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Thu 5 Apr 2012 12:30 PM

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Kuwait re-starts flights to Iraq on April 17

Gulf state will begin route to Iraq for first time since war 21 years ago

Kuwait re-starts flights to Iraq on April 17
The oil-rich Gulf state will re-open routes to Iraq on April 17.

Kuwait is set to begin flights
to Iraq later this month after a 21-year halt in services between the two countries, a Kuwaiti Ambassador said Wednesday.

The
oil-rich Gulf state will re-open routes to Iraq on April 17, with flights
operated by its second flag carrier Jazeera Airways, according to ambassador Ali al-Mu'min, quoted in a report by
Iraqiya
TV Channel.

The first flight will be
allocated for Kuwaiti personalities visiting Iraq, and will run between Kuwait
City and Al Najaf.

Kuwaiti airlines have also
been granted access to fly to other Iraqi cities, including Mosul, Baghdad and
Arbil.

Kuwait
had previously cancelled all connections with Iraq in the wake of the 1991
Gulf War, but has since decided to re-launch flights following successful bilateral discussions
between the country’s governments.

An aide to Prime Minister
Nuri al-Maliki said in March that Iraq had reached a US$500m agreement with
Kuwait to resolve a standoff over Gulf War-era debts that had prevented Iraqi
Airways from flying to destinations in the West.

Under the deal, Iraq agreed
to pay Kuwait US$300m in cash, and to invest another $200m in a joint
Iraqi-Kuwaiti airline venture, Maliki's media adviser Ali al-Moussawi told
Reuters.

In return, Kuwait would
cease legal actions against Iraqi Airways.

The issue of Iraqi Airways
debts is one part of a long-running dispute between Iraq and Kuwait. There is said to be billions of dollars of reparations owed dating back to Iraq's military occupation of Kuwait in 1990-91.

Saddam's forces seized
aircraft and parts during their occupation of Kuwait, before they were driven
out in the US-led Operation Desert Storm.

In 2010 Kuwait's lawyers
tried to seize an Iraqi Airways plane on its first flight to London in more
than 20 years.

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