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Wednesday , October 16 2019

Kuwait answers Iraq – Letter to UN

NEW YORK, Sept 5, (KUNA): Kuwait has presented a letter to the UN Security Council in a response to a letter submitted earlier by Iraq to the UN body over Kuwait’s construction of a platform in Fisht Al-Eij, a piece of land located within Kuwait’s territorial water.

The Kuwaiti letter, dated Aug 20, was handed by Kuwait’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Mansour Al- Otaibi to the UNSC president in response to the Iraqi letter, which was addressed to the UNSC president on Aug 7, which was issued as an official UNSC document. Ambassador Al-Otaibi said in statements to KUNA that “the Iraqi letter focused on the maritime area beyond border mark No. 162, or the still undemarcated territorial sea area between the two countries, “Iraq wanted to prove and document its stance that this area is not demarcated,” he noted. Al-Otaibi clarified that these letters are usually not reviewed or deliberated by the UN Security Council. They are meant to document countries stances, he said.

“We must distinguish between the UN-drawn borders and relevant international obligations on both countries on one hand and the territorial sea, which has not been demarcated yet,” he argued. He affirmed that Iraq and Kuwait were committed to the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, in particular Resolution No. 833, which determined land and sea borders. “There is no dispute over land and sea borders up until the border mark No. 162,” he pointed out.

Al-Otaibi reiterated that Iraq abides by the UN Security Council resolutions and the UN-drawn border lines with Kuwait. The demarcation of the joint maritime border beyond the 162 mark is a purely bilateral issue and has nothing to do with Iraq’s international obligations, to which it is fully committed, he said.

On another issue, the Kuwaiti envoy expressed hope that Iraq would complete payment of compensations of the occupation of Kuwait in coming two years. “Iraq is also committed to implement its other obligations relating to knowing the fate of prisoners of war and missing persons and returning Kuwaiti property,” he said.

Al-Otaibi stressed that there is progress and cooperation between Kuwait and Iraq for accelerating the implementation of these obligations, which are stipulated by UN Security Council resolutions. He pointed out that the issue of Fisht Al-Eij platform was raised during bilateral talks and there is correspondence between the two countries over it.

Kuwait called on Iraq more than once to start negotiations to settle this issue due to its importance for both sides, as settling it would help build mutual confidence and strengthen bilateral relations, he underlined. According to the letter, submitted by Al-Otiabi, Kuwait confirmed that its territorial waters have been determined by a decree issued on Dec 17, 1967, on the breadth of the territorial sea, which was updated by decree No. 317 of Oct 29, 2014 on Kuwait’s marine areas as per Article 15 of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

It indicated that Fisht Al-Eij is an area of land formed naturally above the surface of water in the lowlying islands which are located in Kuwait’s territorial waters, thus the construction of the platform was a solely Kuwaiti sovereign decision and part of Kuwait’s practicing of its sovereignty over its territorial land and sea.

It stated that the platform was established and installed in Fisht Al-Eij to ensure safety of maritime navigation in Khor Abdullah estuary and to provide support to the Shuwaikh Port Tower in light of the expected increase in the number of private vessels due to the absence of visible means to monitor and follow-up ships movement in Khor Abdullah.

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