The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]
http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=4590 First Published 2003-03-07, Last Updated 2003-03-07 10:54:16 UN finds holes in Iraq-Kuwait border fence UN spokesman says US troops under suspicion, adding gaps are big enough for large vehicle, including tank. By Lachlan Carmichael - KUWAIT CITY The United Nations was trying at the "highest level" Friday to determine who was responsible for seven wide gaps in the electric fence which marks Kuwait's border with Iraq, a UN spokesman said. Daljeet Bagga said the UN observers had spotted people they suspected were US troops in the areas in the demilitarised zone (DMZ) on the Kuwaiti side of the border before the holes were noticed. He could not confirm whether they had been involved in the incidents, which amount to a violation of the DMZ. The mystery visitors, who had short haircuts, wore plainclothes and drove civilian cars and were at times accompanied by Kuwaiti border guards who are allowed in that area. Bagga said he had no confirmation of a Kuwaiti newspaper report that the Kuwaiti authorities were to make a number of openings in the border fence to permit the easier passage of US-led forces into Iraq in the event of war. "We were not informed" about any decision by anyone to open the gaps, said Bagga, spokesman for the UN Iraq-Kuwait Observer Mission (UNIKOM) in Kuwait. He said that a total of seven gaps, "big enough for any vehicle to pass through," were made at various points in the Kuwaiti part of the DMZ on the 217-kilometer (135-mile) border. Later he said the gaps were big enough for a large vehicle, including a tank. Bagga said UN officials had informed UNIKOM headquarters in New York as well as the Kuwaiti authorities, but not spoken with the US and British forces who have massed in the emirate ready for a possible war. US military spokesmen in Kuwait referred all press queries to the Kuwaiti information ministry, which was unavailable for comment on Friday, the Muslim day of rest. UN officials were also still awaiting an official response from the Kuwaiti authorities, Bagga said. "This will be handled at the highest level," he said. "Nobody is allowed to come into the DMZ. "We are still investigating. We have to know why this is being done and who is doing it." Bagga said the cuts had been noticed Wednesday, continued Thursday but "it has now stopped. We didn't see anything today." A report in the Arab Times, an English-language daily in Kuwait, quoting unnamed sources, said Kuwait was to have started making a number of openings in the border fence from Thursday. It said the locations of the openings were specified by the Kuwaiti army in coordination with US forces deployed in the country. Security sources who asked not to be named said it appeared the visitors were surveying the area to determine where the fence should be cut to allow a path for military vehicles. UNIKOM was set up to monitor the border in the wake of the 1991 Gulf War to liberate Kuwait from Iraqi occupation, and to ensure no violations occur in the DMZ. A sign explicitly bans US forces from entering the zone. It is guarded by an electrical fence, three-meter (10-foot) high sand berms, trenches and other barriers as well as patrolled by the United Nations. On the Kuwaiti side, there are total of 20 border posts divided into four sectors, according to Kuwaiti officials. The border police guard against all infiltrators, particularly alcohol and drug smugglers, as well as those seeking safe haven and Iraqi intelligence agents, they said. __________________________________________________ Do you Yahoo!? Yahoo! Tax Center - forms, calculators, tips, more http://taxes.yahoo.com/ _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk