Kuwait and Iraq have jointly asked the United Nations to start repairing border markers, delayed for years due to Iraqi objections, a senior Kuwaiti official said yesterday.
Kuwait's permanent representative to the UN Mansoor Al-Oteibi told the official KUNA news agency the request was made in a joint letter by him and his Iraqi counterpart, Hamed Al-Bayati, on Tuesday.
"We requested a meeting with (Undersecretary General for Political Affairs) B. Lynn Pascoe this week to discuss taking the necessary measures to start the maintenance work on the border markers," Oteibi said.
The work will be carried out on the basis of Security Council Resolution 833, adopted in 1993, to demarcate the borders, three years after Iraq's late Saddam Hussein invaded the emirate, he said.
Baghdad had objected to the repairs for the past six years because the new border line passes through Iraqi farms near Umm Qasr and Safwan. Kuwait has made the repairs a precondition for improving ties with Iraq.
The move comes just days after successful meetings in Baghdad of the joint commission headed by the countries' foreign ministers, which concluded with a number of agreements.
It also comes after a landmark visit in March by HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah to Baghdad to attend the Arab summit, the first visit by a Kuwaiti leader in 22 years.
Kuwait Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Sabah was quoted by media as saying yesterday that the two countries signed a deal to regulate navigation in the Khour Abdullah waterway, where Kuwait is building a mega port that Iraq says will strangle its shipping lines.
Oteibi said talks were ongoing with Iraq on the whereabouts of 370 missing Kuwaitis taken prisoners during the 1990-91 occupation, and to return stolen Kuwaiti property, especially state archives. He said Kuwait is assisting Iraq to secure an exit from under Chapter 7 of the UN Security Council imposed after its invasion of the state.
The two countries have not yet resolved other outstanding issues. Iraq is still required to pay $ 16 billion of war reparation to Kuwait on top of $ 25 billion already paid. Baghdad currently pays five percent of its oil and gas revenue into a special United Nations fund that pays the compensation.