The Security Council on Wednesday, June 20, gave its unanimous backing to the UN coordinator on people and property missing since the 1990 invasion of Kuwait, Yuli Vorontsov, who has been rejected by Iraq.
In a statement, the 15 council members endorsed observations in a report by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, "in particular those concerning the complete impartiality of Ambassador Vorontsov in fulfilling his mandate."
They "expressed their unanimous support" for Vorontsov, said the statement, read to reporters by this month's council president, Anwarul Chowdhury of Bangladesh.
The statement was issued amid tense negotiations among the five permanent council members on proposals to reform their 11-year-old Iraqi sanctions policy. The council said it shared Annan's "concern at the lack of progress in resolving the Kuwaiti properties issue and agreed that it was a matter of priority that the national archives of Kuwait be returned."
Last month, Iraq's ambassador to the United Nations, Mohammad Al-Duri, accused Vorontsov of bias and said his government would not deal with him. "The lack of objectivity or impartiality from the Americans and Yuli Vorontsov means Iraq can not trust them or deal with them," Duri said in a message to Annan carried by the official Iraqi news agency INA.
Vorontsov, a former Russian ambassador to Washington, has been unable to visit Iraq since his appointment on February 14, 2000. In its statement, the Security Council called on the government in Baghdad to cooperate fully with him "and to return all items seized from Kuwait." ― (AFP, UN)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)