Iraqi Airways workers protest Kuwaiti 'provocation'
Around 200 Iraqi Airways employees demonstrated at Baghdad International Airport Wednesday over Kuwait's recent "provocation" in a two-decade-long legal dispute.
Iraqi Airways' chief executive Kifah Hassan Jabbar had his passport seized and the plane he arrived on impounded at London's Gatwick Airport on Sunday, after its first commercial flight from Baghdad to London in 20 years, in a dispute with Kuwait Airways.
Having gathered at the airport's administration building, demonstrators held up placards and banners with slogans that read, "We reject Kuwait's provocation and harrassment" and "Stop sucking the blood of Iraqis with your so-called compensation".
Jabbar's passport was seized and the plane impounded over claims from the Kuwaiti airline that Iraqi Airways owes it 1.2 billion dollars, a dispute dating back to Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait in 1990.
According to the oil-rich emirate, 10 of its planes and aircraft parts were plundered after its airport was seized during the invasion.
"What Kuwait is doing is in contradiction of the rules of Arab and Islamic brotherhood," said Iraqi Airways deputy chief executive Nasser Hussein Bandar.
"We sent a delegation to Kuwait but they refused to meet with us."
© 2010 AFP