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Saturday , August 8 2020

Baghdad hands over to Kuwait 42,000 books ‘looted’ during invasion

KUWAIT: Iraqi Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Hazem Al-Youssefi (center) attends a ceremony held last year at Saud Al-Nasser Al-Sabah Diplomatic Institute to celebrate handing back state TV and radio archives to Kuwait. —KUNA

KUWAIT CITY, Aug 28, (KUNA): The visiting Iraqi Foreign Undersecretary Ambassador Hazem Al-Yousefideclared on Wednesday that Iraq handed over to Kuwait 42,000 books belonging to Kuwait National Library and Kuwait University.

These books, recently found in Iraq, were “seized” by troops of the former Iraqi regime during Kuwait’s occupation in 1990, said Ambassador Al-Yousefiin a statement to journalists on sidelines of the delivery ceremony. Iraqi authorities are seeking to close file of the Kuwaiti properties in Iraq before the year-end, said Al- Yousefi, adding that the competent authorities were waiting for a decision in this respect by Prime Minister Adel Abdulmahdi. Moreover, Iraq is exerting tremendous efforts to close file of the missing Kuwaitis, the Iraqi undersecretary stated.

The Baghdad authorities are using satellite images and advanced drilling machines, he said, re-confirming that the intensive efforts led to the recent discovery of the mass grave in Al-Samawa desert – containing remains of 46 human bodies; 32 of whom were recognized as deceased Kuwaitis. Al-Yousefihas affirmed that the Iraqi government is serious about the efforts to close all pending files “caused by the former regime.” Stressing the depth of the ties between the two brotherly countries, the Iraqi official indicated at reciprocal visits by senior officials of the two countries as a prelude to a new period of relations, joint investments and mutual cooperation.

For his part, the Kuwaiti Assistant Foreign Minister for International Organizations’ Affairs Counsellor Abdulaziz Al-Jarallah, confirmed that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had taken delivery of 800 boxes containing 42,000 books, from the Iraqi side. The books belong to the national library and Kuwait University, he added.

The books and other items that had been brought back were part of Kuwait Archives, which were stolen during the blatant Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Issue of Kuwaiti prisoners and missing persons was discussed with the Iraqi undersecretary as a humanitarian cause that concerns all Kuwaitis, he said, re-stressing that the Kuwaiti government represented by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Interior Affairs would spare no effort to close this file and determine destiny of all those who have gone missing. He expressed gratitude to the United Nations for sponsoring the handover, in line with the Security Council Resolution 2107 (issued in the year 2013) that partially mentions the necessity of bringing back the Kuwaiti properties, looted during the invasion.

Meanwhile, Dr Kamel Abuljelil, Director General of the national library and Secretary General of the National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters, says the delivered books and items are of valuable content, expressing pleasure for handing them back in a move that will bolster the bilateral relations between the two brotherly countries, anew.

In the meantime, the UN Acting Resident Coordinator, Hideko Hadzialic, congratulated the Iraqi and Kuwaiti leaderships for this tangible improvement in the bilateral relations, also valuing Kuwait’s constructive role at the Security Council, in addition to its hosting of the conference for rebuilding regions liberated from the so-called Islamic State (Daesh) in Iraq, resulting in the allocation of $ 30 billion for this purpose. She also voiced satisfaction with the Iraqi government efforts for backing the cooperation and friendly ties with Kuwait, an approach that would facilitate resolving the sticking files between the two sides.

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