Kuwait foreign minister sees progress on maritime border dispute with Iraq

Two countries will hold a round of legal and technical talks on Sunday to bring an end to the issue

By Reuters

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Kuwait's Foreign Minister Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al Jaber Al Sabah (right) welcoming his Saudi counterpart Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud at Kuwait international airport in Kuwait City on February 4, 2023. — AFP File
Kuwait's Foreign Minister Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al Jaber Al Sabah (right) welcoming his Saudi counterpart Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud at Kuwait international airport in Kuwait City on February 4, 2023. — AFP File

Published: Sat 18 Feb 2023, 8:16 PM

Kuwait and Iraq will hold a round of legal and technical talks on Sunday as they look to bring an end to a maritime border dispute, which if resolved would spur economic development between the states, Kuwait's foreign minister said on Saturday.

The land border between the two was demarcated by the United Nations in 1993 after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, but it did not cover the length of their maritime boundaries, and this was left for the two oil producers to resolve.

Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al Jaber Al Sabah said the two sides would hold talks on Sunday and he was hopeful of progress.

"It's very high priority for my government and we are working with Iraq to finalise the demarcation of that maritime border," Al Sabah said in an interview at the Munich Security Conference. He said their legal and technical teams were meeting on Sunday in search of a deal. "We are moving ahead."

A deal could open the door to closer cooperation, from the construction of ports, management of border oil fields, and the general ease of trade and transport between the two states. Al Sabah held talks with Iraq Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al Sudani in Munich on Friday.

Kuwait is often seen as a mediating power in the region and has always been a supporter of the Palestinian cause. It has shied away from formalising relations with Israel.

Asked whether that position could change, Al Sabah said the situation between Israel and the Palestinians was not getting better.

Al Sabah also said his country had no plans to follow other states in re-engaging with Syrian President Bashar Al Assad despite the earthquake that has ravaged the country.


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