Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Kuwaiti PM in historic Baghdad visit to forge ties

Iraq and Kuwait agreed on Wednesday to step up efforts to resolve issues dating from Iraq's 1990 invasion of the emirate, as a Kuwaiti premier visited Baghdad for the first time since then.

BAGHDAD // Iraq and Kuwait agreed on Wednesday to step up efforts to resolve issues dating from Iraq's 1990 invasion of the emirate, as a Kuwaiti premier visited Baghdad for the first time since then.

Sheikh Nasser Mohammad al-Ahmad al-Sabah was received at Baghdad airport by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari and other officials.

The two premiers then met in "a positive atmosphere" and discussed steps to deal with outstanding issues in relations, said Ali Moussawi, a Maliki advisor.

"The two sides showed their insistence on developing relations, and getting over problems of borders and economic and security files," he said.

They agreed to form a committee to address outstanding issues, which will be jointly headed by the countries' foreign ministers, Moussawi said.

"The committees will meet soon, to find solutions via dialogue," he said.

Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed Sabah al-Salem al-Sabah, who accompanied Sheikh Nasser, said "there are several issues the Iraqi-Kuwaiti committee will discuss, including the issue of debts."

Sheikh Nasser's visit is the first by a Kuwaiti premier to Iraq since Sheikh Saad al-Abdullah al-Sabah visited in 1989. In August 1990, Iraq's Saddam Hussein ordered his forces to invade Kuwait.

The invasion was quickly met with a concerted international military response that seven months later pushed Saddam's forces out of the emirate.

The dictator was ousted by a US-led coalition in 2003.

Moussawi said Kuwait also expressed support for an Arab summit set for Baghdad in March, in which the country will be represented by its emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah.

"Kuwait expressed its desire for the summit to succeed, and will participate in it, represented by the emir of the country, and will make efforts to support Iraq in getting out of Chapter Seven," he said.

That was a reference to the section of the UN Charter under which sanctions were imposed on Iraq.

Sheikh Nasser's visit comes two days after a Kuwaiti coast guard was killed during a clash with Iraqi fishermen in which the Iraqis' boat was sunk.

Kuwait's interior ministry said the skirmish occurred when an Iraqi boat entered Kuwaiti waters and refused orders from a coast guard patrol to stop.

There are a number of outstanding issues between Iraq and Kuwait relating to the Iraqi invasion and occupation of Kuwait.

Iraq still pays 5% of its oil sales into a reparations fund for Kuwait, which is demanding that Baghdad pay another $22 billion. Kuwait has received about $13 billion so far.

Kuwait also demands that Iraq return property stolen during the occupation and explain the fate of hundreds of missing Kuwaitis.

In December, the emirate urged Iraq to fully apply all international resolutions and settle outstanding issues after the UN Security Council voted to end key sanctions imposed on Baghdad.

At the time, the Kuwaiti cabinet also welcomed Security Council resolutions to halt some sanctions that were imposed on Iraq after the 1990 invasion.

Kuwait said "commitment to serious and full implementation of Security Council resolutions related to the situation between Iraq and Kuwait will close all files and settle outstanding issues.

"This will also lay foundations for strong relations based on the respect of sovereignty and independence and the principle of good neighbourly relations and non-interference in internal affairs," it said.

In August, Kuwait and Iraq agreed in principle on a deal to regulate production from the border oilfields that were at the centre of their war.

A number of oilfields lie on the border between the two Arab countries, including Iraq's giant Rumaila field which extends into Kuwait, where it is known as Ritqa. There are other such fields in Zubair and Safwan.

Saddam accused Kuwait of stealing oil from Rumaila when his forces launched their invasion.

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Iranian President Hassan Rouhani greeted by university students as he leaves Sistan University in Sistan and Baluchestan’s provincial capital of Zahedan on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. Maryam Rahmanian for The National

In Iran’s most troubled province, Rouhani hears pleas for change

Hassan Rounani aims to connect with residents of far-flung Sistan and Baluchestan province.

 Prince Bandar bin Sultan in Riyadh on March 3, 2007. Hassan Ammar / AFP Photo

Saudi Prince Bandar promised a victory he could not deliver

Saudi Arabia's controversial intelligence chief stepped down this week after rumours that his policies on Syria had fallen out of favour.

 Iranian President Hassan Rouhani greets supporters after his arrival in Zahedan, the regional capital of Sistan and Baluchestan province on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. During Mr Rouhani's two-day visit, he will tour several other cities and hold meetings with local scholars and entrepreneurs. Maryam Rahmanian for The National

On the road with Hassan Rouhani

Iran's president is touring some of Iran's most underdeveloped provinces. Foreign correspondent Yeganeh Salehi is traveling with him.

 Twitter photo of  Abdel Fattah El Sisi on the campaign trail on March 30. Photo courtesy-Twitter/@SisiCampaign

El Sisi rides a bicycle, kicks off social media storm

The photos and video created a huge buzz across social media networks, possibly a marker of a new era for Egypt.

 Friday is UN Mine Awareness Day and Omer Hassan, who does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan, is doing all he can to teach people about the dangers posed by landmines. Louise Redvers for The National

A landmine nearly ended Omer’s life but he now works to end the threat of mines in Iraq

Omer Hassan does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan and only has to show people his mangled leg to underscore the danger of mines. With the world marking UN Mine Awareness Day on Friday, his work is as important as ever as Iraq is one of the most mine-affected countries in the world.

 Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkish spiritual leader Fethullah Gulen. AFP Photo

The inner workings of Gulen’s ‘parallel state’

Fethullah Gulen's followers are accused of trying to push Turkey's prime minister from power.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National