Govt allowed to sign deals ... but Assembly OK needed ‘Kuwait, Panetta discussed ties’

KUWAIT CITY, Dec 17, (KUNA): Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah said Monday constitution of Kuwait gave the government the right to sign agreements but they should be referred to the parliament for approval “or give another opinion.”

Sheikh Sabah was speaking at a joint news conference with visiting Portuguese Foreign Minister Dr Paulo Portas at the foreign ministry.

Asked about the GCC security agreement, recently signed by interior ministers of the six GCC countries, Sheikh Sabah said the signature “does not make the agreement effective as long as it is not viewed by the parliament.” The agreement, he added, “has been tabled to the relevant committee in the parliament to be examined before submitting a report over it to the National Assembly. It is soo transparent.” On his talks with Portas, Sheikh Sabah said they discussed ways of cementing bilateral cooperation in political, economic, trade, cultural and sport domains.

He said they have signed two agreements: one to exempt holders of diplomatic and special passports from entry visa, and the other was about sport cooperation.

Sheikh Sabah said they have discussed at length the situation in Syria “and we are preparing for the discussion of this issue at the forthcoming GCC summit.” During the GCC summit, due in Bahrain next week, the leaders of the six Arab Gulf countries would be discussing further means to alleviating suffering of the Syrian people and help them meet their aspirations.

On the recent visit by the US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Sheikh Sabah it was within constant cooperation and coordination between the two countries. He said Panetta and Kuwaiti officials discussed military cooperation and other matters of mutual interest.

Kuwait and the US are committed to several agreements, noted Sheikh Sabah.

He said Kuwait was keen on maintaining “strategic cooperation” level of relation with the US.

The Portuguese foreign minister Portas, meanwhile, said Portugal and Kuwait share good relations. “We are always standing by the freedom and independence of the State of Kuwait,” he added.
Portas said Portugal and Kuwait share common views over the Middle East issues and conflict in Syria.
He said both counties could explore new horizons of commercial cooperation.

Portas said Portugal intended to sign a memorandum of understanding with Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI).

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