Cameron (left), shakes hands with Sheikh Sabah for the benefit of the media during the latter’s state visit to Britain, outside 10 Downing Street in London
Amir, UK PM co-sponsor signing of bilateral deals Queen underlines deep-rooted ties

LONDON, Nov 28, (KUNA): His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah Al-Sabah and British Prime Minister David Cameron attended at the latter’s office in London on Wednesday midday the signing ceremony of bilateral agreements.

The documents include a memorandum of understanding on immigration affairs between the State of Kuwait, on one hand, and the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, on the other, which was signed by Kuwaiti First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Ahmad Al-Humoud Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and the UK Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Alistair Burt.
They also include a letter of intent that was signed by Ahmed Al-Humoud and Burt, and a MoU to facilitate the exchanges of visits by holders of diplomatic passports with visas that was inked by Kuwaiti Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Hamad Al-Sabah and Burt.

The signing ceremony followed a celebration in the presence of the Amir to mark the 60th anniversary of Kuwait Investment Office in London (KIO) at Lancaster House here.

The celebration, also attended by UK the Commercial Secretary to the Treasury James Sasson and Kuwaiti Acting Minister of Education and Minister of Higher Education Dr Nayef Al-Hajraf as well as KIO leaders.

Cameron expressed his admiration of “the deep-seated democratic traditions within Kuwait, which are a model for others in the region”, Downing Street said.

This came during the important talks held Wednesday between the Amir and Cameron at 10 Downing Street.

In a statement issued by Downing Street, the Prime Minister emphasised “the long-standing friendship between the UK and Kuwait, which dates back to the Treaty of Friendship in 1899, and was pleased this would be strengthened further during the State visit of HH the Amir here” at the invitation of the UK Queen Elizabeth II.

Cameron “remembered with pride the fact that British soldiers stood side-by-side with Kuwaitis in the first Gulf War of 1991”.

Both leaders had a wide-ranging and vibrant discussion which covered the bilateral, defence and commercial relationship and regional foreign policy issues, the statement went on.

The Prime Minister welcomed Britain’s strong commercial ties with Kuwait and news that the Kuwaiti Investment Office has announced “a long-term roadmap for investing in the UK, including in infrastructure projects and renewable energy”.

The Prime Minister also reiterated the close cooperation the UK has with Kuwait on defence matters and welcomed the possibility of further opportunities for British companies in Kuwait. They also discussed a range of “topical” regional issues, including Iraq, Bahrain and Syria.

On Syria, they agreed on the importance of seeing an inclusive, political transition.

Late Tuesday, Queen Elizabeth II hosted in Windsor Castle a dinner banquet in honor of Sheikh Sabah and the official delegation accompanying him.

The event began with Britain’s national anthem and was followed by a speech of Queen Elizabeth II in which she, on behalf of her husband Prince Philip, welcomed the Amir to Windsor Castle “as we celebrate your state visit to the United Kingdom.” The Queen shed light on the historic relations between the UK and Kuwait, and how bilateral cooperation would further serve the best interest of people of the two countries.

“The State of Kuwait and the United Kingdom are old friends. Since a ship from the British East India Company unloaded in Kuwait in 1775, our countries, and our families, have shared a long and close history,” she noted.

Queen Elizabeth II said that 20 years after the Special Treaty of Friendship was concluded in 1899, “my grandfather, King George V, welcomed Your Highness’s father, the late Sheikh Ahmad Al Jaber as the first official Kuwaiti visitor to Britain.” She said there were many exchanges between the two countries since that time.

“I am glad to remind Your Highness of the memorable visit which Prince Philip and I paid to Kuwait in 1979, and the pleasure we had of welcoming your brother’s (late Amir Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah) visit here in 1995. I also know how delighted my son The Prince of Wales was to have been able to celebrate with you last year the 50th anniversary of your country’s independence and the 20th anniversary of your liberation,” said the Queen.

“Our relationship runs deep, and the United Kingdom is proud to have played its part in Kuwait’s recent history. The future, too, holds great promise. Your visit to this country allows us to celebrate the breadth and strength of that partnership. We warmly welcome the many thousands of Kuwaitis who visit the United Kingdom every year and the many — Your Highness included — who have chosen to make second homes here.”

Then the national anthem of Kuwait was played and was followed by a speech of Sheikh Sabah.
“As you know our relations with you are solid as I visit your friendly country regularly, and it is a great honor for me to pay a state visit this week and to meet you in the house of the Royal Family, the great Windsor Castle, which represents deep-rooted history and civilization,” said Sheikh Sabah.

This visit “symbolizes our common desire to promote bonds of friendship and understanding linking our countries and people, which emphasizes our keenness to do whatever it takes to promote our relations and explore new horizons of cooperation and partnership,” added the Amir.

“It is an honor for me to participate in the Diamond Jubilee marking 60 years of your Majesty’s rule, during which you spent many years in the service of your country in an unprecedented wisdom. Your Majesty is widely admired and respected by the whole world,” he said.

Sheikh Sabah said he followed with admiration the Olympic games and paralympics which were hosted by the city of London this summer.

Sheikh Sabah congratulated Queen Elizabeth and the British people for the success of the tournaments in which British athletes achieved many medals in fair plays.

Sheikh Sabah said days ago “Your Majesty participated in a commemoration of the martyrs of wars who paid dear price for freedom.

“We in Kuwait will never forget how your country and other countries in the world reacted to liberate my country from the Iraqi invasion in 1990, and the sacrifices of the British people for the liberation of Kuwait, which will always been engraved in hearts and minds of the Kuwaiti people,” he said.

Under the aegis of the Amir, a ceremony was held  on Wednesday to celebrate the Kuwait Investment Office’s (KIO) Diamond Jubilee.

HH the Amir was warmly welcomed to the ceremony site by Dr Nayef Falah Mubarak Al Hajraf, Minister of Finance, Acting Minister of Education and Minister of Higher Education.

After the Kuwaiti National Anthem was played at the onset of the celebration, the minister delivered a speech, welcoming HH His Highness the Amir of Kuwait; Prince Andrew, The Duke of York; and members of the official delegation.

He recalled to memory that in an article written by Paul Edward Case in December 1952 for the National Geographic Magazine, he praised the Ruler of Kuwait for his wisdom in managing the oil wealth of Kuwait.

In this article, he stated “... His Highness has elected to use his vast wealth for the good of all his people ... .” Case had the ability to foretell the establishment of the Kuwait Investment Authority.

“What was true then is definitely true today. Kuwait’s wealth has been used wisely; for the current as well as for the future generations. We were able to achieve our goals through the wisdom of our Rulers and through the guidance which we received from our close friends in the United Kingdom; in the past; in the present and; Insha’Allah, in the coming decades,” the minister said.

Kuwait Investment Office (KIO) Executive Director Osama Al-Ayoub revealed Kuwait’s plans to create a London-based “investment group” that will be carrying out infrastructure projects around the world.

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