A senior military official on Thursday denied that Baghdad was holding any Kuwaiti prisoners-of-war and accused Kuwait of exploiting the issue to ensure the decade-old embargo on Iraq is maintained.
Yassin Jassem, spokesman for Iraq's anti-aircraft defense, described as "misleading" statements by Kuwait's Defense Minister Sheikh Salem al-Sabah that he was ready for direct talks with Iraq if Baghdad admitted holding POWs.
"The defense minister of the Kuwaiti regime can fool no one with his words because he knows full well that no Kuwaiti or non-Kuwaiti POWs are in Iraq," Jassem told a press conference.
"His statement is only an attempt to impress," the general said.
"Iraq has provided all the information it has on the subject of POWs and has cooperated responsibly with the International Committee of the Red Cross.
"We know very well that Kuwait's leaders are using the question of the missing to realize the inhumane objective of prolonging the unjust embargo imposed on Iraq," he added.
Sheikh Salem said on July 25th he was ready to meet face-to-face with Iraq to discuss the issue of POWs but only on the condition Baghdad admits that it has at least 10 percent of the prisoners Kuwait says are in Iraq.
Kuwait maintains that more than 600 of its own and other countries' nationals disappeared during the Iraqi occupation from August 1990 to February 1991.
Iraq said there had been prisoners, but that it lost track of them during an uprising by Shiite Muslims in southern Iraq following the country's retreat from Kuwait.
Baghdad also claims that some 1,155 of its own people have disappeared or are being held in Kuwait - BAGHDAD (AFP)
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