UN’s Ban Ki Moon encouraged by Iraq-Kuwait relations

UNITED NATIONS, July 13 (KUNA) ­­ Secretary ­General Ban Ki­moon said he is “encouraged” by the progress in the Kuwaiti­ Iraqi bilateral relations and urged the two neighbours to sustain this momentum and seize the opportunity to resolve all outstanding issues and fully normalize their relations

In a report to the Security Council, issued late Thursday on the work of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), Ban said the bilateral relations between the two countries “witnessed noticeable improvement” during the last four months, including the creation of a joint commission to manage the navigation of the Khor Abdullah shared waterway

Besides, he added, the parties agreed to take the necessary measures for the maintenance of their common border and to enhance joint security, with Kuwait indicating that it would also open consulates in Basra and Irbil

He indicated that both countries jointly requested the UN to begin the maintenance work of the Iraq-­Kuwait Boundary Maintenance Project (IKBMP) by October 31st of this year, “subject to the fulfillment by the parties of the necessary prerequisites for the field maintenance work to begin.” “The United Nations will continue to support the parties’ commendable efforts towards the completion of the IKBMP in a swift and flexible manner,” he pledged

He also recalled that the Security Council supported his recommendation last month that Iraq and Kuwait ”should begin exploring other arrangements to consolidate and ensure continued cooperation in the search for missing persons and property, including national archives.”

In a related matter, Ban said the UN “remains committed to providing all the necessary assistance to facilitate Iraq’s exit from its obligations under Chapter VII of the UN Charter,” including through the work of the High­Level Coordinator for the return of Kuwaiti and other nationals and property, Gennady Tarasov, as well as through the timely completion of the IKBMP

On the political situation in Iraq, Ban said he was “concerned” that political tensions have increased since he last reported to the Council four months ago

Unless the impasse is meaningfully addressed by all the parties, it could hamper efforts to move the” country toward progress and stability. Political tensions could also adversely impact the security situation,” he warned

The current political impasse is also hindering efforts to resolve outstanding issues pertaining to the disputed internal boundaries, he indicated. “I continue to firmly believe that addressing these issues remains central to Iraq’s future stability,” he stressed

I therefore urge Iraqi leaders to work together in a spirit of compromise and inclusiveness, in accordance” with the Constitution, towards a peaceful and prosperous future for Iraq,” he said

On stability in the region, Ban said it “remains a crucial factor for Iraq’s transition to a peaceful and stable democracy, that’s why “I continue to be deeply concerned with the escalation of violence in Syria, which could have an adverse political and humanitarian impact on the region, including Iraq.” The Council is scheduled to meet on July 25th to renew UNAMI mandate for one whole year at Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari’s request

In a letter to Ban, Zebari said “the events and developments of the Arab Spring have confirmed the credibility of the Iraqi approach to the building of a democratic State and the protection of human rights and the population. We are making progress in establishing that approach, which will serve our population. Against that background, Iraq will require the support of UNAMI,” conveying the Iraqi Government’s wish that the Mission’s mandate be extended for a further period of 12 months