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Gulf countries, US call for demarcation of Kuwait-Iraq maritime border

September 20, 2023 at 8:46 am

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken attends breakfast with the foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council on September 18, 2023 in New York [CRAIG RUTTLE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images]

Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and the US today called for the completion of demarcation of Kuwaiti-Iraqi maritime borders, Reuters reports.

A joint statement released after a meeting of GCC Arab foreign ministers, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and GCC Secretary-General Jasem Al-Budaiwi in New York, said they also called on the Iraqi government to “expeditiously resolve the domestic legal status of the 2012 Kuwait-Iraq Agreement to regulate maritime navigation in Khor Abdullah and ensure that the agreement remains in force.”

Tensions have been rising between Kuwait and Iraq after the Iraqi Federal Supreme Court ruled on an agreement regulating navigation in the Khor Abdullah waterway between the two states as unconstitutional. The court said the law that ratified the accord should have been approved by two thirds of parliament.

The agreement, which governs maritime navigation in that waterway, was reached in 2012 and ratified by each of their legislative bodies in 2013.

The GCC-US joint statement also “called on Iraq and the UN to exert maximum efforts to reach a resolution of all the issues involved.”

The land border between the two was demarcated by the United Nations in 1993 after Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, but it did not cover the length of their maritime boundaries, and this was left for the two oil producers to resolve.

Baghdad insists that the delineation should provide it unhindered access to Gulf waters, a lifeline for its economy and oil exports.

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