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Kuwait PM in Iraq amid warming ties

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak al-Sabah landed in Iraq on Wednesday for a surprise one-day visit as the two countries look to cement improving ties and resolve a swathe of long-running disputes.

Sabah was met at Baghdad airport by his Iraqi counterpart, Nuri al-Maliki, and later held talks with Maliki and Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari.

Along with signing agreements on the economy, education, culture and the environment, Kuwait and Iraq focused on unresolved disagreements stemming from Saddam Hussein's 1990 invasion of the Gulf emirate.

"All that we have achieved is the result of work over the last 10 years, in meetings and negotiations," Zebari said in a news conference with Sabah. "From last year, until now, the relationship has taken a big step thanks to the will of the two countries to solve all these issues."

Many outstanding issues have been resolved in recent months as Iraq has sought to be removed from Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, which allows for sanctions ranging from economic measures to an arms embargo.

Kuwait has so far received about $30 billion (22.6 billion euros) in war reparations, with the remaining $11 billion set to be paid off in 2015. Iraq currently puts five percent of all its oil revenues in a UN-managed fund that makes periodic payments to Kuwait.

The two countries have also asked the UN to start repairing border markers, and have worked to reach a final settlement on a dispute between their state-run airlines.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130612/kuwait-pm-iraq-amid-warming-ties