Iraq PM to visit Kuwait to improve ties before Arab summit



BAGHDAD- Iraqi premier Nuri al-Maliki will visit Kuwait ahead of a late-March Arab summit to try to improve ties still strained by Iraq's 1990 invasion of the emirate, a statement released on Tuesday said.
The Kuwaiti ambassador to Baghdad "Ali al-Mumin on Tuesday renewed an invitation for the prime minister to visit Kuwait soon," the statement on the website of the premier's office said.



"The two parties agreed that the visit would take place before the upcoming Arab summit is held in Baghdad," on March 29, it said.
According to the statement, Maliki called for entering a new era of "trust and mutual respect" in relations between the two countries.
But there are a number of issues that remain to be resolved between the two countries.
Iraq currently pays five percent of its oil and gas revenue into a special United Nations fund for war reparations for its seven-month occupation of the emirate.
Since the 2003 overthrow of Saddam Hussein, Iraqi authorities have repeatedly asked for relief from debts and compensation requirements inherited from the former regime.
There is also the issue of the Mubarak al-Kabir port project, which was begun in 2007.
Baghdad says that once completed, it would strangle its shipping lanes in the narrow Khor Abdullah waterway that serves as its entrance to the Gulf, through which the vast majority of its oil exports flow.
In December, the the UN Security Council called on Iraq to step up efforts to normalize ties with Kuwait.
UN envoys are looking for greater progress in helping pin down the fate of Kuwaitis and other foreigners missing since the 1990 war. Property and most of the Kuwaiti national archives also remain missing.
And there are still outstanding border issues between the two countries.
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Wednesday, February 15th 2012
AFP
           


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