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Public Papers - 1990 - August

Statement by Press Secretary Fitzwater on the Treatment of Foreign Nationals in Iraq and Kuwait


On several occasions since the Iraqi invasion and subsequent occupation of Kuwait, the President has stated publicly his interest in the well-being of American citizens and all foreign nationals in both Iraq and Kuwait. The President thus views yesterday's statement by the Speaker of Iraq's National Assembly [Sadi Mahdi], that Iraq will ``play host to the citizens of these aggressive nations as long as Iraq remains threatened with an aggressive war,'' to be totally unacceptable. He is deeply troubled by the indication that Iraqi authorities intend to relocate these individuals within Iraq against their will. The President is also deeply concerned about today's announcement by the Government of Iraq that foreign nationals may not have access to adequate quantities of food.

The use of innocent civilians as pawns to promote what Iraq sees to be its self-interest is contrary to international law and, indeed, to all accepted norms of international conduct. We urge that Iraq immediately reconsider its refusal to allow any foreign national desiring to leave to do so without delay or condition. We would also hope that Iraq would take note of yesterday's statement by the U.N. Security Council President expressing the Council's concern and anxiety over the situation of foreign nationals in Iraq and Kuwait and calling upon the Secretary-General to take all appropriate steps. The United States intends to consult with other governments with citizens being held in Iraq and Kuwait to determine what additional measures ought to be taken.

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