UN ready to assist Kuwait, Iraq normalize relations - official
Politics 12/6/2011 9:22:00 PM

UNITED NATIONS, Dec 6 (KUNA) -- A UN official on Tuesday offered to help normalize Iraq's relations with Kuwait, "with the support of the Security Council," while an Iraqi official affirmed that his government is committed to solving all unresolved issues with Kuwait which are a "top priority" for his Government.
UN Special representative for Iraq Martin Kobler told the Security Council in an open meeting that the "UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) and myself, personally, stand ready to assist, including by exploring new avenues to address the stand still between the two countries and facilitate progress towards Iraq's full compliance with, and eventual exit from, Chapter VII, while providing Kuwait with the necessary safeguards and assurances it is looking for".
Kobler, who was recently appointed to replace Ed Melkert, indicated that both countries share a "difficult past," and although the Secretary-General's report of 2009 envisaged a roadmap for the normalization of Iraq's international status, "there has been, however, little progress".
He added that he has encouraged the Iraqi government to "quickly implement Iraq's outstanding Chapter VII obligations, as outlined in the roadmap, in order to open the door for the early normalization of Iraq's status in the international community by the Security Council which is "now long overdue".
"Further efforts are therefore needed to promote confidence between the two countries and facilitate solutions to address outstanding bilateral issues. I am encouraged by the resolve that both Iraq and Kuwait have demonstrated to improving bilateral relations," he noted.
He expressed hope that following the forthcoming visit of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki to Kuwait, which was scheduled for this month and now postponed because of the resignation of his Kuwaiti counterpart, "the two sides will be able to resume the work of the joint Ministerial Working Committee in the near future".
He noted that although both countries attach a great deal of importance to a letter by Al-Maliki in which he reaffirmed Iraq's land and maritime borders, in accordance with Council resolution 833 of 1993, "they responded positively to my suggestion that the focus for the time being should be on the implementation of Iraq's Chapter VII obligations on a priority basis e.g. border (signs) maintenance, compensation and relocation of farmers".
He said he requested the Iraqi Government to "seriously consider implementing border-related issues and offered to make the resumption of good neighborliness between Iraq and Kuwait on the Mission's priority".
Iraqi Ambassador to the UN Hamid Al-Bayati told the Council "we would like to affirm that Iraq is committed to solving all unresolved issues with our neighbour Kuwait".
He said these unresolved issues are "a top priority for Iraq," and affirmed that the relationship between Iraq and Kuwait is "developing positively".
Regarding Kuwait's Mubarak Al-Kabeer Port, Al-Bayati said "we assert that we are dealing with the issue of the port through official channels and collaboration with Kuwaiti side". (more) sj KUNA 062122 Dec 11NNNN