Remarks at a UN Security Council Briefing on the UN Compensation Commission

Ambassador Richard Mills
Deputy U.S. Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
February 22, 2022


Thank you, Mr. President, and thank you, Ambassador Gaffey, for your report.

As it winds to a close, we can judge the UN Compensation Commission as a successful UN mechanism for post-conflict management, made possible by the Council’s collective commitment to multilateralism and the maintenance of international peace and security. Acting under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, this Council came together to rectify the harms created by Saddam Hussein’s unlawful invasion and occupation of Kuwait. It is with satisfaction that today we voted to adopt a resolution that ends those Chapter VII measures concerning Iraq’s obligations to provide compensation for those harms.

The Governing Council, in guiding the work of the UNCC, adopted every single decision by consensus, demonstrating to all a commendable unity of purpose and a commitment to collaboration. This success certainly would not have been possible without the diligence and effectiveness of the staff of the Commission over the last 30 years. Their professionalism built confidence in the compensation process and reaffirmed the ability of the UN to implement a complex program. We commend them for their work.

But, perhaps most of all, we are grateful to the Governments of Kuwait and Iraq for the role they have played in drawing to a close a sad chapter in history and charting a more positive and peaceful future for their region. We commend the Government of Kuwait for its commitment to the multilateral mechanism for resolving claims. The suspension of compensation payments due to the circumstances in Iraq associated with the rise of ISIS was a demonstration of Kuwait’s trust in the UN to complete its work and of Kuwait’s generosity toward its neighbor and the international community during a crisis.

We credit Iraq for its consistent participation in the claims process across several governments and through challenging times. Iraq’s fulfillment of its obligations marks a continuation of Iraq’s meaningful collaboration with the UN system.

In conclusion, Mr. President, while the completion of work by the UNCC is a success, it is also a reminder that the impact of war extends for decades even after the actual fighting may have ended. It is a reminder that all UN Member States should continue to seek peace and avoid war, and it underscores that the Security Council must continue to undertake actions that help prevent the outbreak of armed conflict and advance international peace and security, consistent with this Council’s role under the UN Charter.

Thank you, Mr. President.