Baghdad, Riyadh Agree on Plan to Recover Body of Saudi Pilot

Published July 4th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Iraq and Saudi Arabia have agreed on a plan to retrieve the remains of a Saudi pilot whose plane Iraq shot down during the 1991 Gulf War, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said Tuesday. 

"The Iraqi and Saudi authorities have accepted a plan we have drawn up to recover the remains of the pilot lying in a border area inside Iraqi territory," Beat Schweizer, head of the ICRC delegation in Baghdad, told AFP. 

The new plan includes two teams, one Iraqi and one Saudi, meeting at the Ar'ar border town before visiting the site where the remains of the Saudi pilot, Squadron Leader Mohammad Nadera, are located, Schweizer said. 

"The task is complicated and it is necessary to deploy intense efforts for it to succeed," he said. 

Aside from the two teams, three foreign experts, including a landmine specialist and a medical examiner, will participate in the operation, which will most likely take place in October, the ICRC chief said. 

The Iraqi weekly Al-Rafidain newspaper claimed in May that Saudi Arabia had backed out of another ICRC-sponsored joint operation with Baghdad to retrieve the remains. 

Baghdad wanted the operation to be undertaken solely by Iraq and Saudi Arabia under Red Cross supervision. 

But Riyadh wanted US and British experts on the teams and demanded that meetings take place at the Iraqi-Kuwaiti border in the presence of representatives from the United States, Britain, France and Kuwait. 

The crash site in southern Iraq is 100 kilometers (60 miles) from the nearest inhabited area and is only accessible by land from the Saudi side of the border because the Iraqi side is heavily mined, according to Iraqi sources. 

Baghdad said on January 30th it had already informed Riyadh that the plane wreckage was found in 1997, that an Iraqi officer buried the pilot and Iraq wanted to return the body - BAGHDAD (AFP) 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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