Gulf states on Tuesday expressed support for a Kuwaiti port project disputed by Iraq and urged Baghdad to step up its efforts to normalize ties with its neighbor, 10 years after the Gulf War.
Rulers of the Gulf Cooperation Council “support Kuwait concerning the Mubarak al-Kabir port since it will be built on Kuwaiti land and within its territorial waters,” they said in a statement.
Baghdad claims the seaport, once completed, would strangle its shipping lanes in the narrow Khor Abdullah waterway that serves as its entrance to the Gulf, through which the vast majority of its oil exports flow.
Kuwait insisting the port will not affect Iraq.
Khor Abdullah is a narrow waterway that separates Iraqi and Kuwaiti shores off Bubiyan Island where the megaport is being built, and leads to Iraq's Umm Qasr port and other smaller ports.
Ending an annual summit in Riyadh, GCC rulers also urged Iraq to “implement its international commitments towards Kuwait” in a bid to “enhance trust between the two countries and strengthen their relations.”
Last week the U.N. Security Council called on Iraq to step up efforts to normalize ties with neighboring Kuwait, still recovering from the Saddam Hussein-era invasion.
U.N. envoys are looking for greater progress in helping pin down the fate of Kuwaitis and other foreigners missing since the 1990 war. Property and most of the Kuwaiti national archives also remain missing.
The two neighbors have not settled their border and Iraq still has to pay almost $20 billion in war damages.
The Gulf is the main export outlet for Iraqi oil, which accounts for the lion's share of the country's revenues, and Baghdad has started major work to modernize its outdated ports and plans to build a new port of its own.
The GCC also called on all parties in Iraq “to build a safe, united, stable, and prosperous Iraq” following the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country.