‘New accord’ on navigation - Kuwait, Iraq agree
BAGHDAD, April 30, (KUNA): Iraqi and Kuwaiti officials, following marathon talks, signed on Monday minutes of the meeting of the higher Iraqi-Kuwaiti commission and two accords, one stipulating formation of a cooperation committee and the other regulating navigation through Abdullah waterway.
The two agreements were signed by Kuwait’s Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Hamad Al-Sabah and Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari.
Talks between the two sides, held within framework of the supreme joint commission and sub-committees, had lasted for 12 hours.
Zebari said, at a news conference with his Kuwaiti counterpart, that meetings of the second session of the common committee were crowned with record success and progress on various genuine and major issues concerning the two sides.
All such subjects were extensively pondered. He added that the signed minutes stipulated issues, linked with international obligations, in addition to various other topics that require cooperation at the political, economic and commercial levels.
Zebari pointed to an agreement for regulation of the higher commission, and another accord regarding navigation through Abdullah water passageway, according to international resolutions that organize such marine movement. He also noted that HH the Prime Minister of Kuwait and other Kuwaiti officials would visit Iraq, ahead of the year-end, to follow up on these issues and several memoranda.
Turning to the minutes, Zebari said it addressed double-taxation, encouraging investments, commercial and technical cooperation. On the Kuwaiti Mubarak Port, Zebari said the Kuwaiti side assured the Iraqi officials that this mega venture would not affect navigation in the region. “We have agreed on a number of protocols and cooperation in various sectors, and these protocols will be signed during the upcoming visit of the Kuwaiti prime minister to Baghdad in the last quarter of this year,” he said.
The two sides discussed the issue of the war compensations, extensively, he said, adding that they agreed on holding the third round of the commission in Kuwait in March next year.
Elaborating, Zebari affirmed that Iraq would not pose a threat to other countries in the region. “Iraq’s power won’t be a threat to anyone, but it will be might for goodness and not evil,” he added.
The Kuwaiti foreign minister said the two sides worked diligently to hammer out the agreements. “What has been achieved constitutes crowning of the visit of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah to Baghdad and the visit of the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki to Kuwait as well as the joint desire of the two sides for establishing best possible relations for service of interests of the two brotherly peoples,” Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid said.
On the port venture, the minister re-affirmed that Kuwait would ensure that such ventures would not harm neighboring countries.
The joint commission, formed early last year, held its first meeting in Kuwait in March of 2011.
Senior Kuwaiti and Iraqi officials took part in the meetings in the Iraqi capital.
Meanwhile, Iraq affirmed keenness on boosting economic and trade cooperation with Kuwait and its bid to remove hurdles facing Kuwaiti entrepreneurs seeking to launch businesses in the country.
Iraq and Kuwait, in case they succeeded in unifying efforts in the economic and commercial sectors, could turn into a major economic power in the north of the Gulf, said Dr. Sami Al-A’araji, the head of the National Investment Authority, during a meeting with a visiting delegation of eminent Kuwaiti journalists and media figures.
Moreover, he re-affirmed Iraq’s keenness on establishing economic partnership with Kuwait and opening doors for the entrepreneurs to invest in Iraq, in both the private and public sectors.
Al-A’araji indicated at various investment opportunities in Iraq, particularly in the sectors of oil, gas, industries, agriculture, housing, health, education, transport, power and tourism.
Shedding further light on the domestic investment front, he noted that Iraq was examining a series of bills intended to lure investment, and other draft laws for protecting the national product, regulating custom fees, trade, competition, monopolization and protection of the consumer.
The Ministry of Oil has declared investment opportunities in the refineries of Al-Nasrieh, Kirkuk, Al-Amara and Kerbalaa, said the head of the investment authority, noting that the total output of oil from these refineries amount to 740,000 barrels per day. He added that interested investors could take part in such ventures on basis of partnership or the BOT system.
Iraq also re-affirmed its sincere intention to open a new chapter in ties with Kuwait and tackling controversial issues to pave way for “excellent relations.” Vice President Khudair Al-Khezaee, speaking during a meeting with a visiting Kuwaiti delegation of media personnel, said Baghdad was serious in its bids to close all the “pending files” for such an approach would ultimately serve interests of the two brotherly countries.
“Iraq is serious in the efforts to fold the files of the bitter past; you tasted such bitterness in Kuwait for seven months and we tasted it for 30 years, thus we both drank cups of trauma and deprivation,” the vice president said, alluding to the 1990-1991 occupation of Kuwait by troops of the executed dictator Saddam Hussein and his repressive rule of his nation that had lasted for 30 years.
Stupidity of a politician or arrogance of a tyrant should not constitute a hurdle in face of boosting these relations, he indicated, noting that the Iraqis and Kuwaitis had long been bound with strong bonds, such as family affiliations.
The Iraqi people should not be blamed for the atrocities and aggression, carried out by that regime, he said, noting that Iraqi people harbor sentiments of compassion and love for the Kuwaitis.
Many of the Iraqi soldiers who took part in the invasion of Kuwait were coerced to take part in the aggression, he said, noting that many of them performed prayers at home after ending their mission in Kuwait, aware of a religious Fatwa (edict) that prayers in usurped lands are not accepted by the heavens.
“The Iraqi leadership at the time should be solely held responsible for the great sins. What had happened was grave crime of historic magnitude, for it cost heavy losses in blood and souls,” he added.