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Kuwaiti Ambassador Says Iraqis Hold 22,000 Civilians

February 28, 1991

UNITED NATIONS (AP) _ Kuwait’s ambassador to the United Nations, Mohammad Abulhasan, said Thursday that Iraq had failed to cooperate in disclosing the condition or whereabouts of 22,000 abducted Kuwaiti civilians and 8,632 Kuwaiti prisoners of war.

″I would like to see that all elements related to this conflict have been solved: POWs, civilians, the rescinding of all claims by Iraq″ on Kuwait, Abulhasan said.

″These are all elements which should be taken into consideration before any permanent cease-fire should be declared here (by the Security Council).″

He said 22,000 Kuwaiti civilians were abducted from the emirate after Iraq’s Aug. 2 invasion - including 5,000 taken hostage in the 48 hours before Iraq conceded defeat.

The envoy complained that the Iraqis ″are not forthcoming″ as to the information on the civilians and POWs. ″This (is) the reason that we are very much doubtful of the intention of Iraq.″

″Don’t forget, more than 24 hours elapsed since they have been defeated and left Kuwait, there are no signs at all of their readiness to cooperate in this field,″ he said.

But the Iraqi ambassador, Abdul Amir Al-Anbari, told reporters, ″We are ready to expedite repatriation as soon as possible.″ He said there were some logistical difficulties and his government wants the International Committee of the Red Cross to handle the matter.

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