Saudi Crown Prince to Visit Kuwait in July to Discuss Sea Border Dispute

Published June 24th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdel Aziz's planned visit to Kuwait, which has been postponed twice amid a sea border dispute, will now take place in early July, an MP said Saturday. 

Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah told parliament's foreign affairs committee Prince Abdullah will be in Kuwait in the week starting July 1, committee spokesman MP Abdolmohsen Jamal told reporters. 

The visit is expected to tackle a dispute between the two Gulf Arab neighbors on demarcating their sea border, a question officials in both countries have said needs a political decision. 

The trip, originally due to start June 12, was postponed twice, the second time due to the death of Syrian President Hafez al-Assad. 

Sheikh Sabah expressed hope Saturday that the issue of the continental shelf and its Dorrah gas field would be "settled soon". 

Jamal, who praised the Saudi-Yemeni border deal, hoped the issue between Kuwait and Saudi Arabia would be resolved with "the same brotherly spirit" as shown by Riyadh and Sanaa. 

Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, who demarcated their land borders two years ago, ended maritime border talks in Riyadh earlier this month without agreement. 

According to press reports in Kuwait, Crown Prince Abdullah could sign a deal on the maritime border straddling an area with huge gas deposits when he visits Kuwait. 

The two Arab countries formed a technical committee in 1995 to draw up the sea border but negotiations were repeatedly put off until Tehran started drilling a few months ago. 

A Saudi-Kuwaiti deal is deemed essential to open talks with Iran on how to share the waters of the northern Gulf shelf. 

Following protests from both Riyadh and Kuwait City, Tehran announced May 13 it had stopped all drilling at the gas field and hoped the dispute would soon be resolved -- KUWAIT CITY (AFP)  

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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