Cooperation between Iraq and Kuwait is historical achievement for multilateralism

Thank you, Mr President. And may I start by thanking the UNCC’s Governing Council President, Ambassador Michael Gaffey, for today’s briefing and to the Vice President of the Governing Council, represented by Ambassador Lucy Kiruthu, for her support. Thank you and welcome too to Dr Fuad Hussein, Iraq’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, and to Kuwait’s Ambassador Mansour Ayyad Al-Otaibi.

As we’ve heard, following the Special Session of the Governing Council on 9 February, the Security Council meets today to discuss the resolution, which acknowledges the fulfilment of the Commission’s mandate and instructs the winding down of all its activities. After thirty years, the UNCC represents an important success for the international rules based order, as Ambassador Gaffey said, a historical achievement for multilateralism in achieving reconciliation after conflict and solutions to large-scale and complex problems related to conflict. The novel work undertaken by the UNCC has required the close cooperation and engagement of Iraq and Kuwait, who have both contributed to ensure the success of the UNCC.

Security Council Resolution 687 of 1991 affirmed Iraq as liable under international law for any direct loss, damage or injury to foreign Government, nationals and corporations as a result of the unlawful invasion and occupation of Kuwait. The Security Council acted under Chapter VII of the UN Charter to establish the UNCC as a means to process claims in respect of that liability. Since then, as we heard, the Commission has paid out $52.4 billion in compensation to more than 1.5 million claimants. The final payment of over $600,000 made in January of this year marked the fulfilment of the Commission’s mandate after more than 30 years. With the completion of the mandate, Iraq has now fulfilled its obligations in relation to this Chapter VII measure.

We commend Iraq’s commitment to its payment under various governments and in exceptionally difficult economic and security circumstances. We also take this opportunity to reflect on what the successful completion of the Commission’s mandate represents: not only is it a reminder of the consequences of breaching international law, it’s also an example of what we can achieve through positive cooperation at the United Nations.

We would like to extend our thanks to the Commission’s Secretariat, past and present, for their tireless commitment and work to date. And we are confident the Secretariat will complete its remaining tasks with the high level of diligence they have maintained throughout. The United Kingdom stands ready to support all actions necessary to take forward the dissolution of the Commission by the end of this year.

Finally Mr President, the United Kingdom expresses its gratitude to colleagues on this Council for their constructive engagement on the resolution before us today, which helps to draw to a close, the long but ultimately successful endeavour of the Commission.

I thank you, Mr President.

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