Kuwait marks the annual distressing anniversary tomorrow (Saturday), recollecting the 1990, August 2nd Iraqi invasion that flagrantly breached the Gulf State independence and sovereignty.
The ensuing seven-month occupation of the country was marked with tragic events, namely martyrdom of 570 nationals and residents, abduction of 605 others, wide-scale destruction of the infrastructure, namely the burning of 639 oil wells that resulted in stoppage of oil exports to the international market for a long time.
The aggression and occupation, carried out by troops of the executed ruler Saddam Hussein, had resulted in several issues, such as the POWs and theft of the national archive. Iraq, with UN supervision, had paid compensations for damages resulting from the war and the two neighbors had gotten engaged in UN-supervised efforts to re-maintain the border line.
These files have not been tackled totally yet. Last July, the UN Special Representative for Iraq Nickolay Mladenov said the Iraq-Kuwait relations continue to show "strong signs of improvement," but warned that the current instability in Iraq could prevent those relations from reaching their full potential and close the humanitarian files of Kuwaiti missing in action (MIAs) and stolen property.
Presenting to the Security Council the Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's reports on the situation in Iraq and the status of the two Kuwaiti humanitarian files, Mladenov said the normalization of relations between the two countries is on "a strong footing" but as long as turmoil continues, "decisions on matters such as the missing Kuwaiti persons and property are likely to take more time and effort. He said the Kuwaiti Government is "understandably anxious" that the security situation and the political stalemate in Iraq would leave the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) with "little time or space for its mandated role on the missing Kuwaiti persons and property.
"I wish to assure them (Kuwaiti Government) that our commitment to this humanitarian endeavor remains clear and that Iraq remains devoted to implementing its obligations," he stressed.
Following downfall of Saddam's regime, Kuwait and Iraq got engaged in a tangible rapprochement, reinstating diplomats and re-establishing cooperation in various fields.
Nevertheless, the painful 1990-1991 aggression remains alive in the Kuwaitis' conscience. The experience resulted in solidifying the national unity and the popular Jeddah convention, held in October 1990, embodied this. It resulted in formation of delegations that toured the world to promote the just Kuwaiti cause. The Kuwaiti campaign against the occupiers was led by the late Amir, His Highness Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and the His Highness the Father Amir, Sheikh Saad Al-Abdullah Al-Salem Al-Sabah.
The international community sided with Kuwait vis a vis the occupiers, launching a multi-national military campaign the liberated the country in February 1991.
Nowadays, His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah has inaugurated a new era in the Kuwaiti-Iraqi relations, shrewdly tackling some of the unresolved files between Kuwait and Baghdad.
Since the ouster of Saddam, relations started to improve and the new Iraqi government and Kuwaiti leaders showed readiness to turn a new page.
This year's anniversary comes after a remarkable development in bilateral relations, Kuwait's support to Iraqi government efforts to end its occupation-related obligations under the Chapter VII of the UN Charter.
The UN Security Council had voted unanimously to get Iraq partially out of Chapter VII of the UN Charter, transfer the files of the missing Kuwaitis and property under the responsibility of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), and put an end to the 1999 post of the High-Level Coordinator for those files. The two countries also agreed on a mechanism for the maintenance of the border signs.
The two neighbors have also worked out agreements and memorandums of understanding for cooperation in education, scientific research, aviation, economy, culture, transport and environment.