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UN Iraq-Kuwait Observer Mission to End by October 6 - 2003-07-04

The U.N. Security Council has voted to end a 12-year peacekeeping mission in the de-militarized zone between Iraq and Kuwait.

After the first Gulf war, which followed Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990, the Security Council established a de-militarized zone along the Iraq-Kuwait border.

Peacekeepers with the U.N. Iraq-Kuwait Observer Mission, known as UNIKOM, were deployed in the 15-kilometer wide and 200-kilometer long strip.

Now that Saddam Hussein's regime is no longer in power, the 15-member Security Council has unanimously decided to get rid of the demilitarized zone and phase out UNIKOM by October 6.

The resolution, presented by the United States, notes that "UNIKOM successfully fulfilled its mandate from 1991 to 2003." But it says the peacekeepers and the buffer zone quote "are no longer necessary to protect against threats to international security posed by Iraqi actions against Kuwait."

Only a handful of UNIKOM observers remain in the area. The majority of the observers along with nearly one-thousand UNIKOM troops, were evacuated just before the second Iraq war began in March.