26 February 2011Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today congratulated the Government and the people of Kuwait as they marked 50 years as an independent State and celebrated the 20th anniversary of the country’s liberation from occupation by forces of the former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. “This was an historic moment for Kuwait,” Mr. Ban said of the liberation. “It was also a notable development for the international community, as it was achieved under the mandate of Chapter VII resolutions of the United Nations Security Council – and thus serves as a symbol of how the international community, acting together in the framework of international law and collective security, can uphold the fundamental principles of the United Nations Charter.”In his message, the Secretary-General said the attack on the sovereignty of Kuwait brought untold suffering not only to its people, many of whom remain missing, but also to the region and to the people of many other countries. He said the repercussions of the invasion of Kuwait were global, with many lives lost both in the initial incursion and in the military action that reversed the aggression.“Today, Kuwait and Iraq stand at the dawn of a new era of peaceful coexistence and friendly relations. I welcome the recent steps taken by the leadership of the two countries to normalize relations and resolve outstanding issues within the framework of the resolutions of the United Nations.“ This is a formidable challenge, but I have faith in their resolve to move in that direction and achieve full closure. The United Nations will continue to provide all necessary support,” said Mr. Ban.He said looked forward to the contributions Kuwaitis will continue to make to the work of the United Nations to build a better world for all.Iraq, under the leadership of the late Saddam Hussein, invaded Kuwait in 1990, an event that sparked what came to be known as the first Gulf War.In January 1991 coalition forces launched a massive military campaign against Iraq after it failed to comply with UN Security Council resolutions which demanded the withdrawal of its troops from Kuwait. Iraqi forces began retreating from Kuwait on 26 February 1991.