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Thursday , January 21 2021

Kuwait receives remains from Iraq

Ministry to test, match DNA samples

A casket holding the remains of one of 48 Kuwaiti citizens is transferred from an Iraqi truck to a Kuwaiti truck during a handover ceremony at the Safwan border crossing, in Iraq on Aug 8. Iraqi and Kuwaiti state media said Iraq has handed over to Kuwait the remains of 48 Kuwaitis who went missing during the 1991 Gulf War. (AP)

KUWAIT CITY, Aug 8, (KUNA): Kuwait received on Thursday human remains said to belong to slain Kuwaiti POWs from Iraqi authorities pending forensics’ examination locally.

Handover of the human remains was organized at the Al-Abdali border checkpoint, with attendance of Kuwaiti and Iraqi officials.

Iraq had declared discovery of the corpses’ remains saying they belonged to Kuwaitis.

They are suspected to be of missing Kuwaitis and POWs, snatched and slain by personnel of the ousted Iraqi regime that invaded Kuwait on Aug 2, 1990, and occupied the Gulf State for seven months.

On July 24, Kuwait affirmed it would continue efforts to locate its Prisoners of War (POWs) and missing individuals in Iraq and will use all of its resources to achieve such goal.

In a press release commenting on the findings of the technical committee of the International Committee of the Red Cross’ (ICRC) Tripartite Commission, Assistant Foreign Minister for International Organization Nasser Al-Hain said that Kuwait presented data to the commission and the Iraqi team involved in the search for the remains of Kuwaitis in Iraq.

The step led to the approval of DNA testing on the human remains found in Iraq recently, said Al-Hain.

He added that initial results had shown a match in the DNA samples of some of the remains, which promoted the State of Kuwait to request that, all of the discovered bodies would be sent back to its soil for further analysis.

The tests will continue in Kuwait and the identities of the bodies will be revealed as soon as results are announced, indicated the official, adding that the families of the victims will be informed as the process goes on.

Al-Hain commended the tripartite commission and sub-committees for their efforts to uncover the fates of Kuwaiti POWs and missing persons and he thanked Iraqi authorities for efforts to facilitate procedures in finding the remains.

He hoped that the long-awaited case of the fate of Kuwaitis and individuals from other nationalities would be closed to conclude this humanitarian tragedy.

On June 20, the ICRC-affiliated Tripartite Commission announced the discovery of human remains in southern Iraq with initial expectations pointing to the discovery of bodies of Kuwaiti citizens and other nationals.

The discovery gave hope to the families of the missing individuals who were taken away over 28 years ago.

The commission gathers officials from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the US, the UK, France, and Iraq.

In 2005, the remains of a number of Kuwaiti citizens were discovered in Iraq, while in 2011, the body remnants of Iraqi individuals were uncovered. The tripartite commission continues efforts to uncover the remains of people missing or killed in the 1990-1991 war to liberate Kuwait.

Today’s handover of the human remains is follow-up to a previous declaration by a Kuwaiti laboratory about positive results after examining samples that had been brought from Baghdad, a Kuwaiti official indicated.

Rabie Al-Adsani, the head of the Kuwaiti delegation at the international tripartite commission and sub-committee tasked with the POWs file, said that in light of the positive results, Kuwait had addressed an official request to the Iraqi authorities to transfer the human remains to Kuwait to complete the examination at the Interior Ministry’s department of criminal evidences.

The Ministry of Interior department keeps a DNA database for the Kuwaiti POWs, thus it will conduct a test to determine whether the samples match, Al-Adsani has explained further.

Al-Adsani explained that the DNA extraction for examination is a very complex and time consuming process.

He expressed gratitude to the Iraqi authorities namely the ministry of defense, the ICRC, the UN mission, members of the technical committee from Saudi Arabia, the US, the UK and France for their cooperation and fruitful efforts that led “to these positive results”.

Kuwait Thursday highly appreciated efforts by Iraq, the ICRC and the Tripartite committee over progress made regarding fate of Kuwaiti missing persons.

This came in a phone call between Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah and Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammad Al-Hakim after Kuwait received human remains earlier Thursday said to belong to Kuwaitis who had been missing or held as prisoners by former Iraqi regime.

Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled, according to a statement by the foreign ministry, said he was looking forward for further positive results over this “important humane file.”

He reiterated keenness to continue cooperation with Iraq over this issue.

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