Iraq and Kuwait Agree on Return of Stolen Gold, Antiquities, Planes
UNITED NATIONS (AP) _ Iraq and Kuwait have made arrangements for the return of gold, antiquities and other plunder seized during the seven-month occupation of the emirate, U.N. officials said Friday.
The agreement represents a step by Iraq to meet the conditions of the truce that ended the Persian Gulf War. The United States, Britain and Kuwait have said Iraq is not complying with the terms and that trade sanctions should remain in place until it does.
Kuwait and Iraq have agree on the quantity of gold to be returned - 3,216 bars - and have agreed it will be returned in the near future in Saudi Arabia, U.N. officials said.
No date has been set for the return, but U.N., Kuwaiti and Iraqi officials will weigh each gold bar as it is turned over to the Kuwaitis, U.N. Undersecretary-General Dick Foran said Friday.
″As you know gold is very soft,″ he said. ″With just an ordinary pocket knife, just by skimming each one you could end up with a few million dollars of gold in your pocket.″
At $370 per troy ounce, the 27.5-pound gold bars would be worth about $392 million. Some Kuwaiti officials claim it is worth $1.2 billion, but that figure appeared to be inflated.
Kuwait’s antiquities and its national library of some 124,000 volumes are securely packed and in storage in the National Museum of Iraq in Baghdad, Foran said, and ready to be returned.
Kuwaiti ministries are submitting lists of other goods that were plundered by the Iraqis - such as military planes and vehicles, furniture, appliances, oil equipment and private vehicles.
Baghdad and Kuwait are still far apart on how many Kuwaiti banknotes were seized. Kuwait claims $320 million in Kuwait dinars are missing, while Iraq says it has about $170 million.