Kuwait says controversial megaport on track
Kuwait will continue to work on its controversial US$1.1 billion megaport between Kuwait and Iraq despite threats from Iraqi militants to strike the port if construction continues, it has been reported.
Kuwait said work on the multimillion dollar Bubiyan Island facility is “ongoing smoothly and as planned”, newswire AFP reported.
“We are not scared by threats and we are continuing the construction work in the project,” foreign ministry undersecretary Khaled Al Jarallah told the newswire.
Baghdad is concerned that the port will compete with its own Faw port and “strangle” shipping routes to and from Iraq. Iraq Prime Minister, Nuri Al Maliki on July 15 said Kuwait had yet to officially notify Iraq of the project. He said Baghdad only learned about it from third parties.
“The Iraqi government asks the Kuwaiti side to stop work on the Mubarak port until we are assured that Iraqi shipping lanes, and free and safe navigation, will not be affected,” government spokesman Ali Al Dabbagh said in a statement.
The Iraqi Shiite militant group, Ketaeb Hezbollah, have said they will strike the port if Kuwait does not stop construction.
“This threat is unfortunate and irresponsible,” Al Jarallah told reporters following a presentation on the Mubarak Al Kabeer port to heads of foreign diplomatic missions in Kuwait, said AFP.
“There must be an official Iraqi handling of these threats,” the Kuwaiti official said.
The container port is due for completion in 2016. Construction began in 2007.