The UN Security Council has voted to remove Iraq from Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, unanimously agreeing to lift the UN sanctions imposed on Baghdad following the 1990 invasion of Kuwait by the executed dictator Saddam Hussein.
On Thursday, the 15-memebr body agreed that the issue of missing Kuwaiti people, property and archives should be handled under Chapter 6, instead of Chapter 7.
Chapter 6 of the UN Charter urges peaceful resolution of any conflict between the countries, while Chapter 7 authorizes the council to allow measures such as sanctions or military intervention if countries do not meet its demands.
The council’s resolution recognized “the importance of Iraq achieving international standing equal to that which it held prior to (1990).”
The decision is regarded as a major political upgrade for Iraq as it struggles to restore its international status a decade after the US-led invasion toppled Saddam in 2003.
Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari praised the council’s move, saying the move heralds a new start for the ties between Iraq and Kuwait.
“This is a new beginning for the relations between our two neighborly and brotherly countries. This is an example for other countries also to resolve their disputes and differences through peaceful means,” he said.
UN diplomatic sources say the only issues regarding Iraq's invasion of Kuwait which remain under Chapter 7 are an arms ban and the country’s payment of USD 52 billion in compensation to Kuwait.
Iraq still owes USD 11 billion to Kuwait. It hopes to settle it by 2015.