Kuwait News Agency - 15 July, 2011
Kuwait is keen on having good-neighborly relations with Iraq and coordinating stances on issues of common concern, Kuwaiti Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammad Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah underscored Thursday.
Upon his departure to Turkey to participate in the fourth meeting of the International Contact Group on Libya, scheduled Friday, Sheikh Dr. Mohammad told reporters that Kuwait does not pay due attention to the hostile remarks made by unofficial and irresponsible Iraqi figures.
"But to our surprise, an Iraqi official had recently made similar hostile remarks against Kuwait," he noted.
A number of Iraqi MPs have recently attacked Kuwait over a number of marine projects on the Kuwaiti side of the Arabian Gulf.
He explained that the Iraqi government was briefed on the projects, which Kuwait intends to set up on the Arabian Gulf and expressed "no reservations." "Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki has visited Kuwait a few months ago accompanied by a large delegation and the projects of Abdullah creek and Mubarak Al-Kabir port on the Arabian Gulf were thoroughly mulled," Sheikh Mohammad said, adding "Iraqi Prime Minister did not voice any concern or reservations about them, especially as we told him that these projects will be useful for Iraq's rebuilding."
"Furthermore, the Joint Kuwaiti-Iraqi Committee met and studied the port project in details and the Iraqi side, which included six ministers, also had no reservations." The Kuwaiti top diplomat described the recent Iraqi statements in this regard as "surprising", wondering about the real reasons behind the sudden attack on Kuwait.
"What happened during the last three months? All of a sudden Kuwait was accused of violating Iraq's sovereignty and stealing Iraqi oil! We understand that there are differences between countries but they can't shed doubts on international resolutions and principles that govern relations between the countries," he said.
Sheikh Dr. Mohammed regretted the emergence of this hostile language, which confiscates countries' right to take their national decisions independently, in post-Saddam Iraq.
"We thought this discourse would vanish with the toppling of the treacherous Saddam Hussein regime. We were hoping this language, which confiscated the rights of peoples and nations to live safely and to exercise their sovereignty on their land would not emerge again," he said.
The Kuwait senior official said his country is keen on having good neighborly relations with Iraq despite of these recent undesired remarks.
"Kuwait and Iraq are neighbors and Iraq will benefit from the port project on the long run," Sheikh Mohammad stressed.
He also expressed surprise from the sudden attack on Kuwait after six months from revealing the project.
Asked about Kuwait's Ambassador who left Baghdad recently, Sheikh Mohammad said Ambassador Ali Al-Moamen and other embassy staff are now on vacation in Kuwait and will return to their jobs after that.
With regard to the next meeting of the Joint Kuwaiti-Iraqi Committee, Sheikh Mohammed hoped to hold meeting with Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari soon to determine the time and agenda of the committee's next meeting.
"We are awaiting Iraq's ratification of the minutes of the committee meeting to move to the next stage soon," he said.
On his participation in the fourth meeting of the International Contact Group on Libya, Sheikh Mohammad reiterated that this participation comes within the framework of Kuwait's support for the Libyan Transitional National Council.
He revealed that Kuwait is offering humanitarian aid to the Libyan people through the interim financial mechanism set by the Group.
Sheikh Mohammad also unveiled that he will meet on the sideline of the meeting, to held in Istanbul with the participation of foreign ministers from 15 counters, with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to discuss a number of important Kuwaiti-related issues.
"Most importantly, the post-US withdrawal from Iraq, the developments in the Middle East and Arab Gulf security on the background of the disturbing Iranian remarks on Bahrain, which were totally renounced by Gulf Cooperation Council member states," he said.
Following Istanbul meeting, Sheikh Mohammad will head to London to attend the meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Centre for Islamic Studies at the University of Oxford, in which the Kuwaiti minister is a member.
"Kuwait has been supporting this center since the era of the late Amir Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah," he said.
Commenting on some Kuwaiti MPs' threats to file an interpellation against him for alleged financial irregularities in some Kuwaiti consulates, Sheikh Mohammad said he has no problem with this move.
"The foreign minister is no different from any other member of the government and when anybody accepts a public post, he-she accepts the entailed responsibility. We welcome any action that helps enforce accountability and transparency principles." He admitted that the ministry has discovered financial irregularities in the Kuwaiti Consulate in Los Angeles.
"But from the first moment of discovering that, the ministry referred the whole issue to public prosecution for investigation," the top diplomat underscored.