BAGHDAD: Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, the emir of Kuwait, visited the Iraqi capital Baghdad on Wednesday for a brief official visit. Iraqi officials said it was organized to strengthen bilateral relations, discuss the implementation of recent agreements between the countries, and find ways to deal with latest developments related to the US-Iranian tensions that have affected the region.
The emir, who was accompanied by a governmental delegation, was welcomed by Iraqi President Barham Salih. During a six-hour visit, he also met Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi and Parliament Speaker Mohammed Al-Halbousi. It was only his second trip to Iraq after he attended an Arab summit hosted by Baghdad in 2012. Relations between the nations broke down after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1991. They resumed after the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq and have continued to improve and develop in recent years.
“The visit is an extension of previous visits (between Iraqi and Kuwaiti officials) and focused on activating previous agreements between the two countries, maintaining current relations and strengthening them, and discussing the debt and related issues of the previous phase (before 2003),” said an Iraqi official.
“They also discussed the current challenges facing Iraq in the region as a result of the Iranian-American tensions and the mechanisms to overcome it and to create a common area of understanding to deal with both sides of the conflict.”
The two countries previously agreed to demarcate their land and sea borders, and continue to follow UN Security Council sanctions on Iraq as a result of the 1990 invasion. Mechanisms for managing joint oil wells on the border, security cooperation and increasing trade between themselves and other nations were agreed by the two sides.
Mohammed Al-Gizai, the general secretary of the Iraqi Cabinet, told Kuwaiti state news agency Kuna that Wednesday’s discussions were focused on resolving outstanding issues between the two countries “based on what was agreed upon in the 2018 and 2019 talks (between Baghdad and Kuwait), especially in the fields of bilateral trade, economy, development of border ports and energy.”
The ongoing crisis between US and Iran, which has repercussions for the two countries, was also discussed but Iraqi officials said that the emir has no comment to make on this issue and no initiatives related to it had been agreed.