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Kuwait played role as ‘key mediator’ in GCC reconciliation, says Legendre

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French ambassador stresses importance of health care

KUWAIT CITY, Jan 10, (KUNA): Kuwait played a critical role as a key regional mediator in bringing reconciliation amongst GCC states, said Anne- Claire Legendre, French Ambassador to the State of Kuwait, on Sunday.

Anne- Claire Legendre, French Ambassador to the State of Kuwait

In statement KUNA, during a press conference at her residence, Ambassador Legendre stated, “We welcome very warmly this (GCC reconciliation) result … We hope it will bring further positive results on regional stability. Kuwait has been playing really a critical role in these negotiations and we would not be where we are today without Kuwait’s mediation role.” Asked whether Kuwait could play a bigger role in other important regional issues, Ambassador Legendre said that State of Kuwait, through its efforts within the GCC reconciliation, had proved itself as a “key regional mediator… upholding a long tradition of Kuwait being able to speak to all the powers in the region and finding ways towards dialogue and reconciliation.”

She added that Foreign Minister of Kuwait Sheikh Dr. Ahmad Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah also played a critical role, showcasing his country’s strong diplomatic efforts, a matter which French was appreciative of because the region was in need of states to mediate and come to peaceful and diplomatic solutions. Leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) pressed, during Al-Ula’s Gulf Summit on January 5, for enhancing pan-GCC cooperation to reach full integration and unity among its six member states. GCC leaders also hailed Kuwait’s relentless efforts over the past years to reslove the Gulf crisis and restore unity of the Gulf states.

Meanwhile, Ambassador Legendre spoke about the French- Kuwaiti relations, saying that the ties were deeply grounded in history and good partnership within the political domain and beyond. In 2021, both countries are eager to pursue ways to further bolster relations, affirmed the Ambassador who indicated that this year was very important due to commemoration of the 60th anniversary of French-Kuwaiti relationship. She also revealed that France was eager to partake in Kuwait’s national celebrations specifically, the 30th anniversary of Kuwait’s liberation from the Iraqi invasion.

Ambassador Legendre pointed out that the French Minister for the Armed Forces Florence Parly was scheduled to visit Kuwait on January 17th to commemorate France’s contributions to the liberation of the country from Iraqi aggressors. “As you know, 14,000 French soldiers were involved in the liberation (of Kuwait) 30 years ago and 10 were killed, so this is something that will be as well as commemorated by combatants back in France,” she added. Ambassador Legendre indicated that she expected more high-level visits to Kuwait this year and noted that strategic dialogue was upgraded last November from the administrative to ministerial level, which shows “how much we want to deepen our dialogue and political relations.” She went on to say that both countries were seeking more cooperation within the health sector in light of the coronavirus (COVID- 19) pandemic as well as seeking partnership in a variety of fields including defense, where France is very eager on protecting its interests in addition to the interests and security of its allies such as the State of Kuwait. On health security, Ambassador Legendre stressed the importance of health care especially during the time of COVID-19, saying, “We think there is room for to be involved in training more of the health professionals here in Kuwait.” She added that France and Kuwait had signed an agreement to train medical doctors and was implemented in 2012, but affirmed that her country was eager to bolster ties going “further and beyond”.

“There are leading institutions in France that are in discussions at the moment with the Ministry of Health here in Kuwait to develop the training capacity both in terms of medical doctors such oncology but also nursing and management of hospitals,” she stated. Returning to the issue of defense, the French Ambassador affirmed that her country was keen on providing assistance, whether in training or equipment, to the Kuwaiti Defense Ministry, citing numerous deals and training courses as an example of France eagerness to boots Kuwait’s security and defense. On cultural, educational and business cooperation, the Ambassador affirmed that both countries had displayed interest in finding more ways and means to take ties forwarded.

The French embassy is working closely with the Ministry of Education to enhance the teaching of the French language in the State of Kuwait, helping teachers and students to excel in the language both in teaching and learning capacities, Ambassador Legendre said. Cultural cooperation will highly benefit from the upcoming celebration of the 60th anniversary of ties between Kuwait and France, she affirmed, hoping that this year includes various cultural functions to commemorate this historical event.

Ambassador Legendre believed that Kuwait and France enjoyed strong business and economic relations with room to reinforce ties on both sides. In 2019, bilateral trade amount to around 800 million euros (USD 977.9 million), said the Ambassador who expressed eagerness to continue to boost the numbers this year with French companies wanting to contribute more to business diversification of Kuwait especially within the mainframe of 2035 vision. Ambassador Legendre also affirmed that France was eager to welcome more investments from the Kuwaiti side, finding more strategies to bring further direct foreign investments.

By Ahmad Al-Hamily

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