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Iraq and Kuwait seek to solve contested border issue

BAGHDAD: Iraq and Kuwait will work towards reaching a definitive agreement on demarcating their borders, including a contested maritime area of the Gulf, their foreign ministers said on Sunday.

The de facto land and maritime borders between the neighbouring states were established by the United Nations in 1993, three years after Iraq under Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait.

While Iraqi officials have previously expressed a readiness to recognize Kuwait´s land border, the maritime border remains a point of contention.

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

Because of the long-standing dispute, Kuwaiti coastguards regularly detain Iraqi fishermen and seize their vessels for entering Kuwaiti territorial waters “illegally”.

After meeting his Kuwaiti counterpart Salem Al-Sabah in Baghdad on Sunday, Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein said that during their talks “the emphasis was placed on resolving the border issues”. He told reporters the border talks would “continue through various technical committees”.

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