Iraq to Pay US$408m Owed to Egyptian Workers
|March 23, 2012||Filled under Iraq Daily News|
Iraq has agreed to pay US$408m owed to Egyptian workers employed in the country in 1989 and 1990 as part of a broader effort to repay its Gulf War-era debts.
The cash will be repaid over a two month period starting March 25, according to the Egyptian central bank, with around 637,000 recipients.
The cash will be wired through four different banks to Egyptians who worked in Iraq from May 1989 to June 1990 and who were left unpaid after the outbreak of the first Gulf War in August 1990.
The move comes after it was announced last week Iraq has reached a US$500m agreement with Kuwait to resolve a standoff over Gulf War-era debts that had prevented Iraqi Airways from flying to destinations in the West.
Under the deal, Iraq will pay Kuwait US$300m in cash and will invest another $200m in a joint Iraqi-Kuwaiti airline venture, Iraqi president Nouri al-Maliki’s media adviser Ali al-Moussawi told Reuters by telephone from Kuwait where al-Maliki was on a visit.
In return, Kuwait would lift legal actions against Iraqi Airways, he said. In 2010 Kuwait’s lawyers tried to seize an Iraqi Airways plane on its first flight to London more than 20 years.
The issue of Iraqi Airways debts is one part of a long-running dispute between Iraq and Kuwait over billions of dollars of reparations dating back to Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990-91.
Saddam’s forces seized aircraft and parts during their occupation of Kuwait, before they were driven out in the US-led Gulf War.
Iraqi Airways has regular flights to Beirut, Dubai, Tehran and Amman, but legal cases have made it difficult to start flights to European cities without risking its planes being confiscated.
Iraq is keen to resolve some of its disputes with Kuwait ahead of a March 27-29 Arab League summit in Baghdad, the first to be held there since before the 1990 invasion.
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