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Melkert confident Iraq reaffirmation of land, maritime boundaries with Kuwait "within reach"

UNITED NATIONS, April 8 (KUNA) -- Ed Melkert, the UN Special Envoy to Iraq, on Friday said he was confident that Iraqi expected reaffirmation of the land and maritime boundaries with Kuwait is "within reach".
"I am confident that the expected reaffirmation of the land and maritime boundaries pursuant to resolution 833 of 1993 by the Government of Iraq is within reach," Melkert told the Security Council as it met to examine Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's periodic report on the work of the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI).
"In turn," Melkert added, "there is now a basis for achieving full mutual understanding of the principle of unimpeded maritime access to Iraqi ports".
Ban had suggested in his latest report to the Council on UNAMI that a letter by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki "reaffirming the land and water boundaries pursuant to Security Council resolution 833 of 1993 would be an important confidence-building measure towards improving relations between Iraq and Kuwait".
Melkert told the Council "I have expressed the hope that both parties will now seize this unique opportunity to show leadership in settling a complex and painful conflict at a time the region is searching for new perspectives of cooperation and development as a substitute for conflict and stagnation," he urged.
Melkert said he felt "strongly encouraged" by the Kuwaiti leadership's commitment expressed to him while in Kuwait last February to "advance progress and resolution of issues with Iraq as part of a full normalization of relations between the two countries which both recognize they stand to gain from cooperation in all areas".
The outstanding issues between Kuwait and Iraq also include the missing Kuwaitis and property.
On stability in Iraq and its long-term prosperity, he said it will depend on progress made with respect to national reconciliation, and "in particular, the resolution of disputed internal boundaries and the status of Kirkuk".
Moreover, he added, the terror attacks on Government structures, such as the one against the Salahadin Provincial Council building late last month, "continue to remind us of destructive minds and agendas at play".
"The possibility that some may try to exploit some of the developments in the region to inflame sectarian tensions should not be discarded," he said in an indirect reference to Iran.
Addressing the Council, Iraqi Ambassador Hamid Al-Bayati said Council resolutions 1956, 1957 and 1958 last December represent "the beginning of the end of the era of sanctions and restrictions" on Iraq, however, and despite those "positive" developments, "Iraq still has some way to go to resolve all outstanding issues with our brotherly neighbour Kuwait".
He recalled that the Joint Kuwaiti-Iraqi Ministerial Committee met on March 27, 28 and the four sub-committees considered "all the issues that concern the two countries".
"The importance of the meeting of the Joint Committee lies on its being the first of its kind, its consideration of the issues considered sensitive to both major parties, and the air of openness, transparency and the positive spirit which dominated," he told the Council. (end) sj.bs KUNA 082054 Apr 11NNNN