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Officials: Iraq, Kuwait settle airline dispute

BAGHDAD (AP) – Iraq’s leaders say they have reached a $500 million deal with Kuwait to settle a legal dispute that has snarled business for Iraq’s national airline since Iraq’s 1990 invasion.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said the agreement ends Kuwait’s demand for $1.2 billion in payments going back 20 years. It was reached during Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s visit to Kuwait on Wednesday.

Kuwait long has claimed that Iraq stole 10 airplanes and millions of dollars in equipment when Saddam Hussein’s forces invaded in 1990.

Because of the case, Iraq Airway flights to Great Britain were halted and the airline’s assets in Jordan were frozen.

Kuwaiti officials did not respond to requests for comment. Kuwait’s state-run official news agency about al-Maliki’s visit did not mention the airline deal.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

BAGHDAD (AP) _ Iraq’s government spokesman says Kuwait’s emir will attend the Arab League summit meeting in Baghdad at the end of this month, the first such visit by a Kuwaiti ruler since Saddam Hussein’s invasion of the oil-rich Gulf state.

Spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said Kuwaiti Sheik Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah confirmed his attendance Wednesday during a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Al-Maliki is in Kuwait on an official visit to settle ongoing disputes dating back to the 1990 invasion.

The League summit originally was scheduled for the Iraqi capital last year, but political unrest across the Mideast, combined with concerns about Iraq’s security, delayed it.

It is set now for March 27-29.

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