Time ripe for cementing Kuwait-Iraq relations

KUWAIT: In a first of its sorts, the Kuwait Journalists Association (KJA) on Tuesday hosted a conference along with a delegation of the Iraqi media in an event that was the highest level of media interaction between the two countries since the turbulent events of 1990. The Iraqi media delegation’s members, for most of whom it was their first visit to Kuwait, expressed their happiness at the event held on the KJA’s premises and said they were pleased with the warm welcome they received in Kuwait.

During the visit, the delegation met with His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al- Sabah, HH the Crown Prince, HH the Prime Minister, and other officials and also visited some press and media institutions, as well as public organizations in Kuwait. They also visited some of the diwaniyas. The delegation discussed many issues important to both the countries. Muayad Al-Lami, head of the delegation, said that the relations between the two countries had their ups and downs, but have now stabilized. “During our past visits, we agreed on many issues, but none could be carried to completion due to the gap between Kuwait and Iraq.

The Kuwaitis still suffer from the pain caused by one person (Saddam Hussein), who, in fact, destroyed the two countries. But today we are not looking at the past, and we have agreed on certain points. The visit of HH the Amir to Iraq this year was a message that both the countries will now focus on rebuilding themselves,” he pointed out.

According to Lami, the security situation in Iraq is now definitely better. “The sectarian fights caused rivers of blood in Iraq, but things are becoming better now. We need more time to attain complete normalcy where citizens can take safety for granted. Peace is a prerequisite since Iraq is a diverse country in terms of sects and religions,” he added. He also considered this period as suitable for laying the foundation stone for developing strong relations between the two countries for the sake of next generations. “We have felt the injustice that the Kuwaitis faced during the invasion in 1990, and they, on their part, also realize the injustice that we faced during the regime of Saddam Hussein,” Lami further said. Zahra Ali, the president of the Iraqi Women Journalists Union said that more Iraqi women have joined the field of media. “The number of Iraqi female journalists has increased to 2,146, including 15 Editors-in-Chief and 40 Managing Editors.

Women have an important role in the community and comprise half the society, playing a key role in forming and disseminating views,” she stated. Dr. Talib Bahar, General Director of Al-Rasheed satellite channel noted that they were warmly welcomed by the people and Kuwaiti institutions. “During this visit, we felt we all were part of the same family. We had taken the first step by exchanging a visit after the invasion with our delegation’s visit in 2004. And today we want to focus on building a bright future for both our countries,” he explained. Dr. Nahidh Fadel, Dean of the Information Faculty of the Iraqi University promised to let every family in Iraq know about the warm treatment that the delegation received in Kuwait. “We will publish all the details of our visit,” he said. He also spoke about the curriculum in Iraq, which was too politicized during Saddam’s regime. “The curriculum used to include the Ba’ath Party rules, and there was no freedom of the press or media.

Today, there is total media freedom, and there are opposition newspapers criticizing the government and its head. Also, various internet websites are freely publishing articles critical of the regime,” stressed Fadel. Fuad Ghazi, Editor-in-Chief of the Mustaqbal Iraqi newspaper noted that the purpose of this visit was to enhance cooperation and exchange between the two countries. He also spoke about the improving cultural situation in Iraq. “Some Iraqi universities have scored ratings comparable to international universities.

Also, the formative arts and the domain of poetry are springing back to their earlier exalted position in the Arab world,” he said. Faisal Ghazi, Editor-in-Chief of the Ghad Iraqi newspaper hoped this visit will be followed by a visit of the Kuwaiti media corps to Iraq.