KUWAIT CITY (AFP) – Iraq and Kuwait have agreed to create a 500-metre (yard) no-man’s land on each side of the border and move Iraqi farmers to new homes, a Kuwaiti official said in comments published Wednesday.
Under the deal, Kuwait undertook to build up to 50 homes inside Iraq for the farmers living close to the frontier, the Al-Seyassah daily quoted foreign ministry Arab world department chief Jassem Al-Mubaraki as saying.
The agreement stipulates that the two Arab neighbours will each keep a 500-metre strip completely free of any activity except for border police, Mubaraki said.
“The deal was reached during a recent meeting of the Kuwait-Iraq commission headed by the foreign ministry undersecretaries,” he said.
In 1993, three years after Iraq invaded Kuwait, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 833 which demarcated the land border between the two nations and granted Kuwait some territory that had previously been held by Iraq.
The two oil-rich nations signed a similar deal in 2006 after Iraqi farmers halted construction of a 200-kilometre (125-mile) irrigation pipeline on the border when Kuwait charged it passed through its territory.
Under that deal, which was never implemented, Kuwait agreed to pay compensation for the Iraqi farmers and deposited the amount with the United Nations.
Mubaraki said the cost of building the replacement homes for the Iraqi farmers would be paid from the compensation.
Kuwait is also demanding the demarcation of maritime borders.
Iraq has been campaigning to be released from the sanctions imposed by the Security Council under Chapter Seven of the UN Charter after now executed dictator Saddam Hussein ordered his troops to invade Kuwait in August 1990.
Kuwait has consistently countered that before being released from the Chapter Seven sanctions, Iraq needs to settle the border issue and pay a further 25 billion dollars due in war reparations, among other demands.
The two nations have agreed in principle on rules for production from border oilfields that have been at the heart of the conflict between them, Kuwaiti Oil Minister Sheikh Ahmed Abdullah al-Sabah said in August.
A number of oilfields lie on the border between the two countries, including Iraq’s giant Rumaila field, which extends into Kuwait where it is known as Ritqa.