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Kuwait applauds Iraqi statements on port

KUWAIT: Kuwaiti diplomats acknowledged recent remarks by Iraq Parliament foreign relations committee member, Sami Al-Askari, in which he reasserted Kuwait’s right to construct Mubarak Al-Kabeer Port at its present location. His statements are based on an Iraq parliament investigative report, which resolves that the Kuwaiti mega port will not leave any negative effect on naval mobility in Iraq’s territorial waters.

“The recent statements further prove that Kuwait always assured that Mubarak Al-Kabeer port is in line with international regulations,” said a diplomat speaking on condition of anonymity. He added that the recent Iraqi statements “are indications of Baghdad’s seriousness about solving all pending issues between the two countries”. They are set to be central to the anticipated visit to Kuwait of Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri Al-Maliki, on March 14.

Al-Askari, who is close to Al-Maliki, told Iraq’s Soumariya News Agency on Tuesday that “Iraq does not have the authority to determine the location for the (Mubarak Al-Kabeer port) project, since it is located within Kuwait’s sovereign territories and does not affect movement at Iraq’s port”. -Al-Qabas
These developments come as an Iraqi lawmaker demanded that the Mubarak Al-Kabeer port and other persisting issues between Kuwait and Iraq “should be placed for discussion by the Iraqi government during the Arab Summit” set for late March in Baghdad.

“This step helps to obtain general Arab opinions en route to finding the best solutions as per international regulations”, said MP Aliya Nassif of the White Iraqiya Party. It holds less than ten seats in the 325-member Iraqi Parliament. She argued that discussing the port issue during the Arab Summit “helps Iraq garner Arab support in its conflict with Kuwait, especially when Arab leaders are only aware of misleading information about the port provided by Kuwaiti officials”.

Nassif argues that the Mubarak Al-Kabeer Port which Kuwait is building east of Boubyan Island will hinder movements on Iraq’s side of the narrow strip of water that the two countries share. Al-Askari fended off the allegations in his recent statement. Iraqi navy specialists have previously speculated that the Kuwaiti port will “suffocate” Iraq’s narrow outlet on the Arabian Gulf, arguing that it will obstruct mobility to Iraq’s Um Qasr Port. – Al-Qabas, Al-Rai