Iraq contests UN compensation to Hyundai
Iraq's leading newspaper on Sunday contested the UN's award of almost $30 million to the South Korean firm Hyundai in damages for the 1991 Gulf War.
"The UN Compensation Commission (UNCC) is spending Iraq's money illegally," charged Babel, a daily run by President Saddam Hussein's elder son, Uday.
The UNCC on January 25 awarded compensation of $29.37 million to Hyundai Engineering and Construction Co. Ltd. (HEC) for its losses from the Gulf War sparked by Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait. The compensation funds come from UN-controlled Iraqi oil exports.
"Hyundai does not have the right to the sum disbursed by the UNCC," Babel said, arguing that "force majeure" clauses in commercial and industrial contracts exempted parties from their commitments or the right to demand compensation.
"Although it was aware that the damage resulted from a case of force majeure, Hyundai has received the sum decided by the UNCC without the issue being negotiated with Iraq," the official newspaper said.
”It received this sum from the so-called Compensation Commission which spends Iraq's money in an illegal way and contrary to UN Security Council resolutions and worldwide norms which take into account the views of the party paying the compensation."
Before the Gulf conflict, HEC was involved in several projects in the Gulf, such as building roads in Kuwait and a naval base in Iraq.
Debt-ridden HEC said last week that the money from Iraq was the last installment of $34.38 million that the UN had set as compensation for the firm's losses.
The latest payments from the Geneva-based UNCC raised to $11 billion the amount of compensation paid to individuals, companies, countries and international organizations since the conflict. — (AFP, Baghdad)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)