Iraq slams Kuwait for interfering with its airline

Lawyers working for Kuwait attempted to confiscate the first Iraqi Airways plane to land in London in 20 years over a dispute dating back to Saddam Hussein`s 1990 invasion of the oil-rich Gulf state.

Last Updated: Apr 30, 2010, 10:38 AM IST

Baghdad: Lawyers working for Kuwait attempted to confiscate the first Iraqi Airways plane to land in London in 20 years over a dispute dating back to Saddam Hussein`s 1990 invasion of the oil-rich Gulf state, the Iraqi Ministry of Transportation said on Thursday.

Kuwait is demanding reparations of USD 1.2 billion from Iraqi Airways for the alleged theft of 10 airplanes and millions of dollars worth of spare parts during the invasion and seven-month occupation.

Iraq says it has repeatedly called for talks over the case and to solve it in a "friendly way”, but the Kuwaitis have not responded.

According to the statement, the lawyers attempted to confiscate the airplane that made the flight, but were not able to when it turned out to be chartered from a Swedish company and not owned by Iraqi Airways.

Christopher Gooding, a lawyer representing Kuwait Airways in the dispute, said in an e-mail the carrier served a court order on Iraqi Airways related to past English court rulings requiring it to pay USD 1.2 billion to Kuwait.

He said the order served this week calls for the freezing of Iraqi Airways` worldwide assets, and requires the carrier`s director general to provide a statement of those assets and remain within the court`s jurisdiction in order to make the affidavit.

PTI