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Kuwait, Saudis Reach Maritime Deal

July 2, 2000

KUWAIT (AP) _ Kuwait and Saudi Arabia reached an agreement Sunday delineating their maritime border in an area rich in oil and gas.

The agreement _ widely expected to be concluded during Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah’s visit to Kuwait this weekend _ opens the door for the two nations to settle a dispute over a gas field with Iran.

State-run Kuwait TV described the agreement as final, but did not provide any further details. It said the agreement was signed by Kuwait’s foreign minister, Sheik Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah, and his Saudi Arabian counterpart Prince Saud Al Faisal. Kuwait’s ruler, Sheik Jaber Al Ahmed Al Sabah, and the Saudi crown prince attended the signing ceremony.

Kuwait and Saudi Arabia began talks early last month to demarcate the maritime border after Iran started drilling for gas in the Dorra field, which lies in disputed waters shared by Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iran. Iran halted drilling in the Dorra field to avoid tensions after Kuwaiti protests.

Dorra’s reserves are estimated at 13 trillion cubic feet. Kuwait has said the field, which lies 37 miles off the Kuwaiti coast, was discovered in 1967, but Kuwait opted not to exploit it before the ownership issue was settled.

Kuwait is rich in oil, but poor in natural gas. It is planning to buy large amounts of the resource from Qatar.

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