Getting Along With Your Neighbours

Iraq’s improved relations with its neighbours have been particularly evident in recent times.

Following Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s two-day visit to Kuwait in March, Iraq agreed to go ahead with the Iraq-Kuwait Boundary Maintenance Project, and to transfer its share of funds allocated for the completion of this project to the UN.

The two governments also agreed during the visit to hold a second high-level meeting later this month to review all pending issues between the two countries, including Iraq’s outstanding obligations under Chapter VII.

The relationship was no doubt helped by the attendance of the Emir of Kuwait, His Highness Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah, at the Arab League Summit in Baghdad, an event described by UN Special Representative Martin Kobler as marking “Iraq’s re-emergence as a major actor in the region“.

Meanwhile, its relations with Saudi Arabia also continue to improve, with Riyadh’s appointment of an envoy to Iraq, and discussions on the opening of the Ar Ar border post between the two countries.

With external relations strenthening, it is all the more disappointing that internal relations within the country are deteriorating. Tensions between the political blocks are impeding progress, while the stand-off between the Kurdistan Region and the Baghdad government causes much uncertainty.

All parties need to apply the same level of commitment to resolving these problems as they have to bolstering international relations, for the sake of their common futures.

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