Kuwait’s information ministry has denied reports that it had banned London-based, Saudi-owned Al Hayat newspaper.
“The reports that have been circulated on Kuwait imposing a ban on Al Hayat are not true and lacked credibility,” Shamekh Al Rasheedi, the head of public relation and media at the ministry, said, Kuwait News Agency (Kuna) reported on Thursday.
Reports have circulated online and in some non-Kuwaiti dailies that Kuwait banned the Saudi-owned newspaper after it carried reports and columns about its oil crisis with Saudi Arabia.
The reports said that the ban on the London-based Al Hayat newspaper was imposed mainly over an opinion piece by Saudi columnist Dawood Al Sharyan.
The issue of the Kuwait-Saudi difference over the continued closure of the Khafji oilfield shared by the two countries came to light when a secret correspondence between the oil ministers of both countries was leaked late last month.
In the letter, excerpts from which were published by Kuwaiti daily Al Rai, Kuwait warned the continued closure of the Khafji oilfield it shares with Saudi Arabia will result in huge losses that Riyadh must compensate for in future.
Kuwait’s oil minister Ali Al Omair told his Saudi counterpart Ali Al Naimi that Saudi Arabia would bear Kuwait’s huge losses from keeping Khafji oilfield production and exports shut as a result of its violation of an article in the 2010 agreement between the two countries regarding operations.
Al Omair reportedly added that the decision to shut down production was taken unilaterally by Saudi Arabia in violation of the bilateral agreement.
He said Kuwait’s suggestion to resume production with 100,000 barrels a day had been rejected without explanation.
In his opinion piece, Al Sharyan said the leaked letter lacked the normal standards of diplomacy and amicability and made Saudi Arabia assume the responsibility of the Kuwait losses.
He added that Kuwait had objected to Saudi Arabia renewing its production contract with US company Chevron without informing it. He claimed Kuwait stalled Chevron’s work and Saudi Arabia responded by stopping the production in its share of the oilfield.
The columnist said the issue did not merit the brouhaha it has caused and insisted Kuwait made a twin mistake by going public over the issue and, more significantly, by engaging in a standoff with a country [Saudi Arabia] that has a special status with Kuwait.
Al Sharyan said that relations between Kuwait and Saudi Arabia were much more valuable than the entire world’s oil and that what happened was just “a passing cloud.”
Source: Gulf News