GCC countries, US call for demarcation of Kuwaiti-Iraqi maritime borders

KUWAIT (Reuters) -Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and the United States on Wednesday called for the complete demarcation of Kuwaiti-Iraqi maritime borders, as a ruling by Iraq's top court could upend more than a decade-old maritime agreement between them.

Tensions have been rising between Kuwait and Iraq after the Iraqi Federal Supreme Court ruled on an agreement regulating navigation in the Khor Abdullah waterway between the two states as unconstitutional. The court said the law that ratified the accord should have been approved by two thirds of parliament.

The agreement, which governs maritime navigation in that waterway, was reached in 2012 and ratified by each of their legislative bodies in 2013.

The GCC-U.S. joint statement followed a meeting of the six-nation GCC's foreign ministers, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and GCC Secretary-General Jasem al-Budaiwi in New York.

"They called for the complete demarcation of the Kuwait-Iraq maritime boundary .... and called on the government of Iraq to expeditiously resolve the domestic legal status of the 2012 Kuwait-Iraq agreement," the joint statement said.

The joint statement also "called on Iraq and the UN to exert maximum efforts to reach a resolution of all the issues involved."

The land border between the two was demarcated by the United Nations in 1993 after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, but it did not cover the length of their maritime boundaries, and this was left for the two oil producers to resolve.

(Reporting by Ahmed Hagagy in Kuwait, Enas Alashray and Muhammad Al Gebaly in Cairo; Writing by Yousef Saba; Editing by Christopher Cushing, Jacqueline Wong and Michael Perry)