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Wednesday, 27 March, 2002, 22:20 GMT
Iraq and Kuwait 'settle differences'
Iraq¿s number two Ezzat Ibrahim
Ibrahim: Iraq wants to re-establish relations with Kuwait
Gulf enemies Iraq and Kuwait have moved closer to normalising relations.

Qatar said that it and fellow Gulf Arab state Oman had persuaded both sides to agree on a statement at the Arab summit.

We wish to see security for all Arab countries, including Kuwait, guaranteed according to internationally recognised borders

Ezzat Ibrahim, Iraq delegation head
"The issue of Iraq and Kuwait is now resolved and we have agreed on a statement between Iraq and Kuwait which is acceptable to the two sides," Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr al-Thani told reporters after the first day of summit in Beirut.

The deal contains new compromises by Baghdad and an Iraqi promise not to stage a repeat of its 1990 invasion of Kuwait, a Kuwaiti minister said.

Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf refused to confirm details of the document's contents, but said that a deal had been reached.

The head of the Kuwaiti delegation, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, was said to have applauded a summit speech delivered by his Iraqi counterpart Ezzat Ibrahim.

"We wish to reach a brotherly accord and re-establish relations between Iraq and Kuwait," Mr Ibrahim said.

"We wish to see security for all Arab countries, including Kuwait, guaranteed according to internationally recognised borders."

He told the summit that Iraq "respects the security of Kuwait".

Prisoner freed

Iraq also announced the release of a Kuwaiti man arrested after accidentally crossing the border.

Authorities reportedly released the imprisoned municipal worker into the care of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah
The head of the Kuwaiti delegation applauded the Iraqi speech
League Secretary-General Amr Moussa told the summit that Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri had alerted him to the decision.

A ministry statement described the move as a "goodwill gesture", which followed Kuwait's release of Iraqi prisoner Abdullah Mutlaq.

Kuwait had also provided information about 13 Iraqis who were held in Kuwait last year, the statement said.

The group had reportedly been sent to the United Arab Emirates.

Iraq invaded its neighbour in August 1990. Nine months later, it was ousted by a US-led multinational coalition.

See also:

27 Mar 02 | Middle East
Clouds of dissent gather over Beirut
27 Mar 02 | Middle East
Arab summit: Egyptian view
27 Mar 02 | Middle East
Legacy of the siege of Beirut
27 Mar 02 | Middle East
Mid-East 'needs peacekeeping force'
26 Mar 02 | Middle East
Bright Beirut offers template for peace
27 Feb 02 | Middle East
What is in the Saudi peace initiative?
21 Sep 01 | Country profiles
Quick guide: Arab League
04 Jan 02 | Country profiles
Timeline: Arab League
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