Iran surprised by Kuwaiti talk of outside presence at gas field negotiations
Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said he was surprised by comments made by Kuwait’s oil minister Sheikh Ahmad Fahd Al-Sabah regarding the use international arbitration to solve a drawn out dispute over an offshore gas field.
"It is surprising the Kuwaiti oil minister has made such a statement,” Asefi said according to Irib. “The negotiations have been focused on determining the extent of the offshore gas field between the two countries so far. The next round of talks will be held in near future."
Called “Arash” by the Iranians and “Dorra” by the Kuwaitis, the large gas field is located on the Saudi-Kuwaiti border but a part of it also extends into Iran. The two countries have been arguing over the field’s maritime borders since the 1960’s.
At a recent press conference Al-Sabah said that the Emirate could take the dispute to international arbitration if bilateral talks fail. "We are not looking for an escalation with Iran... "If no understanding is reached, there are international mechanisms which govern such disputes," he said.
Both Iran and Kuwait awarded offshore contracts to international oil companies for exploration of the Dorra field in the 1960’s. The two concessions overlapped in the northern part of the field.
Kuwait has shown interest in developing the gas field in coordination with Saudi Arabia. The emirate had been delaying its plans but has now decided to go ahead with exploration before a maritime border with Iran has been finalized. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)