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Kuwait FM on first Iraq visit since invasion

Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed al-Sabah flew into Baghdad today, on the highest-level Kuwaiti visit since Saddam Hussein’s forces invaded the emirate in 1990.

world Updated: Feb 26, 2009 20:29 IST

Kuwaiti Foreign Minister, Sheikh Mohammed al-Sabah flew into Baghdad on Thursday, on the highest-level Kuwaiti visit since Saddam Hussein’s forces invaded the emirate in 1990.

Sheikh Mohammed has “arrived and went into a meeting with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki”, an Iraqi foreign ministry official told AFP.

Kuwait marked its 1991 liberation from Iraqi occupation at a party in Baghdad yesterday, on the eve of the visit by Sheikh Mohammed, who is also deputy prime minister.

His visit is the highest-level mission from Kuwait since Saddam’s tanks rolled into the emirate on August 2, 1990.

Iraq Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari told AFP this month that the two sides have a list of thorny issues on the agenda such as joint oilfields, demarcation of maritime borders and the billions of dollars in war reparation claims.

Kuwait had troubled ties with Iraq for decades, culminating in Saddam’s invasion until his forces were expelled by a US-led coalition in the 1991 Gulf War.

“We are still paying five per cent of oil sales in compensation to Kuwait,” Zebari said. “But we have come a long, long way with them.” The two countries have set up a joint ministerial commission.