Kuwait and Iraq look to bolster economic ties

26 May 2020

Kuwait and Iraq’s finance ministers have met to investigate ways of bolstering economic ties between the neighbours as Iraq seeks billions of dollars in debt relief from Kuwait.

Iraqi finance minister Ali Allawi, who is also deputy prime minister and acting oil minister, met Kuwait finance minister Barrak Al-Shitan, according to Kuwait state news agency Kuna.

While Kuna did not elaborate on the content of the talks beyond saying the two countries were looking at boosting economic cooperation, the Wall Street Journal reported that Allawi was proposing that Kuwait delay or cancel $3bn that Iraq owes Kuwait.

The sum is owed as part of reparations for the 1990-91 Gulf War, when Iraq under Saddam Hussein burned Kuwaiti oil fields.

Meanwhile, the Kuwait Ports Authority (KPA) is to team up with the country’s Public Authority for Industry (PAI) to design and build an industrial port in the south of the country, according to Kuna.

An MoU between the two organisations includes a joint study for the project, which aims to boost Kuwait’s position worldwide and enhance its manufacturing capability.

Under the deal PAI will be responsible for the design, construction, and operation of the new port when the project’s studies are approved, while KPA will choose and supervise industrial activities.

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