Kuwait Airways resumes Iraq flights

Updated 21 November 2013
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Kuwait Airways resumes Iraq flights

BAGHDAD: A scheduled Kuwait Airways flight landed in Iraq late on Wednesday for the first time since the 1990 Iraqi invasion, in the latest sign of improved ties between the neighbors.
Kuwait's national airline flew 100 passengers to Najaf, 160 km (100 miles) south of Baghdad, the director of Najaf's airport told state news agency KUNA.
KUNA said Kuwait Airways planned to fly twice a week to Najaf, which is more secure than the capital Baghdad, where bombings are an almost daily occurrence.
Diplomatic relations between Kuwait and Iraq improved last year after a settlement over debts from the era of the 1991 Gulf War, in which a US-led coalition forced Iraqi troops out of Kuwait.
Ties have also been bolstered by a series of bilateral visits involving Kuwait's ruler and Iraq's prime minister.
Iraq's state airline resumed flights between Baghdad and Kuwait in February for the first time since the invasion. But most major carriers that ply the route still do so through other cities such as Dubai, even though the Iraqi and Kuwaiti capitals lie just 560 km (346 miles) apart.
In December, Kuwait Airways dropped legal cases against Iraqi Airways in return for compensation of $500 million.
The legal row was part of a broader dispute over billions of dollars in reparations dating back to the invasion, when the forces of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein seized aircraft and parts.


US poised to end waivers for 5 countries importing Iranian oil

Updated 22 April 2019
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US poised to end waivers for 5 countries importing Iranian oil

  • Japan, South Korea, Turkey, China and India were exempted from sanctions until May 2
  • Since November, Italy, Greece and Taiwan have stopped importing oil from Iran

WASHINGTON: The Trump administration is poised to tell five nations, including allies Japan, South Korea and Turkey, that they will no longer be exempt from US sanctions if they continue to import oil from Iran, officials said Sunday.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo plans to announce on Monday that the administration will not renew sanctions waivers for the five countries when they expire on May 2, three US officials said. The others are China and India.
It was not immediately clear if any of the five would be given additional time to wind down their purchases or if they would be subject to US sanctions on May 3 if they do not immediately halt imports of Iranian oil.
The officials were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of Pompeo’s announcement.
The decision not to extend the waivers, which was first reported by The Washington Post, was finalized on Friday by President Donald Trump, according to the officials. They said it is intended to further ramp up pressure on Iran by strangling the revenue it gets from oil exports.
The administration granted eight oil sanctions waivers when it re-imposed sanctions on Iran after Trump pulled the US out of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal. They were granted in part to give those countries more time to find alternate energy sources but also to prevent a shock to global oil markets from the sudden removal of Iranian crude.
US officials now say they do not expect any significant reduction in the supply of oil given production increases by other countries, including the US itself and Saudi Arabia.
Since November, three of the eight — Italy, Greece and Taiwan — have stopped importing oil from Iran. The other five, however, have not, and have lobbied for their waivers to be extended.
NATO ally Turkey has made perhaps the most public case for an extension, with senior officials telling their US counterparts that Iranian oil is critical to meeting their country’s energy needs. They have also made the case that as a neighbor of Iran, Turkey cannot be expected to completely close its economy to Iranian goods.