Dubai: Kuwait, which was invaded 20 years ago by neighbouring Iraq amid a territorial dispute, on Wednesday announced that the two countries have reached a border agreement.
The two countries will create a 500-metre no-man's land on each side of the border and move Iraqi farmers to new homes, a Kuwaiti official was quoted as saying yesterday.
Under the agreement, Kuwait will build up to 50 homes inside Iraq for the farmers living close to the border, the Kuwaiti daily Al Seyassah quoted Jasem Al Mubaraki, Chief of the Arab World Department at the Kuwait Foreign Ministry, as saying.
The agreement stipulates that the two countries will each keep a 500-metre strip completely free from any activity except the border police, he said.
"The deal was reached during a recent meeting of the Kuwait-Iraq commission headed by the foreign ministry undersecretaries," Al Mubaraki added.
In 1993, three years after Iraq invaded Kuwait, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 833 which demarcated the land border between the two nations and granted Kuwait some territory that had previously been held by Iraq.
The two countries signed a similar agreement in 2006 after Iraqi farmers halted construction of a 200-kilometre irrigation pipeline on the border when Kuwait protested that it passed through its territory.
Under that agreement, which was never implemented, Kuwait agreed to pay compensation to affected Iraqi farmers and deposited the amount with the United Nations.
Al Mubaraki said the cost of building the replacement homes for the Iraqi farmers would be recovered from that compensation.
Kuwait is also demanding the demarcation of maritime borders. Iraq has been campaigning to be released from the sanctions imposed by the Security Council under Chapter Seven of the UN Charter after Saddam Hussain sent his troops into Kuwait in August 1990.
Kuwait has consistently countered that before being released from the Chapter Seven sanctions, Iraq needs to settle the border issue and pay a further $25 billion due in war reparations, among other demands.