraq, without a legal and official proof will be worthless,” he added.

Asked about the Kuwaiti stance regarding a potential US pullout of Iraq, Sheikh Mohammad said; “I think the first one who talked about these troops withdrawal was the US President George Bush . . . these troops have a task to accomplish, then security responsibilities in Iraq will be turned to the Iraqi forces.”

“The view was clear during the Sharm El-Sheikh meeting (of Iraq neighboring countries) regarding the tasks of these forces in Iraq, the most important of which is training the Iraqi security forces, and we feel satisfied about the NATO relevant decision,” the minister went on.

He praised the role of the Czech armed forces in liberating Kuwait from the 1990-Iraqi invasion.

“We have all respect and appreciation for the friendly republic of Czech,” Sheikh Mohammad added.

He said he has discussed with Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda the current relations between the two countries, and would like to boost them especially in the economic arena.

“We also talked about the situation in Iraq and the Czech troops role in providing humanitarian assistance and supporting the political process there,” he added. We also debated the Middle East peace process, combating international terrorism, and ways to turn the Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction, Sheikh Mohammad said. He described the talks as very positive, saying, “Kuwait is satisfied at the level of the bilateral relations.”

In response to a question about whether the Czech Republic would take part in the construction of Bubyan Port, he said the talks with the Czech guest dealt with projects to construct the northern Gulf region. “We have been talking about the whole region as a commercial and financial hub for the reconstruction not only in Iraq but in the overall Middle East region.”

He affirmed the necessity that states of the world dedicate attention to development and economic cooperation among member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council. For his part, the Czech official affirmed that the duration of the deployment of the Czech forces in Iraq is related to the Iraqi elections and that their mission would end in February.

He praised the outcome of the talks in Kuwait and affirmed the country’s role in the re-construction of Iraq.

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