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Iraq to Reopen Embassy in Kuwait

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Iraq will within weeks reopen its embassy in Kuwait for the first time since it closed after Saddam Hussein ordered the 1990 invasion of the tiny country, Iraq's foreign minister said Sunday.

Hoshyar Zebari's comments come amid a growing rapprochement between the two states following Saddam's ouster during the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

"We reached the final agreement with the Kuwaiti government to resume our diplomatic activities and we will reopen our embassy within the few coming weeks," Zebari told The Associated Press by telephone from Baghdad.

Zebari didn't specify when the embassy would open or provide further details about the Iraqi-Kuwaiti agreement.

Asked if Kuwait will reopen its embassy in Baghdad in return, Zebari said this issue "is left to the Kuwaiti government itself and its estimation about the situation in Iraq."

Relations between Iraq and Kuwait were broken after the August 1990 invasion, which ended seven months later when a U.S.-led coalition liberated Kuwait in the 1991 Gulf War. After the liberation, Kuwaitis torched the Iraqi Embassy.

But after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam, Iraq and Kuwait reopened their border and both countries have been exerting efforts to normalize ties.

Kuwait has been a major U.S. ally since the Gulf War and was the launch pad for the American-led invasion of Iraq two years ago.

Zebari also told Kuwait's Al-Qabas daily that bilateral ties between Iraq and Kuwait were "as good as can be" and "all the misunderstandings had been permanently removed."

He was referring to riots that erupted in July on the Iraqi-Kuwaiti border to protest a metal fence Kuwait was building, construction of which has temporarily halted. Some Iraqi demonstrators fired several shots into Kuwait but no one was wounded.

"The metal fence Kuwait is building will serve Iraq first, as it would help barring infiltration attempts by intruders who pose danger to both countries," Zebari said in comments published Sunday.

The United Nations redrew the border after the 1991 Gulf War and placed 11 oil wells, some farms and an old naval base once in Iraq on the Kuwaiti side.

(Copyright ©2014 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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