His Highness the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah visited on Thursday Westminster Cathedral where he was greeted by Rev John Hall, Dean of Westminster.
British praise for pathfinder Kuwait Amir ends visit

LONDON, Nov 29, (KUNA): In the ongoing official visit to the United Kingdom, His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah visited on Thursday the British parliament where he was greeted by John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons and Baroness D’Souza, Speaker of the House of Lords and by a number of lawmakers from both Houses.
In a speech, before the parliament, HH the Amir took note of the first British parliament convened in 1265, having thus become the “Mother of all Parliaments.” He said that Kuwait recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of the promulgation of a comprehensive constitution for the nation, imbued with ideas and values which it shares with the British.
HH the Amir emphasized that Kuwait also shared democratic values with Britain, in that it adheres to the separation of the three major branches of government, the legislative, the executive, and the judiciary.
He added that Kuwait upholds the principles of freedom for all and strives to build firm relations with its partners and friends everywhere.
He applauded the growing ties between the parliaments of both countries, noting the long-standing relationship between them in myriads of fields. He moreover praised the work being done by the Kuwaiti-British parliamentary friendship society, whose achievements contribute to the enhancement of bilateral relations.
He thanked Britain — parliament, government, and Queen —for their warm hospitality and valued friendship.
In a speech honoring the Kuwaiti guest, Baroness D’Souza, Lord Speaker of the House of Lords said : “Let me take this opportunity to thank you, on behalf of everyone assembled and particularly on behalf of the House of Lords, for your address. I am sure I speak for us all when I say that we greatly appreciate your presence here today.
“The relationship between Kuwait and the UK has developed over the course of a shared history dating back more than 250 years, and your visit allows us to cultivate the relationship further. Now, perhaps more than ever, in the light of dramatic political and social upheaval in the Middle East and North Africa, we appreciate the value of the links between our two countries.
“Kuwait’s elected National Assembly, established half a century ago, has a regional precedence that can help encourage democratic governance to flourish in the Arab world. We hope that, with the help of connections fostered between our countries and between our parliaments, Kuwait can continue to progress as a political pathfinder for the rest of the region.
“For this reason and others, Your Highness, we attach particular importance to your visit this week. The exchange of ideas, the sharing of experiences and the forging of personal bonds through such visits is vital to the development of close relations between our two countries, and long may it continue to be so.
“Events of the last year have underlined the UK’s commitment to such relations. For example, as you celebrated the anniversaries of both your country’s independence and its liberation from Iraq, visits were made by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales and by our Prime Minister. In the same year a number of members of both Houses also made visits to your country, all of which can only serve to strengthen ties between us.”
She added: “Your Highness, I hope your short time in our Parliament has been as valuable as I am sure the rest of your visit has been. It has certainly been an honour for us to have you here. And I can say with confidence that I look forward to ever closer and more fruitful relations between our countries.”
On his part, John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons, delivered a speech addressing HH the Amir in which he said : “Your Highness it is my privilege to welcome you here to our Parliament for this important stage of your state visit. Your presence here today is a welcome reminder of the many intimate ties that exist between our nations and our peoples, born of history, tested in conflict after the outrageous invasion of your country in 1990 and continuing to this day in the realms of diplomacy, trade and cultural exchange.
“Kuwait has long been a nation of innovation in its region, the site of the oldest directly elected Parliament in its area, a long-standing and potent force within the Arab League, the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation and the Gulf Co-operation Council, and a pioneer in the political representation of women.
“You are one of the most experienced statesmen in the Middle East having served as Foreign Minister for an astonishing 40 years, followed by 3 years as Prime Minister before your elevation to be the Amir. It is a record of remarkable duration which many colleagues might wish to imitate, but probably should not!
“Your visit comes after two years of extraordinary turmoil across the Arab world. Change, as you have publicly recognised, is essential if the popular demand for representation is to be met, human rights entrenched and prosperity enhanced. Our two countries are signatories to a range of international human rights conventions and compliance with their letter and spirit is vital.
Equality before the law, irrespective of race, gender, disability or orientation, is fundamental to our society here in the UK and we expect to be held to that standard. Naturally, we hope that that principle of equality will be practised and championed across the world.
Rest assured there are many, many friends of your country both within this Parliament and Britain at large and we all stand ready to support Kuwait in exercising leadership in a modern, open and progressive direction. Your presence here can only encourage dialogue between us”.
Lord Mayor of London Alderman Roger Gifford held a state banquet in honor of His Highness the Amir in London’s Guildhall.
The British National Anthem was played and then Gifford welcomed HH the Amir and all other guests to this magnificent hall, where the City has entertained heads of state for over 6 centuries.
“This is the greatest honour we in the City can bestow. It is my privilege to present to you in a silver casket the Address read out by Mr Recorder, which I hope you will accept as a token of our great esteem for you and for your country,” he said.
“Esteem founded on the longstanding friendship between our two countries, ties we want to deepen and strengthen even further.
Your Highness, not only are we delighted to dine with you and your party here, but yours is the good fortune to have the Address read by the Recorder, Peter Beaumont, in such a fine manner, on what is likely to be his last occasion at such a Banquet as this,” he said.
He added: “He is retiring, and we shall miss him, his erudition and his charm, more than mere words can express.
“Ours is an economic and trading partnership that can trace its roots back to the eighteenth century, when we traded saffron and silks, satin and spices through Kuwait as a key trading post.” Kuwait and Britain have many shared attributes, both small countries, which have looked outside their borders for growth, dependent on trade, both with a maritime history, Kuwait as a gateway to the Gulf, London as a gateway to Europe, he said, adding that today, both have dynamic private sectors, with an emphasis on financial expertise, and both are democracies.
“He continued: “In our own age Kuwait has played a huge part in the life and work of the City of London, in locating your Investment Office here for exactly sixty years, in long term investment in London and the UK, indeed in the world, through London, and not least through your ownership of property, especially on one of the City of London’s great historic thoroughfares, Cheapside.
“I was delighted to hear, today, that you will increase the amount of business that comes through your London operation in the years ahead, especially in infrastructure. So we look forward to playing our part in supporting you as you continue to diversify your investments and economy, and as you take forward visionary plans for transforming the infrastructure of your country, a vision in which we have the skills and expertise to support you.
“In this I know we enjoy the huge support of London’s favourite Kuwaiti son, your Ambassador, His Excellency Mr Khaled Al-Duwaisan, who has done so much to support the Kuwaiti-British relationship over 18 years,” he noted “Ours is also a cultural partnership, with British architects and companies working with you on talismanic buildings and projects, such as the hugely imaginative vision for a cultural centre at Sabah Al-Ahmad, which echoes Kuwait’s maritime and trading history and will enhance the idea of a nation that “nurtures its people,” Gifford added.
He went on to say: “And a political partnership. It has seen the UK stand alongside you when the sovereignty of Kuwait was under threat. Lord Mayor Sir Paul Newall, visited Kuwait in 1994 when it was again threatened, and his visit showed that the City of London stood and still stands for square in guaranteeing the security of Kuwait and its people.
The following year the City had the privilege of hosting a State Banquet in honour of your brother, here at Guildhall, when Lord Mayor Sir Christopher Walford spoke of our “special relationship.” “Seventeen years on, it is my privilege to reaffirm the importance we attach to that relationship, a relationship underlined by visits to Kuwait by Lord Mayors and by the kindness and hospitality they are shown, not least by you, your Highness.
In a recent speech you spoke of how every Kuwaiti forms “an important brick in building our national coherent edifice,” he pointed out.
“It is a noble sentiment and is one we applaud, and it echoes the words of one of England’s great poets, a City man, John Donne: “no man is an island entire of itself. Each is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. This is true of our personal relationships and it is true of the City of London itself. We are very much part of the UK’s wider society, as we are part of Europe. We also attach the greatest importance to our part in the global economy, and in contributing to international peace, stability and trade. Because security and trade is the business of us all,” he said.
“Every country has an important a part to play and each is part of a wider international edifice. But the friendship between the United Kingdom and Kuwait is special indeed. It has achieved a great deal - it can achieve a great deal more,” he added.
Gifford concluded by saying: “It is our deepest wish to strengthen our friendship, and we are honoured by the opportunity to do so this evening, when we can show the importance we attach to your country, and with you, as our most honoured guest. So may I ask everyone to rise for the National Anthem of Kuwait, followed by the toast to the Amir of Kuwait.”
The National Anthem of Kuwait was played and then HH the Amir addressed the party by welcoming the guests and thanking the UK government and people for the hospitality.
HH the Amir lauded London as one of the greatest cities in the world thanks to its historical buildings and parks, which date back to 2000 years.
He described the Square Mile for making London a center for Britain’s vitality and economic strength.
He added that London is a favorite city for people from different countries, especially Kuwaiti people, due to its adequate facilities and services.
London, which has a great past and present, is a major world business hub and is home to historical attractions, fantastic tourist resorts, in addition to advanced medical experience and pioneering world scientific facilities, Sheikh Sabah said.
He added just like other people in the world he was impressed by the UK’s huge potentials which helped in the success of the 2012 London Olympics.
First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Ahmad Al-Humoud Al-Jaber Al-Sabah represented the Kuwaiti Government at the signing of a security deal with the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.
Speaking to KUNA on Thursday, Sheikh Ahmad said the deal was inked on the sidelines of the meeting between His Highness the Amir and British Prime Minister David Cameron last night.
“The agreement enables Kuwait to benefit from the experience and hi-tech achievements of the UK,” he said The minister noted that he held talks with UK Defense Secretary Philip Hammond to explore ways for strengthening the security and defense cooperation.
“The British side briefed us on the working mechanisms of the UK security services and their successes in maintaining security across the United Kingdom, “ he said, citing the success of British security services during the London Olympics last summer.
He added that the other issues relating to the defense cooperation will be discussed by Secretary Hammond and Kuwaiti Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Sheikh Ahmad Al-Khalid Al-Hamad Al-Sabah in their future talks.
The British Royal Family held Thursday an official farewell ceremony for His Highness the Amir in Windsor Castle, signaling the official end of HH’s state visit to the United Kingdom.
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh bid farewell to HH the Amir and his accompanying delegation.
Meanwhile, His Highness the Amir and his accompanying delegation are due to return home on Friday after a state visit to the United Kingdom.



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