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Iraq to UN: Kuwait is altering our maritime borders

Iraqi flag [file photo]
Iraqi flag [File photo]

Iraq complained in an official letter to the UN Security Council about the State of Kuwait, accusing it of pursuing a policy of imposing geographical changes in the maritime borders between the two countries.

According to the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Rai, the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Iraq to the United Nations Ambassador Mohammed Hussein Bahr Al-Uloom handed over an official letter to the President of the Security Council on August 7, demanding that it be circulated and issued as an official document by the Council. The newspaper also stated that Bahr Al-Uloom met with several representatives of countries to explain his country’s position.

The Iraqi government asked the United Nations to document its official complaint that “the Kuwaiti government’s carrying out of geographical changes in the maritime area after the 162 mark in Khawr Abd Allah by shoring a shallow area (Fasht Al-Aij) and unilaterally establishing a port facility there, without Iraq’s knowledge and approval.”

The Iraqi government considered that this has no legal basis in the joint plan to regulate maritime navigation in Khawr Abd Allah, pointing out that the demarcation of the borders by one party in areas not agreed upon by both parties, as stipulated by Amiri Decree 317 of 2014 regarding the delimitation of Kuwaiti maritime regions, is a void act under the provisions of the international law.

The Iraqi government noted in its letter to the Security Council that “Kuwait’s continuing imposition of the fait accompli policy by creating a new situation that changes the geography of the region will not contribute to supporting the two countries’ efforts to reach a final demarcation of their maritime borders. It is also an imposition of a physical reality that should not be taken into account when demarcating the borders between the two countries.”

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The Iraqi complaint against Kuwait at the United Nations and the latter’s accusation of trying to change the maritime borders has provoked angry reactions in Kuwait, expressing their discontent, and demanding the government to have “practical responses.”

A Kuwaiti official, who asked not to be named, was surprised by Iraq’s complaint to the Security Council at a time when bilateral relations are witnessing a solid bond that is pushing them forward, and have been recently culminated in mutual visits of high-level officials between both countries. The Kuwaiti official indicated at the same time that border conflicts are usually discussed on a bilateral level between countries through joint committees and other bodies. Also, the demarcation of the Kuwaiti-Iraqi borders came per Resolution 833 of the Security Council in 1993.

The Kuwaiti official added that “the matter of the maritime area and its markings and demarcation has been brought up in all bilateral meetings with the Iraqi side, which has always preferred not to engage in technical and legal aspects, taking dialogue to political tracks such as saying that the Iraqi government does not want any measures that might raise the anger of the Iraqi parliament and the Iraqi public.” The Kuwaiti official wished that Iraq did not circulate the letter of its delegate as an official document by the Security Council, stressing that “Fasht Al-Aij facility is located within Kuwaiti territorial sea, and this is documented historically and legally.”

On the other hand, Kuwaiti MP Osama Al-Shaheen, said that “the complaint of the Government of Iraq against Kuwait is a provocative behaviour that is not surprising from the Northern neighbouring country,” adding: “I call on the government to make practical and objective responses, and to take full security and diplomatic precautions.”

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International OrganisationsKuwaitMiddle EastNewsUN
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