A few dozen Iraqis protested on Wednesday against Kuwaiti plans for a new port near Umm Qasr, Iraq’s only deep-water port.
AKnews reports that public committees from Basra organized the protests to show public opposition against the Kuwaiti Mubarak port across the border.
“Everyone knows that Kuwait does not need this port since it has a sufficient number of ports”, organizer Abd al-Lazem al-Tai said. He speculated that the current business conflict between the two countries is rooted in the historical disputes over oil wells in Safwan and South Rumaila.
Mr Tai also criticized the Iraqi government for high taxes that would diminish Umm Qasr’s competitive position.
Today’s demonstrations were attended by fewer citizens than expected. Public committees in Basra had announced on Sunday they would assemble more than a thousand citizens in front of Umm Qasr.
Last week, the Kuwaitis laid the foundation stone for the construction of Mubarak port, just over the border from the site of a new Iraqi ‘Grand Faw’ port currently in construction, and close to Umm Qasr.
According to economists, Iraq’s main port will lose 60 per cent of its business if Kuwait goes ahead with its plans.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki ordered the formation of an emergency committee to travel to Kuwait immediately to tackle the dispute between the two countries.
(Sources: AKnews, Zawya)