BAGHDAD: Iraq has paid its last war reparations to Kuwait more than 30 years since the invasion of the Gulf country by former autocrat Saddam Hussein, officials said on Thursday.
On Aug. 2, 1990, Hussein ordered his army to invade Kuwait and seize what he described as “Iraq’s 19th province,” before being pushed back seven months later by a US-led coalition.
“Iraq has closed the file of the Kuwait war reparations, having paid the last of its dues,” Mozher Saleh, the prime minister’s economic adviser, was quoted as saying by the official Iraqi News Agency.
In total, Iraq has paid $52.4 billion in reparations, he said. “This is not a small amount,” he added. “The sum would have been enough to construct an electricity network that would have served Iraq for many years.”
Despite being rich in hydrocarbons, Iraq’s electricity infrastructure has suffered from years of negligence and successive wars, facing regular power cuts.
Saleh said he hoped that the slice of budget previously allocated for reparations would now be directed to development projects.
The central bank announced on Tuesday the payment of the final portion of the reparations, valued at $44 million.
The payments were suspended in 2014 when Daesh took over large swathes of Iraq but were resumed in 2018, following the group’s defeat.
Funds for the reparations come from a 5 percent tax levied on sales of Iraq’s petroleum and petroleum products.