Kuwait names former army chief as Iraq envoy





Kuwait’s emir is expected to issue a decree soon naming Momen as ambassador to Iraq, the state KUNA news agency quoted Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammad al-Sabah as saying.



"We have recommended the nomination of Momen as Kuwait’s ambassador to Iraq to the emir … and we are awaiting an emiri decree appointing him in the post," he said.



The minister did not say when Momen would take up his functions or how many diplomats would be posted in Baghdad, saying only that "there are lengthy diplomatic procedures which will take their course."



It will be the first time Kuwait has had an ambassador in Baghdad since it was invaded by Saddam Hussein’s regime in 1990. The oil-rich Gulf emirate was liberated from seven months of Iraqi occupation by a US-led coalition in the 1991 Gulf war.



Kuwait is the latest in a string of Sunni-ruled Arab states to announce that they are sending ambassadors to Baghdad amid pressure from Washington to upgrade relations with Iraq’s Shiite-led government as a counterweight to Shiite Iran.



Bahrain, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates have all recently named ambassadors.



Momen, who was chief of staff in the 1990s and subsequently retired from the army, heads a centre set up in Kuwait in coordination with the United Nations to provide humanitarian aid to Iraq after the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled Saddam.



No Arab ambassador is currently in post in Baghdad for security reasons.



Kuwaiti foreign ministry undersecretary Khaled al-Jarallah said last week that the Kuwaiti embassy will probably be located in Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone compound which houses government offices and the US embassy.



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