Kuwait’s emir makes flying visit to Baghdad to strengthen bilateral ties

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Iraqi President Barham Saleh, right, welcomed Emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah for the first official visit since 2012. (AFP)
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Iraq’s President Barham Salih stands with Kuwait’s ruling emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah during a welcoming ceremony in Baghdad, Iraq, June 19, 2019. (Reuters/The Presidency of the Republic of Iraq Office)
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President Braham Saleh (R) welcoming Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah in Baghdad on June 19, 2019. (AFP/Iraqi Presidency Media Office)
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Iraq’s President Barham Salih and Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi meet with Kuwait’s ruling emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah in Baghdad, Iraq, June 19, 2019. (Reuters/The Presidency of the Republic of Iraq Office)
Updated 20 June 2019

Kuwait’s emir makes flying visit to Baghdad to strengthen bilateral ties

  • The two countries previously agreed to demarcate their land and sea borders

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.


Algerian court jails protesters over election

Updated 19 November 2019

Algerian court jails protesters over election

ALGIERS: An Algerian court has jailed four protesters for 18 months for disrupting a candidate’s campaign for the Dec. 12 presidential election which is opposed by a mass protest movement.
The court sentenced the four on Monday after protests on Sunday in the western city of Tlemcen, where one of the five candidates, Ali Benflis, was campaigning. No details were available on what their exact actions were.
Algeria’s authorities are trying to quell a protest movement that erupted in February to demand the departure of the country’s ruling hierarchy, an end to corruption and the army’s withdrawal from politics.
The army, which has emerged as the most powerful institution in the country, has pushed for next month’s election as a means to end the protests and restore normality. The former president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, quit in April.
The judgment comes a week after a series of other prison sentences were handed down to protesters who had raised flags with Berber symbols during earlier demonstrations.
Several opposition leaders have also been held during the protests, and charged with contributing to damaging army morale.
However, the authorities have also detained numerous current and former senior officials on corruption charges, and have jailed some of them including the once untouchable former intelligence chief.
The protesters have rejected any presidential election carried out now, saying the continued presence of Bouteflika allies in the upper echelons of the government mean it cannot be free or fair.
Human Rights Watch said last week that the arrest of scores of protesters looked like “part of a pattern of trying to weaken opposition to Algeria’s interim rulers and their determination to hold presidential elections.”