(AFP, TEHRAN) - Iran on Sunday denied Kuwaiti press reports that Tehran has offered to supply Kuwait with some 200 million gallons (760 million litres) of drinking water a day, the official IRNA news agency reported.
"Following the drought and water shortage in the country, we have no plans for the exportation of water to other Persian Gulf countries, including Kuwait," Iran's Energy Minister Habibollah Bitaraf said, as cited by IRNA.
On Friday, the Kuwaiti Al-Rai Al-Aam daily reported that Kuwait has welcomed an Iranian offer to supply up to 200 million gallons (760 million litres) a day of drinking water from the Karun River, which flows by Abadan in southwest Iran.
"Kuwait has no objection to the offer, provided the price of the water is right," Electricity and Water Minister Adel al-Sabih told the newspaper.
According to the paper, the offer came from a joint British-Kuwaiti-Iranian firm that would have delivered the water through an underground pipeline linking the two Gulf countries.
Iran has been hit hard this year by drought, which has affected 18 of its 28 provinces, and the government has estimated that 12 million people in both rural and urban areas are suffering drinking water shortages.
The UN World Food Program said last week that more than 60 million people have been affected by drought around the region, particularly in Afghanistan, Tajikistan, India and Iran.
A UN mission is expected to arrive in Iran in the coming days to look into the water-shortage problem.
© Agence France Presse 2000
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )