Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Salem al-Sabah said after talks with his Iraqi counterpart Fuad Hussein in Baghdad on Sunday that there was “complete consensus” between the two on “solving the outstanding problems between the two countries, in particular the determination of maritime borders”. Even before the talks, representatives of Iraq had expressed their willingness to recognize the land border between the neighboring countries.
The envisaged agreement between Iraq and Kuwait should now also deal with the sea border in the Persian Gulf. Baghdad insists on unimpeded access to the Gulf, which is central to Iraq’s economy and particularly the country’s oil exports. Due to the unresolved border issue, the Kuwaiti Coast Guard regularly detains Iraqi fishermen and confiscates their ships because, from a Kuwaiti perspective, they are “illegally” entering the country’s sovereign waters.
Further negotiations follow
Talks are now being continued in “various technical committees,” said Iraqi Foreign Minister Hussein. Further negotiations to resolve the border dispute are to take place in Iraq on August 14.
The United Nations had already established de facto borders between Iraq and Kuwait in 1993, both on land and in the Persian Gulf. Three years earlier, in August 1990, Iraq, led by the then ruler Saddam Hussein, had invaded the neighboring country and annexed the country. Seven months later, the annexation ended after intervention by an international military coalition led by the United States.