Kuwait's total claims submitted to the UN Compensation Commission (UNCC) for damages from the 1990-1991 Iraqi occupation have shot up to $168.2 billion, a Kuwaiti official said Saturday.
The rise came after Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) submitted an $86-billion claim for "lost investment returns," the general manager of Kuwait's Public Authority for Assessment of Compensation (PAAC), Adel Assem, told AFP.
"The claim represents KIA losses resulting mainly from missed returns on investments which were liquidated to meet spending during the invasion and occupation of Kuwait," he said. Assem said the amount also covered costs "to finance reconstruction and rebuilding of the infrastructure that was destroyed at the hands of Iraqi occupation forces."
The Gulf emirate has also submitted individual claims worth $7.5 billion to the Geneva-based UN
body, while ministeries have put in separate claims worth more than $50 billion.
Kuwait's pre-invasion foreign investments amounted to an estimated $100 billion, a figure that was chopped down to around $30 billion after the liberation due to the costs of the 1991 Gulf War and reconstruction.
The PAAC handles both private and state claims for compensation from Iraq. The sum is expected to increase as assessment studies are underway on damage to the Kuwaiti environment and public health.
Another major claim Kuwait has submitted to the UNCC is a $21-billion bill for damage to its oil sector that has caused friction in the UN Security Council.
The governing body of UNCC has reduced the bill to $15.9 billion, but countries like Russia and France still insist such claims are too big and should be delayed.
The UNCC is scheduled to vote on the oil claim at a September 26-28 meeting and Kuwait's Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah said Friday the emirate had rallied enough votes to approve the $15.9-billion claim.
The UNCC has so far approved $8.2 billion for payment to Kuwait, but paid only $2.3 billion, Assem said.
The commission set up in 1991 has paid out more than $4.2 billion to 1.45 million victims of the August 1990 invasion of Kuwait, starting out with individual claims rather than corporations or governments.
The fund is financed by 30 percent of Iraq's oil export revenues under a UN mechanism. The rest of the oil revenue goes towards buying food, medicine and essential goods for Iraq, which has been under sanctions since the invasion.
France, supported by China and Russia, asked the UN Security Council on September 21 to reduce the amount deducted for the compensation fund to 20 percent. – (AFP)
© Agence France Presse 2000
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )