Kuwait's foreign minister said on Sunday that Iranian President Muhammad Khatami was likely to visit the emirate soon for talks on the issue.

Sheikh Muhammad al-Sabah told the state-run Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) that during his visit to Tehran on Wednesday the two sides "agreed to resolve the continental shelf issue as soon as possible."

"It is highly probable that President Khatami will visit Kuwait very soon" to discuss the issue and several other topics, Sheikh Muhammad said in Indonesia where he attended an Asia-Africa summit.

"This development makes it incumbent on the two sides to intensely work together to be able to resolve the continental shelf issue during the tenure of the Iranian president," which ends in June, he said.

The dispute

The two Gulf neighbours have been engaged in political and technical negotiations to demarcate their maritime border for several years, but with no concrete results.
  
The dispute goes back to the 1960s when Iran and Kuwait each awarded an offshore concession, the first to the former Anglo-Iranian Petroleum Co, which became part of BP, and the latter to Royal Dutch/Shell.
  
The two concessions overlapped in the northern part of the Dorra gas field.

Recoverable gas reserves of Dorra are estimated at some 200 billion cubic metres, with potential daily output of between 17 million and 43 million cubic metres.