BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Kuwait’s prime minister will travel to Baghdad this week in the Gulf state’s first high-level visit to Iraq since Saddam Hussein invaded his tiny neighbor in 1990, an Iraqi government official said on Sunday.
Kuwait Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammad al-Sabah will meet his Iraqi counterpart, Nuri al-Maliki, during the visit, the official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
The leaders will discuss reparations for Iraq’s invasion and occupation of Kuwait, debts and borders, he said.
Iraq’s al-Bayan newspaper said Sabah would meet other officials during the visit. Neither the Iraqi official nor the newspaper gave a date for the trip.
Precise travel arrangements for visiting leaders are usually kept secret for security reasons.
As Iraq seeks to rebuild after five years of bloodshed, its government is hoping for reconsideration of the percentage of its oil exports earmarked for a Geneva-based fund set up to settle post-conflict damage claims from the invasion of Kuwait.
Under U.N.-imposed peace terms after the war, Iraq must pay 5 percent of oil income in compensation to Kuwait and other countries. Iraq was driven out of Kuwait in 1991 by a U.S.-led, U.N.-authorized coalition.
Some $24.4 billion in compensation claims had been paid from the U.N. fund as of April, but more than $28 billion remains to be paid, according to the fund’s website.
Kuwait has said that any changes to the reparations scheme must be decided by the U.N. Security Council.
Since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 to topple Saddam Hussein, Washington has been pressing its Arab allies to forgive Iraqi debts and to restore high-level diplomatic ties.
In August, Jordan’s King Abdullah became the first Arab leader to visit Iraq since 2003, and other regional countries are taking steps to resume full relations.
On Sunday, Iraq’s national media centre reported that Saudi Arabia would soon open an embassy in Iraq, but did not say when.
Baghdad is also seeking forgiveness of loans Kuwait made to Iraq during its 1980-1988 war with Iran. Yet many Kuwaitis are still bitter about the 1990 invasion.
The United Arab Emirates recently waived all of Iraq’s almost $7 billion obligations.