UN chief greets Kuwait on anniversary of end of Iraqi occupation

UNITED NATIONS: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Saturday congratulated the government and the people of Kuwait as they marked 50 years of independence and celebrated the 20th anniversary of its liberation from Iraqi occupation.

"This was a historic moment for Kuwait," Ban said in his message.

"It was also a notable development for the international community, as it was achieved under the mandate of Chapter VII resolutions of the United Nations Security Council: and thus serves as a symbol of how the international community, acting together in the framework of international law and collective security, can uphold the fundamental principles of the United Nations Charter," he added.

The Secretary-General said the attack on the sovereignty of Kuwait brought suffering to its people, many of whom remain missing, and to the people of many other countries.

In 1990, Iraq, under the leadership of the late Saddam Hussein, invaded Kuwait, an event that sparked what came to be known as the first Gulf War.

In January 1991 coalition forces launched a massive military campaign against Iraq after it failed to comply with UN Security Council resolutions which demanded the withdrawal of its troops from Kuwait. Iraqi forces began retreating from Kuwait on 26 February 1991.

"Today, Kuwait and Iraq stand at the dawn of a new era of peaceful coexistence and friendly relations.  I welcome the recent steps taken by the leadership of the two countries to normalize relations and resolve outstanding issues within the framework of the resolutions of the United Nations,” Ban said.

On Friday, a number of world leaders and other top dignitaries arrived in Kuwait to participate in the country's national celebrations. Among the heads of state who will participate are Iraq's Jalal Talabani, Pakistan's Asif Ali Zardari, Nepalese President Ram Baran Yadav, Honduras President Lobo Sosa, Canada's Governor General David Johnston. Former US secretary of state Collin Powell will also participate, the Arab Times reported.

A grand military parade took place on Saturday in the country with forces from Kuwait and countries of the international coalition which liberated Kuwait.


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