Saudi, Kuwait Search for Amicable Agreement on Delineation of Maritime Border

Published June 7th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Talks between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait on the delineation of their maritime border ended here Tuesday without agreement, but Kuwait expressed optimism that the issue would soon be resolved. 

Kuwaiti Oil Minister Saud Nasser al-Sabah told journalists in Kuwait he had agreed with his Saudi counterpart Ali al-Nuaimi "to continue and complete talks soon on the demarcation of the maritime border in a way that is acceptable to both sides." 

The "talks took place in a positive and brotherly atmosphere," he said. 

"We exchanged views... on how to settle the matter so as to preserve the interests of both our countries," he added. 

The two ministers met twice in Riyadh Tuesday in a bid to reach agreement on the issue of the border which runs through a disputed gas field in the northern Gulf. 

Kuwait's Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah told AFP on Sunday the aim of the meetings was "to reach a formula on an accord to demarcate the continental shelf in which the Dorra gas field is located." 

But industry sources in Kuwait said that Sheikh Saud was not likely to sign a deal with Nuaimi as more meetings between other officials from the two countries were scheduled to take place soon. 

The Saudi and Kuwaiti defense ministers, Prince Sultan bin Abdel Aziz and Sheikh Salem al-Sabah, are to meet "shortly to officially finalize the maritime demarcation", the source told AFP. 

The Dorra field, discovered in 1967, is located in a sector of northern Gulf waters where the demarcation of the continental shelf is subject to rival claims by Iran, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. 

On May 29, Sheikh Sabah announced that the three countries would hold talks in June on resolving the territorial dispute over the offshore area rich in natural gas resources. 

He said Sunday that Iran was not concerned by the two-way negotiations in Saudi Arabia. 

Following protests from Riyadh and Kuwait City, Tehran said on May 13 that it had stopped all drilling at the Dorra field and hoped the dispute would soon be resolved. 

According to the Middle East Economic Survey, recoverable gas reserves in Dorra are estimated at seven trillion cubic feet (200 billion cubic meters). 

The Saudi newspaper Al-Yaum, meanwhile, said Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdel Aziz would visit Kuwait next week for talks with Emir Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah. 

"Prince Abdullah's visit is for consultation and coordination on political, security and economic issues," the official Kuwaiti news agency KUNA said, quoting sources in Riyadh. 

Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have drawn up their land border and agreed how to share the enormous oil wealth in the area, but the sea border has not been finalized -- RIYADH (AFP) 

 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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