KUWAIT, 7 August 2005 — Kuwait has temporarily halted building a security barrier along its border with Iraq after protests by Iraqis that the barrier was damaging their property, a security official said yesterday.
“Work on the security barrier has stopped for the time being until the problem between the two countries is solved,” the official said, adding the construction had affected an Iraqi water well and some farmland.
A delegation of Iraqi government officials is visiting Kuwait to inspect the shared border and hold talks with their counterparts after scuffles last month between Kuwaiti border guards and hundreds of Iraqis protesting the steel barrier.
Sheikh Khalid Al-Attiya, personal representative for Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Al-Jaafari, said one Iraqi water well had fallen a few meters within Kuwaiti land and hoped the issue would be solved “diplomatically”, the state’s KUNA agency said.
Al-Attiya said Kuwait had every right to build the barrier, adding he hoped Kuwait would compensate Iraqis affected by it. “It seems that there is some transgression, as there is an Iraqi water well which falls a few meters inside Kuwaiti land. In my view, this is only a small problem,” KUNA quoted Al-Attiya as saying.
Kuwait started building the metal barrier several months ago to replace a sand barrier that was constructed to keep Iraqis from illegally entering the Gulf Arab state.
The barrier, about one meter (three feet) high, is expected to be completed by the end of the year. The border is also protected with a metal fence and a ditch.