Baghdad: Iraq on Sunday accused its neighbours
of stealing vast sections of its national archives, including
documents dating back centuries, after the 2003 US-led
invasion of the country.
Some 60 per cent of the archives, amounting to tens of
millions of documents, were missing or had been damaged and
destroyed as a result of water leaks and a fire at a storage
centre in Bab al-Muatham in Baghdad`s old quarter.
"Historic documents to do with Iraq`s relations with its
neighbours have been taken -- they were either bought from
smugglers, or recovered them from various political factions,"
National Archives director Saad Iskander said.
"We are not making assumptions, because we have evidence
that these documents were taken to these countries," he said.
"They include maps, documents and official agreements
over oil, borders and the question of water flow and rivers.
Neighbouring countries made sure to take them from us as
quickly as possible."
Iskander added documents related to the activities of
movements based in Iraq who were opposed to regimes in
neighbouring countries such as Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia
were also stolen.
Baghdad would, however, negotiate with the United States
next year for the return of around 10 million documents,
including those related to the Iraqi Jewish community, he