Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al Sabah and Iraqi President Fuad Masum discussed Kuwait’s efforts to host an expanded conference of donor countries early next year.
The conference aims to support efforts of the Iraqi government to rebuild the devastated areas, which have been controlled by ISIS for more than 3 years. Baghdad estimates its need for reconstruction of these areas at about $100 billion.
Kuwaiti Deputy Foreign Minister Khalid al-Jarallah announced in August that his country had launched extensive contacts with countries around the world, the World Bank and Iraq, to host a conference for the reconstruction of Iraq’s liberated areas. Kuwaiti sources later announced that Kuwait would host the conference in the first quarter of next year.
The Emir of Kuwait held talks with the Iraqi president in the presence of Kuwaiti Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Sabah al-Khalid Al-Hamad al-Sabah, in addition to senior Kuwaiti and Iraqi officials.
Deputy Minister of Amiri Diwan Affairs Sheikh Ali Jarrah Al-Sabah said that the talks touched on bilateral relations, means of boosting cooperation in all fields for the sake of common interests.
In a press conference following the meeting, Masum said he noted Kuwait’s great interest in developing relations with Iraq, adding that he had felt flexibility and understanding from Kuwaiti leaderships and officials on resolving pending issues, such as the maritime borders and the issue of compensations.
Iraq seeks to ease its debt of the compensation file, as a result of the invasion of the former regime of Kuwait in August 1990. The United Nations estimates the debt at around 23 billion dollars, while the remaining amount to be settled by Iraq reaches $4.6 billion. However, the payment has been delayed since 2014, at the request of Baghdad, in view of the economic crisis suffered by the country due to low oil prices and the high cost of war against ISIS.