GENEVA – The United Nations panel overseeing compensation for victims of Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait has paid out a $248 million installment to cover claims for losses and damages, the world body said Thursday.
The latest installment, which consisted of large payments to private individuals, governments, international organizations and corporations, brings the total amount paid in compensation to more than $20.6 billion, said the United Nations Compensation Commission.
The UNCC is made up of the 15 U.N. Security Council member countries. Money to pay the claims comes from Iraqi oil sales. The commission has approved $52.5 billion in total compensation.
Payments are running well behind schedule, and it is expected to take years to complete the compensation. Last year, the UNCC said higher revenues from Iraqi oil sales had enabled the panel to speed up paying the claims, and it expected to pay off individuals by the middle of this year.
The funds in the latest payout went to individuals, corporations, international organizations or governments in six countries: Britain, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Turkey.
Until the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq that toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003, the commission received 25 percent of the proceeds from the U.N. oil-for-food program, which — in an exception to international sanctions — allowed the former Iraqi regime to sell oil and buy food, medicine and other humanitarian goods.