Kuwait says port project to continue despite Iraqi opposition

16:12, July 28, 2011      

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Kuwait said Wednesday it was " determined to go ahead with" the construction of a port which neighboring Iraq said would affect its shipping lanes.

Kuwaiti government spokesman Ali Al-Rashid said the Gulf emirate "won't be intimidated by any remarks," referring to those from Baghdad earlier Wednesday which called the construction of the Mubarak Al-Kabir port on Kuwait's Boubyan island to be suspended.

The port, estimated to cost around 1.1 billion U.S. dollars, was on Kuwait's territory and would not affect Iraq's shipping routes, he said.

Iraqi government spokesman Ali Al-Dabbagh said Wednesday the port project should be put on hold until Baghdad was assured its shipping lanes and navigation would not be affected.

The Kuwaiti government later expressed "dismay" at those remarks.

Kuwait's Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah laid the foundation stone for the port on April 6. The port, which is located in the emirate's north, is scheduled to be completed in 2016.

Relations between Kuwait and Iraq have been delicate for 20 years after the Gulf War.

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