Magazine article UN Chronicle

Security Council Debates Report Calling for Iran-Iraq POW Exchange

Magazine article UN Chronicle

Security Council Debates Report Calling for Iran-Iraq POW Exchange

Article excerpt

SEcurity Council debates report calling for Iran-Iraq POW exchange

The Security Council on 4 March discussed a report of a mission dispatched by the Secretary-General, calling for the release of prisoners of war (POWs) in Iran and Iraq and for an end to ill-treatment of the prisoners held by both countries. (For details of report (S/1962), see UN Chronicle, No. 2, 1985.) Iraw had requested the Council to discuss the matter.

In debate, Tariq Aziz, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iraq, said Iraq had no political objective that motivated it to mistreat Iranian POWs. It had handed over a large number of POWs, without reciprocity, and had enabled the International Committee of the Red Cross to function without interruption since the war's beginning. Iraq was prepared to co-operate with the Red Cross to implement the recommendations of the United Nations mission. All prisoners should be exchanged within a specific timetable, beginning within a specific timetable, beginning with the disabled and the sick, to be followed by those who had remained in captivity the longest.

Ahmed Tawfik Khalil (Egypt), the only Council member to speak, said he supported Iraq's request, which was "just and fair to everyone". The Council had been requested to take all necessary measures to implement the Secretary-General's recommendations without delay, so that the day might come when the international community would be able to achieve an "honourable solution to the root causes of this malaise" and to end the conflict in a way that would maintain the rights of both peoples and allow for the resumption of "brotherly relations" between the two countries.

Chedli Klibi, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, said priority must be given to guaranteeing the rights and dignity of POWs as a first step towards their prompt release and return to their respective homes. The attainment of that primary objective would contribute to securing a more favourable climate for a definitive settlement of the conflict.

Abdulkarim Al-Eryany, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Yemen Arab Republic, said he hoped that the two parties would fully respect both the spirit and the letter of the 1949 Third Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of POWs and the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, as well as the additional protocols to those Conventions. …

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