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GCC calls for Iraqi recognition of Kuwaiti sovereignty in land and sea border demarcation dispute

***
“The process of ratifying international treaties and agreements shall be regulated by a law enacted by a two-thirds majority of the members of the House of Representatives.” Article 61, Iraqi Constitution.
**
The Khor Abdullah Maritime Navigation Agreement is based on UN Security Council Resolution No. 833 (1993).



GCC calls for Iraqi recognition of Kuwaiti sovereignty in land and sea border demarcation dispute
8/9/2023
(See translation in Arabic section)
Sydney - Middle East Times Int’l: The Gulf Co-operation Council says Iraq must respect Kuwait's sovereignty and not violate international law, especially UN Security Council Resolution No. 833 of 1993, regarding border demarcation between the countries as well as the agreement to regulate maritime navigation in Khor Abdullah.
At the 157th session of the GCC foreign ministers summit held on Thursday in Riyadh, they called on Iraq to complete the maritime demarcation with Kuwait beyond Marker 162, expressing its categorical rejection of any violation that affects Kuwaiti sovereignty and reservation of its right to respond according to legal channels.
The issue of border demarcation between Iraq and Kuwait finally emerged after Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah visited Baghdad last July and met with his Iraqi counterpart, Fuad Hussein.
During the visit, both sides stressed the need to end “border issues” between the countries through bilateral dialogue.
Border issues are one of the outstanding issues between the two countries for years.
The GCC call follows a decision of the Federal Supreme Court in Iraq to invalidate the vote on the maritime navigation agreement in Khor Abdullah, which was ratified by the Iraqi Parliament in 2013.
The court argued that the parliamentary vote on the agreement did not consider the fourth point of Article 61 of the Iraqi Constitution, which stipulates the following: “The process of ratifying international treaties and agreements shall be regulated by a law enacted by a two-thirds majority of the members of the House of Representatives.”
The agreement is suspended from the Iraqi side but it remains in force for the Kuwaitis, according to the head of the Gulf Forum for Security and Peace, Dr Fahd Al-Shulaimi, who was a former international member of the Kuwaiti border demarcation committee. 
Kuwait is not concerned with the recent Iraqi action, according to what Al-Shulaimi reported.
Al-Shalimi wondered about the timing of the court’s decision and the reasons for the absence of an Iraqi objection in the past 30 years since UN Resolution No. 833 was issued in 1993 and the signing of the Khor Abdullah Agreement about 10 years ago.
He considered that the reason behind the controversy over this agreement was the Iraqi provincial council elections on December 19 and the sharp division within Iraq between the political blocs.
On the other hand, according to Ali Al-Tamimi, an expert in Iraqi law, suspending the agreement opens the door to several scenarios.
The first scenario, according to Al-Tamimi, revolves around calling on the Iraqi House of Representatives to vote on the agreement again.
The second scenario includes sending a letter to the Kuwaitis informing them of the suspension of the agreement.
If negotiations fail, the two countries will be faced with a third scenario, which is to raise the issue with the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, which investigates maritime disputes between countries, according to Al-Tamimi.
The Khor Abdullah Maritime Navigation Agreement is based on Resolution No. 833 issued by the UN Security Council in 1993.
The decision, according to the official document, “determined precisely the co-ordinates of the borders contained in the minutes agreed upon between Kuwait and Iraq regarding the restoration of friendly relations, recognition, and related matters, signed by both parties on October 4, 1963.”
This decision considered the waterway, Khor Abdullah, as the border between the countries. This waterway is in the north of the Arabian Gulf between the Kuwaiti islands of Warba and Bubiyan, and Iraq’s Al-Faw Peninsula.
According to Kuwaiti academic and researcher Dr. Ayed Al-Manna, Resolution 833 resolved the border dispute with the UN decision based on previous Kuwaiti-Iraqi agreements.
The Kuwaiti researcher explained that “former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Saeed sent a letter to the British High Commissioner, Arthur Wachohop, in 1932 in which he defined the Kuwaiti-Iraqi borders. On October 4, 1964, Iraq agreed to what was stated in Al-Saeed’s letter and recognized the State of Kuwait according to those borders.” Therefore, Resolution 833 was based on those documents, according to Al-Manna.
MARKER 162 
Marker 162 is the last point designated by the two countries in their correspondence prior to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. It is located at the southernmost point of Khor Abdullah and halfway between Bubiyan Island and the Al-Faw Peninsula.
Between 2010 and 2011, on two opposite banks, Iraq laid the foundation stone for the establishment of Al-Faw Grand Port while Kuwait laid the foundation stone for the establishment of Mubarak Al-Kabeer Port on Bubiyan Island.
In 2019, Iraq filed a complaint against Kuwait before the Security Council due to what it considered Kuwait’s resort to making geographical changes in the area located after Marker 162 by strengthening the Fasht Al-Aij area and establishing a facility on it without the approval of the Iraqi side, according to what was stated in the Iraqi complaint.
However, Kuwait responded at the time that the Fasht Al-Aij facility is a naturally formed area of land above the sea level and located within its territorial waters therefore they claimed sovereignty over its territorial sea.
The dispute between the two countries extended to a residential neighbourhood for members of the Iraqi Naval Force, consisting of about 100 houses, in the border city of Umm Qasr.
After Iraq agreed to demarcate the border with Kuwait in the 1990s and install land border pillars between the countries, this residential neighbourhood fell within the scope of the pillars.
Kuwait then demanded the removal of these homes and submitted a proposal to build an alternative residential neighbourhood. The Iraqi side agreed to the Kuwaiti proposal and in 2020 Kuwait completed an alternative residential city consisting of 228 houses with full basic logistical services. But to date, those houses have not been removed.
In addition to the differences related to the maritime and land borders, it must be noted that there have also been ongoing negotiations between the two countries since 2018 to study the joint oil fields on the border between the two countries. The production policy of each country will be determined based on the study.
As for the ownership of the Dorra natural gas field, which is the subject of controversy between Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait, Iraqi parliamentary claims for this field have appeared recently, especially by the parliamentary Oil, Gas and Natural Resources Committee, which said that historical documents in the maritime region confirm Iraq’s right to the field.
In this context, the Ministerial Council of the GCC confirmed that ownership of the natural resources in the submerged area adjacent to the Saudi-Kuwaiti divided zone, including the entire Dorra field, was jointly owned between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and they alone have full rights to exploit resources in that region.
The attendees rejected any claims that any other party has rights in this field.



 














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