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U.N. Security Council praises Iraq for helping search for Kuwaitis missing from Gulf War

20 April, 2005

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UNITED NATIONS, April 20(Online): The U.N. Security Council praised Iraq's new government for agreeing to help search for hundreds of people missing since the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and the Gulf War that liberated it seven months later.

The council statement welcomed Iraq's recent decision to publish the names and photographs of people whose remains hadn't been found. Iraq's foreign minister, Hoshyar Zebari, had sent the council a letter on March 9 saying his government wanted to help.

Saddam Hussein's government had refused to fully cooperate with U.N. efforts to account for the missing. It had maintained all Gulf War prisoners had been released or were lost during the war and its aftermath.

So far, no missing person has been found alive in prison searches after the second war in Iraq which ousted Saddam.

The council statement was read by China's Ambassador Wang Guangya after a closed Security Council session to discuss a report Secretary-General Kofi Annan released this week on the issue. In his report, Annan said the total number of people accounted for had risen to 222.

He said there were some 270 who remain missing and that the chances of finding them have diminished.

The men were taken by Iraqi occupation forces from Kuwait. They were seized for a variety of reasons, such as joining the resistance, possession of weapons, writing anti-Saddam graffiti or even carrying a Kuwaiti flag.

End.

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