UN ends Iraq’s requirement to pay victims of Kuwait invasion

The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Tuesday to end Iraq’s requirement to compensate victims of its 1990 invasion of Kuwait, with Baghdad having out more than $50 billion to 1.5 million claimants.

Michael Gaffey, Ireland’s ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva and president of the governing board of the U.N. Compensation Commission, whose fund decided on the claims, told the council after the vote that the body’s work was historic “for the United Nations and for effective multilateralism.”

“Ultimately, 2.7 million claims were submitted to the commission seeking $352 billion in compensation,” he said, and the $52.4 billion awarded to 1.5 million claimants “represents approximately 15% of the total claims.”

Under a Security Council resolution adopted in April 1991 after a U.S.-led coalition routed Saddam Hussein’s forces and liberated Kuwait in the first Gulf War, Iraq was required to set aside a percentage of proceeds from its oil exports for the fund to compensate victims of the conflict.

That share was 5% in 2013, when the council voted to end the possible military enforcement of several requirements imposed on Iraq after the invasion in recognition of improved relations with Kuwait. The level stood at 3% for Iraq’s final payment on Jan. 13.

Gaffey said the governing council adopted its final decision Saturday declaring that Iraq’s government had fulfilled its international obligations to compensate for losses and damages suffered as a direct result of…

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