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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Oman, UAE finalise border demarcation

MUSCAT (AFP) — Oman and the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday 22 July 2008 signed lists of coordinates and detailed maps finalising the delineation of their border, official news agencies in both Gulf countries said.

The documents signed by Omani and Emirati interior ministry officials in Muscat were drawn up in line with a border accord inked in June 2002.

Fifty-one maps and three lists of coordinates were signed, "settling all outstanding border issues between the two brotherly countries," said the UAE's WAM news agency.

Oman and the UAE, which share a 1,000-kilometre (625-mile) frontier, had initially signed an agreement in May 1999.

WAM said the only outstanding issue was the technical designation of the point where the borders of the UAE, Oman and Saudi Arabia converge in Umm al-Zumol.

The UAE has differences with Saudi Arabia over their border and the sharing of a major oilfield there, although the issue is seldom mentioned in public by either country.

In June 2005, the UAE said it had proposed to Saudi Arabia "substantial" changes to a controversial 1974 border pact between the two countries.

Their differences were supposed to have been settled in the agreement signed in 1974 in the Saudi Red Sea city of Jeddah under which the Saudis dropped their claim to the Buraimi oasis region.

In return, Abu Dhabi gave up a 25-kilometre (15-mile) strip of land linking it to Qatar to the west of the UAE, and some 80 percent of the resources of the Shaybah oilfield in southeast Saudi Arabia.

Abu Dhabi felt it made the 1974 deal under duress, to secure recognition of the UAE federation -- formed in 1971 -- by its larger neighbour.

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