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‘Process of maintaining Kuwait, Iraq borders may last 8 months’

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‘Process of maintaining Kuwait, Iraq borders may last 8 months’

Date for joint meeting yet to be decided: Al-Jarallah

UNITED NATIONS, May 5, (Agencies): Kuwait’s permanent delegate at the United Nations Ambassador Man-sour Iyad Al-Otaibi said planned process of maintaining border marks between Kuwait and Iraq might finish in approximately eight months.

However, the UN believes that accomplishing this project before end of October will not be an easy task, said the senior diplomat in remarks to KUNA, as he emerged from a meeting that grouped him with his Iraqi counterpart, Hamed Al-Bayati, UN Under-secretary-General for Political Affairs Lynn Pascoe.
He praised atmosphere of the meeting, and indicated at “readiness on part of Kuwait and Iraq to urge the United Nations to start implementing the plan.” But he also hinted that the mission would not be executed in an easy manner, due to some “administrative and practical procedures” to be taken on the ground, as well as weather conditions.

Terrain along the borders is generally arid and these areas often witness dusty storms that alter features of the landscape and result in ebbing visibility.

Elaborating, Al-Otaibi noted that the Kuwaiti and Iraqi officials, during the meeting, were informed in detail about “the maintenance project” from the special UN team, with participation of officials from the UN departments of political affairs, maps and security affairs.

Matters related to the project were discussed, he said, indicating that these issues would be pondered further, ahead of start of executing the project.

UN officials believe that the project of maintaining the border marks would warrant eight months to be finalized, indicating that a tender will be publicized to choose a contractor.

Citing conditions put forward by the UN to embark on the operation, ambassador Al-Otaibi mentioned removal of border marks that obstruct visibility, “a term considered basic on part of the UN officials.” Moreover, the process will require a preliminary survey of the terrain, by a UN team to inspect condition of the existing border marks.
Latest such examination process was conducted by the UN in 2006.

Ambassador Al-Otaibi also noted that the UN foresaw possible hike of expenses of the process, thus the
relevant budget might be increased.

For his part, Al-Bayati dubbed the meeting, in remarks to KUNA, as historic, for it was the first time that the Kuwaiti and Iraqi ambassadors sat together with UN officials to follow up on the issue of what he termed as “renovating the border marks.” For his part, Pascoe told KUNA following the session that the UN and the Secretary-General in particular “has been keenly interested in the subject of improvement of Kuwait-Iraq relations.” “We are delighted to see that the ministerial meeting has gone well between the two sides last week. We are very glad to see the process moving forward and we will do everything we can to make sure it is fast,” he told KUNA.

He also expressed satisfaction that the two sides have “decided to move forward and resolve the issues involving the border, the Chapter 7 issues,” but conceded that “this is something that cannot be done immediately. It will require considerable amount of work. The UN’s role is to do what we can to help facilitate and to help the two countries in order to resolve these outstanding issues.” Meanwhile, Unders-ecretary of the Foreign Ministry Khalid Al-Jarallah says the date for the joint meeting for Kuwait, Iraq and United Nations to discuss about the border demarcation between Kuwait and Iraq, is yet to be decided, reports Al-Mustaqbal daily.
Al-Jarallah said HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Jabar Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah is expected to visit Iraq’s capital by the end of this year to decide on this matter.
He added that both Iraq and Kuwait are willing to allow the United Nations to play a legal role for the border demarcation in accordance with UN Security Council resolution 833, which is concerned with the border demarcation between the two countries.
He also pointed out that implementation of the Security Council resolution 833 will help in removing Iraq from Chapter seven of the UN Security Council resolution and will create a suitable platform for building trust and consolidating the bilateral relationship between the two countries, thereby benefitting both nations.

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