Saudi Arabia to shelter refugees

April 25, 1991|By New York Times

YANBU, Saudi Arabia -- Saudi Arabia has decided to accept and shelter all Iraqi refugees now under American and Saudi control in the south of Iraq and is building a camp to accommodate as many as 50,000 people, a senior Saudi official says.

The official, Lt. Gen. Khalid ibn Sultan, a prince who commanded the Arab forces in the coalition that ousted Iraq from Kuwait, also reaffirmed yesterday the kingdom's commitment to abide by international law and "Islamic humanitarian tradition" in handling nearly 14,000 Iraqi prisoners of war who do not wish to return to Iraq.

In accord with the Geneva Convention for prisoners of war, he said, the prisoners will be permitted to remain in camps in Saudi Arabia until other countries accept them or until they want to return home.

"I am prepared to do whatever it takes to take proper care of all of these people," Khalid said. "We cannot force them to return as long as Saddam is there. The Iraqi people are still our brothers and it is time to start healing the wounds, to forgive and forget."

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