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Canada Suspends Operations at Its Kuwait Embassy

October 19, 1990

OTTAWA (AP) _ Canada has suspended operations at its besieged embassy in Kuwait and the five Canadians who kept things going there arrived in Baghdad on Friday night, External Affairs Minister Joe Clark said.

He said the three diplomats and two wives were tired but well, and commended them for their work under trying circumstances for nearly two months.

Clark said the embassy is not officially closed and that this did not mean Canada recognized Iraq’s claim to Kuwait.

Iraqi forces cut off electricity and water to foreign compounds in Kuwait, which President Saddam Hussein claims as Iraq’s 19th province.

The five Canadians, led by charge d’affaires William Bowden, left Kuwait City with an escort Friday morning in three cars. The trip took 10 hours.

The diplomats planned to stay with staff from the embassy in Baghdad.

The Canadian action occurred the same day a report was published in Iraqi newspapers saying all foreigners in Kuwait must register with local authorities before Nov. 5 or face a fine and punishment.

Iraq overran Kuwait on Aug. 2 and four days later said it had annexed the oil-rich nation. Saddam ordered embassies in Kuwait closed.

The Belgian and German embassies in Kuwait closed Oct. 12, and the Dutch, Italian and Polish embassies withdrew their last diplomats from Kuwait City in the week before that.

Although only the British, French and U.S. embassies now remain open, most nations still recognize Kuwait as a separate nation.

The U.S. Embassy maintains about 10 diplomats led by Ambassador W. Nathaniel Howell. An unknown number of American private citizens also have taken refuge there.

About 600 Americans are stuck in Kuwait, some in hiding and several reported to be desperately ill.

The American diplomats have been surviving mainly on canned food and the occasional loaf of bread carried in by local staff.

At the U.S. embassy, power and water are cut. The Americans must forgo baths and boil water form the swimming pool to drink. They use outdoor latrines and sometimes sleep outdoors to keep cool, despite the swarms of mosquitoes.

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