By Stephanie Nebehay
GENEVA (Reuters) – Iraq has completed payment of $52.4 billion to compensate individuals, companies and governments who proved damages due to its 1990 invasion and occupation of Kuwait, the United Nations reparations body said on Wednesday.
The U.N. Compensation Commission, set up by the U.N. Security Council after the seven-month occupation of the emirate and U.S.-led defeat of Saddam Hussein’s troops in the Gulf War, received a portion of proceeds from Iraqi oil sales. The rate varied over the 30 years and was most recently 3%. In all, about 2.7 million claims, with an asserted value of $352.5 billion were lodged, but the UNCC approved payment of $52.4 billion covering 1.5 million successful claims.
The largest claim approved by the UNCC was for $14.7 billion in damages incurred by the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) after departing Iraqi troops set fire to oil wells. Payments were suspended between October 2014 and April 2018 because of the Iraqi government’s security and budgetary problems in its fight against Islamic State insurgents. “With the final payment of compensation made on 13 January 2022, all compensation awarded by the Commission has now been paid in full,” the Geneva-based body said in a statement following a closed-door meeting of its Governing Council.
“The Government of Iraq has fulfilled its international obligations to compensate all claimants awarded compensation by the Commission for losses and damages suffered as a direct result of Iraq’s unlawful invasion of Kuwait,” it said.
Bathsheba Crocker, U.S. ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva, tweeted on Tuesday after talks with Qahtan Al-Janabi, Iraqi under-secretary for multilateral and legal affairs, and other diplomats ahead of Wednesday’s meeting: “We commend Iraq for completing payments for all UNCC claims, a historic achievement.”