By Khayoun Saleh
Azzaman, March 27, 2012
Iraq has transferred $408 million to several Egyptian banks to cover delayed payments for hundreds of thousands of Egyptians who worked in Iraq.
Up to one million Egyptians used to work in Iraq prior to 1990 when the U.N. imposed punitive trade sanctions for its invasion of Kuwait.
The sanctions prevented Iraq from exporting oil, thereby making it impossible for it to pay its debts.
Egyptians left the country without payment. Successive Iraqi governments formed in the aftermath of the 2003-U.S. invasion said they wanted to settle the issue.
The payment comes a few days before the Arab summit meeting in Baghdad.
“The sum represents the payment Iraq owed to Egyptian workers. We are late in paying due to the conditions the country passed through,” said Mudher Saleh, a deputy of the Governor of Iraq Central Bank.
Egyptians who worked in Iraq are reported to have received the news with glee.
Egyptian banks have seen a rush of customers enquiring about conditions and papers necessary to get their dues.
The massive sum is an accumulation of remittances many of them less than $400. The delay of more than 20 years will make it difficult to cash the remittances as the original owners might have passed away.