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Kuwait, Iraq have overcome past obstacles: Foreign Minister
December 23, 2015, 8:23 am
First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah at a press conference with Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Jaafari.

Kuwait and Iraq have wiped out obstacles and outstanding files that existed over the past years, said First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah on Tuesday.

Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled made the statement at a press conference with visiting Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Jaafari after the conclusion of the fifth session of the Kuwaiti-Iraqi Joint Ministerial Committee.

Over the past years, the Kuwaiti-Iraqi relations have overcome all obstacles, and the two countries addressed issues that were outstanding over decades, he said, noting that they stand on a solid ground for boosting ties.

The joint committee has positively added to these relations over its five sessions.
Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled said that he and minister Al-Jaafari had met with His Highness the Deputy Amir and Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.

They listened to His Highness the Deputy Amir's wise views on bolstering bilateral ties, pushing them to higher prospects.
He reiterated His Highness the Deputy Amir's bless to efforts that seek to promote cooperation for realizing expectations of people in the wo countries.

He also referred to a similar meeting with His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, who was briefed on the details of the fifth session of the Joint Higher Committee.
Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled said that the two sides held wide scale meetings that reflected convergence of views on all issues, adding that terrorism topped the agenda.
He stressed the two countries' rejection of all forms of terrorism and terrorist crimes that target "friendly and sister countries."

They underlined the necessity of joining efforts to counter the phenomenon, and terrorist groups. The two countries have been hit by terrorist attacks.
In addition, he reiterated Kuwait's unwavering support to Iraq in the face of terrorism, renewing a call to for the Arab community to back the country and help it counter challenges and preserve its sovereignty and safety.

Bilateral relations have seen remarkable progress over the past years, thanks to bilateral meetings that addressed all fields, he said.
As for today's session, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled said it was attended by more than 15 bodies from the two countries, and that they addressed several topics and mechanisms that are likely to consolidate ties.

The session reviewed achievements realized through the past year on all levels, which included opening two Kuwaiti general consulates in Basra and Irbil, in addition to boosting sub trade, and streamlining movement of citizens in both directions.
In 2014, more than 142,000 Iraqis entered Kuwait, while 50,000 Kuwaiti crossed into the opposite direction, the minister said.

Today, the two sides signed four agreements covering inspection and control; youth and sports; and activating interconnection of communications through a fiber optic link.

Thus agreements signed between the two countries hit 49.
Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled hoped that the coming session of the Joint Higher Committee in Baghdad next year would see and end of all the files the two countries have followed over the past years.
In his answer to a question on point 162 that separates the maritime navigation line between the two countries, he said that the current momentum in bilateral relations guarantees removal of all differences.

Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled explained that according to the UN Resolution No. 833 on demarcation of borders between Kuwait and Iraq, the two countries will have to sit together to discuss what is beyond this point. The past period has seen discussions on the proper mechanism to handle the issue.

The two countries have reached understanding on requirements of maritime navigation between both, he said, referring to a detailed MoU to be applied soon.
Meanwhile, the First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister said that the two countries had reached an agreement that Iraq will supply Kuwait with gas.

Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled noted that bilateral trade exchange relatively rose during the past year, by about 22 percent.
Regarding Kuwait's position on an extraordinary Arab ministerial meeting due in Cairo on Thursday to discuss Turkey's recent deployment in Iraq, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled said: "Kuwait's position is so clear and candid, that it supports Iraq's complete sovereignty.

It is based on our foreign policy which stems from UN charters and respect of Arab agreements that state the States' sovereignty." The Arab League had announced that it would hold an extraordinary meeting next Thursday upon request from the Iraqi government on Turkey's military deployment in Iraq.

In response to a question about the GCC call for the Iraqi government to shoulder its responsibility towards the kidnapped Qatari tourists, Jaafari said that his country is doing its best to ensure their safe release.

"We do not condone abduction or harming of any visitor to Iraq," he said.
He categorically denied the involvement of any military or police force in the Qataris' kidnapping operation.
He pointed out that the Iraqi government's efforts in this dossier have led to the release of some of the abductees.

The relevant authorities are forging ahead with its search to identify those who behind the crime and release the remaining abductees.
In meantime, the Iraqi top diplomat described his country's relations with other Arab countries as steadily growing on both the government-to-government and people-to-people levels.

Asked about efforts to strike a balance between national sovereignty and searching for foreign support to fight the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Jaafari said there is no contradiction between maintaining Iraqi sovereignty and asking for foreign help as per international agreements to fight terrorist groups.

He cited as an example the Iraqi government's recent decision to go to the UN Security Council to condemn Turkish forces' unauthorized entrance into Iraqi territories.
"Turkey is a neighboring and friendly country with which we have strong political and social connections, but when it breaches the country's sovereignty, we have to stand up to it," he said.

Source: KUNA

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