Kuwait emir in Iraq amid tension over suspected tanker attacks

Kuwait and Iraq call for ‘wisdom’ as Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah’s visits Baghdad for the first time since 2012.

Iraq''s President Barham Salih stands with Kuwait''s ruling emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah during a welcoming ceremony in Baghdad
Iraq's President Barham Salih stands with Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah during a welcoming ceremony in Baghdad [Reuters]

Kuwait and Iraq have called for “wisdom and reason” in dealing with the latest developments in the Gulf region in order to avoid tension and clashes, Kuwait’s news agency (KUNA) has said.

Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah visited the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, on Wednesday to discuss bilateral relations and the latest regional tensions with Iraq’s Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi.

The visit came against a backdrop of soaring tensions between the United States and Iran in the Gulf region, in the wake of Washington’s withdrawal last year from a landmark nuclear deal signed between Tehran and world powers in 2015.

The US has since launched a campaign of “maximum pressure” to isolate the Islamic Republic, reimposing sanctions and increasing its military presence in the region, citing an unspecified Iranian threat.

Tehran has accused the US of “economic terrorism”.

Washington has also alleged that Iran has carried out attacks on tankers in the Gulf of Oman in recent weeks, which Tehran has strongly denied.

First visit since 2012

Wednesday’s visit was only the second by Kuwait‘s ruler to Baghdad since Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990. The previous visit came in 2012 when the Kuwaiti leader attended the 23rd Arab League Summit.

According to Kuwaiti Oil Minister Khaled al-Fadhel, Kuwait plans to sign a deal with Iraq after completing a study concerning the potential production of oilfields shared by the two countries.

“A joint agreement will be signed with the Iraqi party after the Kuwait Oil Company completes a study about the production of the shared oilfields in northern Kuwait,” he said on Wednesday, according to KUNA.

During the talks, Sheikh Sabah stressed the importance of overcoming obstacles relating to the issuance of entry visas and facilitating the movement of goods between the neighbouring countries.

The talks also touched on economic cooperation, mainly in the sectors of gas and trade.

In 1990, Iraq invaded and occupied Kuwait, leading to what became known as the first Gulf War. Relations between the two countries have since improved.

Iraqi President Barham Salih, who received Sheikh Sabah at the al-Salam Palace in Baghdad, said relations between Kuwait and Iraq have made great strides forward thanks to a common desire to “overcome the remnants of the past”.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies