'Kuwait is not asking its former occupier Iraq to repay a multi-billion-dollar debt but only for assurances on security and good neighbourly ties, the Kuwaiti foreign minister has said.
"What we need from Iraq is security and assurances. We don't want money which is the last thing on our mind," Sheikh Mohammad al-Sabah told Al-Qabas newspaper in an interview due to appear on Sunday.
"Let me be very clear. We have not asked Iraq to repay the debt," said Sheikh Mohammad, according to an advance copy of the interview received by AFP.
Kuwait loaned Iraq an estimated 16 billion dollars during the 1980-1988 Iraq-Iran war.
Iraq's new leaders have repeatedly urged oil-rich Arab countries to cancel Baghdad's debt, mostly comprised of Gulf support during the war with Iran.
Sheikh Mohammad called on Iraq to help create the atmosphere conducive that could allow the Kuwaiti parliament to write off the debt.
"We want Iraq to be a good and safe neighbour," said the Kuwaiti minister who complained that some Iraqi MPs still praise former leader Saddam Hussein for invading the oil-rich emirate.'