Storm Continues over New Kuwaiti Port

Abdul Muneim al Safi, the head of media relations at the Iraqi ministry of transport's General Company of Iraq Ports, said: "This canal is used by ships coming and going from and into Iraq.

"There is no port in the world that is built in a canal, especially not between two countries that share a maritime border. It will stifle Iraq economically; three other Iraqi ports will be paralysed."

The United Nations Boundary Commission demarcated borders between Iraq and Kuwait after the first Gulf War, with a maritime border running down the middle of the Khawr Abdullah waterway.

Iraq has since complained that the boundary does not give it enough access to the sea.

Jasem Assiri, an engineer in Kuwait's ministry of public works, said construction of the Kuwaiti port will help Iraq's ports because the engineers will deepen channels leading up to the facility that ships going to Iraq will also be able to use.

"This is why we are trying to show them all the drawings, all the plans. Everything we have," Mr Assiri said. "There's nothing that we are hiding, because basically there is nothing to be hidden."

"The whole project is being made in our water, our land," he added.

Mr al Safi said: "It's their right to build in their own territorial waters, but international conventions say that a country must take into account the interests of its neighbours."

Reyadh Faris, an economist at Kuwait University, said he believed Iraq's objection to Kuwait building on Boubyan Island was not economical, but political "because some Iraqis still believe Kuwait is a part of Iraq".

He said Iraqi could benefit from the Mubarak al Kabeer port because Kuwaiti ports generally provide better facilities than those in Iraq.

"I can't understand their concerns," he said of members of Iraq parliament who have attacked Kuwait's plan. I don't know how seriously we should take these threats."

The two countries are reported to also be in dispute over the planned siting of nuclear reactors on the Kuwaiti side of the border.

(Source: The National, Alsumaria TV, Press TV)

 

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