Kuwait, Iraq eye closer ties, sign 4 agree­ments

Kuwait to start im­port­ing gas from Iraq

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE -

BAGH­DAD/KUWAIT: The sixth ses­sion of a joint Kuwaiti-Iraqi min­is­te­rial com­mit­tee con­vened in the Iraqi cap­i­tal yes­ter­day, with par­tic­i­pa­tion of a Kuwaiti del­e­ga­tion headed by First Deputy Prime Min­is­ter and For­eign Min­is­ter Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Ha­mad Al-Sabah. On the Iraqi side, the del­e­ga­tion was headed by Iraqi For­eign Min­is­ter Ibrahim Al-Jaa­fari. Of­fi­cial dis­cus­sions were held dur­ing the two-day meet­ing over in­creased co­op­er­a­tion be­tween both na­tions.

The Kuwaiti for­eign min­is­ter traced the his­tory of bi­lat­eral ties, not­ing that such meet­ings are im­per­a­tive to meet the col­lec­tive as­pi­ra­tions of the peo­ples of both na­tions. More­over, he un­der­scored Kuwait’s firm sup­port of Iraq in the coun­try’s fight against ter­ror­ism, not­ing that con­certed ef­forts are re­quired to ex­ter­mi­nate this scourge. At the con­clu­sion of the ses­sion, a se­ries of four agree­ments were signed be­tween both coun­tries, deal­ing with cul­ture, in­dus­try, se­cu­rity and avi­a­tion. Kuwait’s del­e­ga­tion to the joint Kuwaiti-Iraqi min­is­te­rial com­mit­tee’s ses­sion in­cluded se­nior of­fi­cials from the coun­try’s gov­ern­ment and pri­vate sec­tors.

Dur­ing the con­clud­ing ses­sion, the Iraqi for­eign min­is­ter re­called the good po­si­tions and sup­port of HH the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ah­mad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to­wards Iraq dur­ing dif­fi­cult cir­cum­stances since 2003. He thanked Kuwait for its back­ing of Iraq in its war against the so-called Is­lamic State (IS), for its con­dem­na­tion of ter­ror­ist at­tacks in Iraq, for its swift re­sponse to re­quests to join ef­forts to ex­tin­guish oil­field fires in the coun­try, and for its agree­ment to de­lay due com­pen­sa­tions.

Jaa­fari con­grat­u­lated Kuwait on the elec­tion of the new par­lia­ment and for­ma­tion of a new gov­ern­ment, wish­ing it ev­er­last­ing se­cu­rity, sta­bil­ity and wel­fare.

He pointed to Iraq’s will­ing­ness to de­velop co­op­er­a­tive re­la­tions with Kuwait in eco­nomic and oil do­mains ac­cord­ing to memos of un­der­stand­ing and agree­ments signed by both na­tions. He re­it­er­ated his coun­try’s com­mit­ment to fol­low­ing up on the file of Kuwaiti pris­on­ers and miss­ing per­sons in spite of be­ing fully pre­oc­cu­pied with its on­go­ing war on ter­ror­ism, in ad­di­tion to the cur­rent fi­nan­cial cri­sis.

Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled said Kuwait is a mem­ber of the in­ter­na­tional coali­tion against IS in a sign of sup­port to Iraq’s anti-ter­ror­ism ef­forts, unity and sta­bil­ity. Con­grat­u­lat­ing Iraq on the lib­er­a­tion of ter­ri­to­ries from the con­trol of IS, the Kuwaiti min­is­ter said his coun­try has pro­vided Iraq with hu­man­i­tar­ian aid worth $200 mil­lion, cov­er­ing the hu­man­i­tar­ian needs of Iraqi in­ter­nally dis­placed per­sons, in­clud­ing $18 mil­lion in ur­gent hu­man­i­tar­ian aid. He added that Kuwait had also of­fered $176 mil­lion dur­ing a donors’ con­fer­ence held in Wash­ing­ton on July 20. Sheikh Sabah also hailed the mar­itime nav­i­ga­tion agree­ment signed by both coun­tries in De­cem­ber.

Mean­while, Kuwait is set to be­gin im­port­ing up to 200 mil­lion cu­bic feet of gas daily from Iraq, oil min­is­ters from the two na­tions said af­ter talks yes­ter­day. Iraqi Oil Min­is­ter Jab­bar Al-Luaibi said the project “will see the light very soon”. Kuwaiti Oil Min­is­ter Es­sam Al-Mar­zouk said the quan­ti­ties have been agreed and the start date will be de­ter­mined af­ter tech­ni­cal com­mit­tees fix prices and ship­ping meth­ods. Mar­zouk said an ini­tial 50 mil­lion cu­bic feet daily will rise grad­u­ally to 200 mil­lion cu­bic feet a day.

OPEC mem­ber Kuwait is rich in crude oil but poor in gas re­sources, and has im­ported gas for years dur­ing the sum­mer months to meet de­mand. Luaibi said they also dis­cussed pro­duc­tion from bor­der oil­fields and agreed to form a com­mit­tee and ap­point a con­sul­tant. The Iraqi min­is­ter said with­out elab­o­rat­ing that the two na­tions do not have any dif­fer­ences. Kuwait and Iraq had agreed in Aug 2010 “in prin­ci­ple” on a deal to reg­u­late pro­duc­tion from the fron­tier oil­fields that once caused con­flict be­tween them. But that agree­ment, which called for a uni­fied in­ter­na­tional com­pany to drill for oil on the bor­der, was not fi­nal­ized.

For­mer Iraqi leader Sad­dam Hus­sein’s troops in­vaded and oc­cu­pied Kuwait in Aug 1990 fol­low­ing claims over the bor­der oil­fields. A num­ber of oil­fields lie on the fron­tier, in­clud­ing Iraq’s gi­ant Ru­maila field, which ex­tends into Kuwait, where it is known as Ritqa


BAGH­DAD: Kuwait’s First Deputy Prime Min­is­ter and For­eign Min­is­ter Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Ha­mad AlSabah (left) and Iraqi For­eign Min­is­ter Ibrahim Al-Jaa­fari sign an agree­ment dur­ing the sixth ses­sion of a joint Kuwaiti-Iraqi min­is­te­rial com­mit­tee yes­ter­day.

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