Maliki in Kuwait: Iraq seeks to settle suspended issues
BAGHDAD - Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki heads Wednesday to Kuwait in a bid to boost ties still strained by Saddam Hussein's 1990 invasion of the emirate, in the run-up to an Arab summit later this month.
Maliki will be accompanied on the two-day visit by Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, Finance Minister Rafa al-Essawi, Transport Minister Hadi al-Ameri and Human Rights Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, the premier's spokesman Ali al-Mussawi said on Tuesday.
"They will be accompanied by a technical committee that will discuss suspended issues between the two countries," Mussawi said, noting that among the topics to be broached are Iraq's payments of five percent of is oil and gas revenue as war reparations to Kuwait.
Maliki's visit to Kuwait comes just weeks before an Arab League summit is due to be held in Baghdad on March 29.
Along with the reparations, the two sides have a bevy of outstanding issues that remain unresolved.
Among them is the Mubarak al-Kabir port project, which was begun by Kuwait in 2007.
Baghdad says that once completed, it would strangle its shipping lanes in the narrow Khor Abdullah waterway that serves as its entrance to the Gulf, through which the vast majority of its oil exports flow.
UN envoys are also looking for greater progress in helping pin down the fate of Kuwaitis and other foreigners missing since the 1990 war. Property and most of the Kuwaiti national archives also remain missing.
And there are still outstanding border issues between the two countries.