Kuwait Terms Iran a Good Friend

A009017240.jpg TEHRAN (FNA) Kuwait’s foreign minister on Wednesday called Iran a friend only days after US President George W. Bush visited the Persian Gulf to rally regional support for Washington’s confrontation with Iran.

“I can only speak on my government’s behalf. My country knows who is our friend and who is our enemy and Iran is our friend,” Sheikh Mohammed Sabah al-Salem Al-Sabah said at a joint news conference with his Iranian counterpart Manouchehr Mottaki.

Bush visited Kuwait on Friday at the start of a Persian Gulf tour aimed at rallying the support of Arab allies against US arch foe, Iran. On Sunday Bush hit out at Iran in a speech in the United Arab Emirates, charging Tehran with sponsoring terrorism and animosity towards Arab neighbors. Both claims were denied by regional officials, with Saudi Arabia and Kuwait reiterating friendly ties with Iran.

Sheikh Mohammed’s visit to Tehran aimed to resolve a decades-old dispute between the two countries over the controversial issue of their maritime boundary.

“New formulas were discussed regarding the continental shelf between the two countries and it was agreed that both sides do a more exhaustive study to finalize it legally,” Mottaki said.

This issue concerns the fate of the offshore Dorra gas field. In 1960 Iran and Kuwait granted concessions in the north of the field to the former Anglo-Iranian Petroleum Co – now part of BP – and Royal Dutch / Shell. The Dorra gas reserves are estimated at 200 billion cubic meters (7 trillion cubic feet).

Both men discussed bilateral relations and “files that needed to be finalized particularly the continental shelf, the transportation of the Iranian gas and water (to Kuwait) to pave way for the visit of His Highness the Amir (Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah) to Iran,” Sheikh Mohammed, also Deputy Prime Minister, told KUNA shortly before concluding a two-day visit to Tehran.

“President Ahmadinejad was very keen on finalizing these files as soon as possible, and he has instructed the need to intensifying efforts to tackle them,” said Sheikh Mohammed who was in Tehran to co-chair the first Iran-Kuwait joint economic committee meeting with Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki.

“We in the State of Kuwait are always supporting any dialogue leading to the strengthening of security and stability in the region,” said Sheikh Mohammed.

“We have reached significant results that draw up the broad lines of bilateral cooperation,” Sheikh Mohammed told reporters following the end of the meeting, during which both sides signed an agreement to avoid double taxation.

“Very soon we will be able to sign an agreement for importing gas and water from Iran,” he also said.

Iran said on Wednesday it would take part in a conference of Middle-East and Western powers to be held in Kuwait in April to debate security in war-ravaged Iraq.

“Iran will actively participate in Iraq’s neighboring countries conference going to be held in Kuwait in April,” Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said, without confirming the level of Tehran’s involvement.

“We believe that the issue of Iraq’s security must be on the agenda of the regional nations,” Mottaki said at a joint press conference with Sheikh Mohammed.

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