Kuwait names first ambassador to Iraq since Saddam Hussein's invasion of 1990

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Kuwait names first ambassador to Iraq since Saddam Hussein's invasion of 1990

Post by PRDinarInvest on Thu Jul 17, 2008 1:18 pm

Kuwait names first ambassador to Iraq since Saddam Hussein's invasion of 1990
From Times Online
July 17, 2008
Deborah Haynes, Baghdad

Kuwait today named its first ambassador to Iraq since Saddam Hussein invaded his tiny neighbour in 1990, a move that sparked the first Gulf War involving the United States and Britain the following year.

The announcement marks a key step in mending ties between the two Arab states. It also offers further evidence of a desire among regional Sunni Arab countries to work more closely with Baghdad, something Washington has been urging.

The official Kuwaiti news agency quoted the country's foreign minister as saying that retired Lieutenant General Ali al-Momen, a former military chief of staff, will take the ambassadorial post.

His appointment will be issued in a decree by the emir. It is unclear when the new embassy will open but it is likely to be situated inside Baghdad's fortified Green Zone, home to other foreign embassies as well as Iraqi Government buildings.
Kuwait closed its embassy in Baghdad 18 years ago after Saddam invaded. His forces were driven out seven months later in the US-led war of 1991.

Relations between the two neighbours remained on ice until the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. Kuwait and Iraq, both oil-rich countries, formally resumed ties later that same year after Saddam was ousted.

An Iraqi Embassy has since been opened in Kuwait, led by a charge d'affaires, but security fears prevented Kuwait from doing likewise until now.

However, the sectarian killings, mass bombings and random kidnappings that plagued Iraq from 2004 until 2007 have dropped in recent months.

The decline in violence is largely attributed to a surge of 30,000 extra US troops into Iraq last year; a decision by Sunni insurgents to side with the Americans; and a ceasefire by the al-Mehdi Army, the main Shia militia.

Improvements on the security front have helped to legitimise the US-backed, Shia-led Iraqi Government. Bahrain, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, also Sunni Arab nations, have all recently named ambassadors.

In another show of interest, the senior Lebanese politician Saad al-Hariri met Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi Prime Minister, in Baghdad today.

Mr Hariri, son of Rafik al-Hariri, Lebanon's assassinated prime minister, praised recent security gains in Iraq, the Iraqi Government said.

Mr Maliki, who is keen to reach out more widely on the international stage, is due to travel to Germany and Italy next week.

During the trip, from July 21 to 25, he wants to try to encourage European investment in his country, according to Ali al-Dabbagh, the Government spokesman.

The Prime Minister is also due to brief Pope Benedict on measures by his Government to spread tolerance and national reconciliation among Iraqis.

The Pope has often called for an end to violence in Iraq. He condemned the kidnapping and killing earlier this year of the Chaldean Catholic Archbishop of Mosul, Paulos Faraj Rahho.

Italy took part in the invasion of 2003, sending 3,000 troops, the fourth largest contingent. The last Italian soldier withdrew from Iraq at the end of 2006.

In contrast, Germany opposed the war. Michael Glos, the Economy Minister, visited Baghdad last week, becoming the first German cabinet minister to do so since the invasion.



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