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[Iraq_L] NEWS: Release of Prisoners Precondition to Talks- Kuwait

From: NK <>

Kuwait says Iraq's release of prisoners is
precondition to talks 
Tuesday, 04-Jan-2000 12:20PM      

KUWAIT CITY, Jan 4 (AFP) - Kuwait rejects any dialogue
with Iraq until Baghdad frees all prisoners of war
still held since the 1990 Iraqi invasion of the Gulf
emirate, a Kuwaiti minister said in an interview to be
published Wednesday.

"Kuwait rejects any direct meeting with (Iraqi)
officials before the release of all our prisoners, or
even some of them," Defence Minister Salem al-Sabah
told the Kuwait Al-Rai Al-Am daily.

"Let Baghdad first show its good faith on the subject
of the prisoners then we shall see about direct
dialogue", added Sabah, who also chairs Kuwait's
National Council for the Release of the Prisoners.

The Kuwaiti minister was reacting to a call made at
the end of last year by Yemen's President Ali Abdallah
Saleh for Iraq and Kuwait to begin direct talks to
discuss all their problems, including those missing
since the end of the Gulf War in 1991.

The emirate insists that 600 Kuwaitis and other Arab
nationals "disappeared" or were detained during Iraq's
August 1990-February 1991 occupation of its territory.

Iraq acknowledged taking some Kuwaiti prisoners but
says it lost track of them in the aftermath of the
conflict, when a Shiite Muslim rebellion threatened to
topple Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

Baghdad says more than 1,000 Iraqi nationals
disappeared or were taken prisoner in Kuwait.

Since the US and British air strikes on Iraq in
December 1998, Baghdad has boycotted all meetings of
the Red Cross committee on the disappeared, which
groups Britain, France, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the
United States.

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