Basra: Iraq and Kuwait have locked horns over a new nuclear reactor that Kuwait plans to build near Um Qasur port in the southern Iraqi city of Basra. Kuwait says it is planning to build four nuclear reactors near Iraqi coasts by 2022 and it needs to go ahead with the project to generate enough electricity to meet its growing domestic demand, media reports said.The Iraqi officials, however, have expressed concerns about the sheikhdom’s nuclear projects, accusing Kuwaiti officials of acting as US instruments to weaken Iraq’s economic and political status.
“What Kuwait is doing is part of a US plan to weaken Iraq. The move gives a justification for the US occupation forces to extend their presence in Iraq. We want them to stop this project,” Iraqi lawmaker Jawad al-Bazuni said.
Members of Basra Provincial Council have also urged Kuwait to stop its project, planned to be launched in Warbh island less than four kilometers away from the Iraqi coasts south of Basra.
They say the Iraqi government must adopt a strong position regarding the issue.
“We have discussed Kuwaiti projects like the Mubarak port and the nuclear reactors. We consider them as dangerous projects that would affect our economy and security,” said Vice-President of Basra Provincial Council Ahmad al-Sulaiti.
The Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh has said that the foreign ministry will do its best through diplomatic channels to block Kuwait’s nuclear project.
Iraqi officials in Basra also insist that the Kuwaiti nuclear project would have damaging environmental consequences for Iraq.
The contentious relations between the two Arab states remain highly politicized after the former regime of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein invaded the Persian Gulf state in 1991.