Iraqi speaker''s visit to Kuwait a step in right direction -- Kharafi
Politics 7/8/2009 4:53:00 PM
KUWAIT, July 8 (KUNA) -- The visit of Iraqi Parliament Speaker Iyad Al-Samarraie to Kuwait is "a step in the right direction," and one that the Kuwaiti parliament "will return," said National Assembly Speaker Jassem Al-Kharafi on Wednesday.
Speaking at a joint press conference with Al-Samarraie, he said, "I want to reiterate my appreciation, on behalf of my fellow MPs, to Speaker Al-Samarraie for accepting our invitation to visit the country, and I would like to welcome him once again in his second home - Kuwait." He described the visit as "successful" and one during which the two sides were able to discuss many issues, noting that Al-Samarraie met many Kuwaiti officials, including His Highness the Amir.
Asked whether the duration of this visit, which lasted four days, was enough time for negotiations to close dossiers between the two sides, Al-Kharafi said, "To begin with, I would like to affirm that Al-Samarraie's visit was a step in the right direction, and as we say, 'A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step'." He added, "This step taken by Al-Samarraie, and his acceptance of our invitation to come to Kuwait, had a great impact, and this is what he sensed during his official meetings." Al-Kharafi said that Al-Samarraie came to Kuwait "bearing the appreciation and keenness of the Iraqi parliament and people," adding that the Kuwaiti National Assembly "will respond to this in an even warmer manner."
Moreover, he underscored Kuwait's keenness for continuing such meetings "not only to improve relations between the two countries and peoples, but also to develop brotherly ties that must be present between the two sides."
He said that "if there are problems, then there is no way to resolve them except through direct dialogue," and noted that he would work to encourage the executive authority to work on this matter.
The Kuwaiti speaker said that what had been completed over the past four days was "a lot, and the most important results were achieved through Al-Samarraie's meetings with Kuwaiti officials."
This, he said, included the meeting with His Highness the Amir, during which the Iraqi parliament speaker "listened to a heart-to-heart talk, one through which we hope we can all work together to help Iraq get out from under Chapter VII sanctions, after it implements UN resolutions and the required conditions." He also said that Al-Samarraie listen to aspects related to bilateral relations and how to boost them, adding that his meeting with the media "confirms that Kuwait and Iraq have much more in common than they do differences."
He added, "We will all work on focusing on the positive aspects and steering clear of the negative, while looking forward to the future, such that we can contribute to the stability of both Kuwait and Iraq, and this is what we wish."
Commenting on a question that was posed earlier to Al-Samarraie over alternative solutions that the Iraqi speaker presented to Kuwaiti officials over Iraqi debts, Al-Kharafi said, "It is important to clarify here that the issue of debts is one that is dealt with between the two governments, and thus measures taken are executive ones" -- alluding to the fact that this matter fell within the prerogatives of the executive authorities of the two countries.
He added, "After the two governments decide on a specific measure, this can then be presented to parliaments, should implementation require legislative or legal procedures."
Al-Kharafi noted that Article 50 of the Kuwaiti Constitution, as well as articles of the Iraqi parliamentary statute, stipulated the importance of separating between the prerogatives of the different branches of authority.
However, he said, "This does not mean that we, as the state's legislative authority, cannot assist the executive authority in its effort to achieve what is in the best interest of the two countries."
When asked about the conflicting stances of some Kuwaiti MPs and officials with regard to Al-Samarraie's economic cooperation proposals, and whether this would affect relations between the two countries, Al-Kharafi said, "We are in a democratic institution, and if this is a democratic institution in the true sense, then we can never arrive at a consensus."
He added, "We may agree on the goal, but differ over the means to achieve it."
Al-Kharafi said that "at the end of the day, we must remember the positive aspects related to bilateral relations, and the positive remarks over supporting these ties," while reiterating "the keenness on all sides for boosting relations, and everyone in Kuwait agrees over the basic goals." As for developing relations, Al-Kharafi said that "this is in the interest of both Kuwait and Iraq, and thus we must all work to this end, although we may differ on how to get there."
He hoped that "there will not be any negative reactions to a comment made here or one made in Baghdad over the issue, and we must be cautious of such statements and the reactions they may ignite."
He once again reiterated that everyone in Kuwait was in agreement over the basic goals, including the importance of cooperating with Iraqi and implementing UN resolutions so that it may come out from under the Chapter VII sanctions, "and if there are issues that need tackling in order to assist Iraq on this matter, then we must (tackle them)."
Moreover, Al-Kharafi said that everyone agreed that it was in the interest of the two countries to resolve pending issues as soon as possible "and we must not let issues between the two sides pile up because we want to deal with them one at a time."
He expressed optimism over the outcomes of Al-Samarraie's visit and the impact it would have on bilateral relations, adding, "A friend is one that speaks the truth, and frankness helps and eases the process of developing relations between the two sides and ends conflicts, which is what we aspire for in the future."