• Information ministry says it has not banned Al-Hayat newspaper
  • Al-Hayat had published articles critical of Kuwaiti officials
  • Relations between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have deteriorated due to a dispute over the Divided Zone

Kuwait has denied reports that it has banned Al-Hayat, a Saudi-owned daily newspaper that has run articles critical of Kuwaiti government officials.

“The reports that have been circulated on Kuwait imposing a ban on Al-Hayat are not true and lacked credibility,” said Shamekh al-Rasheedi, the head of public relations at Kuwait’s Information Ministry, through state-controlled Kuwait News Agency (Kuna) on 6 August.

It had been reported that Kuwait had banned the newspaper over articles about the country’s dispute with Saudi Arabia over the Divided Zone, a hydrocarbon-rich region that is shared by the two countries.

Since October, two oil fields have been shut in the region reducing production from more than 500,000 barrels a day (b/d) to zero.

Contractors have blamed the shutdown on an ongoing dispute about land use in the area.

The dispute escalated earlier August when private correspondence between Kuwait’s Oil Minister Ali al-Omar and Saudi Arabia’s Petroleum & Mineral Resources Minister Ali al-Naimi was leaked to Kuwaiti newspapers.

The leaked letter revealed that Al-Omar had accused his counterpart of acting unilaterally to close the Khafji oil field and violating an agreement between the two countries.

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