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Middle East
Iraqi Airways flies into Kuwait row
Airline drops flights to London and Sweden amid war reparations dispute with Kuwait.
Last Modified: 26 May 2010 10:58 GMT
Iraqi Airways could be dissolved as a result of the dispute with Kuwait over reparations [EPA] 

Iraqi Airways has dropped flights to some European destinations amid an intensifying row with Kuwait over war reparations that could see the airline dissolve.

Iraq's transport minister said on Tuesday that the government was considering declaring the airline bankrupt to end a bitter dispute over billions of dollars worth of aviation equipment seized by Saddam Hussein's troops during the 1990-91 invasion of Kuwait.  

Amer Abdul-Jabbar said that the airline had cancelled routes to the UK, Sweden and Germany because Kuwait was preventing it from operating properly at these destinations.

Last month, Iraq's national flag-carrier flew to London for the first time in 20 years. But a lawyer acting for the Kuwaiti government tried to seize the plane when it landed after a British court had issued an order to freeze the assets of the airline.

The director-general of Iraqi Airways had his passport seized by the British high court, which ruled that the airline must declare its assets. He was later allowed to leave Britain.

Escalating dispute

Abdul-Jabbar said the Kuwaiti government had been escalating the Iraqi Airways row in recent days.

"Our planes that land in Sweden, London and Germany, they are blocking supplying them with food, fuel and water," he said. "We have stopped our flights."

He said that the Iraqi cabinet was considering declaring Iraqi Airways bankrupt. "If we announce the bankruptcy of our airline what will the Kuwaitis get? We can establish another airline company and put an end to this case. With this, the Kuwaitis will get nothing."

Al Jazeera's Zeina Khodr, reporting from Baghdad, said that Iraq had been making reparation payments for some time.

"For years Iraq has had to pay 5 per cent of its oil income into a special UN fund. The government would like the government of Kuwait to write off the debt and forgive the past." 

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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