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Saturday , October 19 2019

US to help Kuwait build own defense capacities

Strategic ties hailed

US Ambassador Lawrence Silverman

KUWAIT CITY, Sept 3: US Ambassador to Kuwait Lawrence Silverman held his final press conference to mark the end of his three-year tenure in the country, taking a close look at bilateral relations and providing updates on pertinent issues of US foreign policy.

He expressed his sadness at leaving Kuwait, thanked the Kuwaiti government and its people for a wonderful experience, and commended his staff for their various accomplishments during his term. Ambassador Silverman stated that while the US and Kuwait had always shared a close and mutually-beneficial relationship, both countries had committed to do more and had thus established the Strategic Dialogue in October 2016 that had not only strengthened governmental cooperation in areas of security and border protection, trade and investment, education and entrepreneurship, consular affairs and customs, but had practical implications for individuals. He stressed that the cooperation was “not a one way street”, and added, “We have made both our countries and people more secure and economically prosperous.”

The third US-Kuwait Strategic Dialogue was hosted in Kuwait on March 20, this year culminating a year’s progress of five working groups with US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo in attendance.

Ambassador Silverman noted that within the scope of the US-Kuwait Strategic Dialogue, a lot was accomplished in the field of education. “Education in the strongest foundation of the relationship between two countries but it also the most important factor in determining an individual’s success in his or her career,” he said.

In the last few years, 660 Kuwaiti teachers were given specialised trained in teaching the English language, 200 Kuwaiti professionals were sent to the US on exchanges covering various areas of expertise, 1,000 Kuwaiti military personnel also received professional training, 350 Kuwaitis were trained on judicial issues and 12,300 Kuwaiti students are currently studying in the US. He also stressed the need for economic diversity in Kuwait and reiterated US support in this regard.

He pointed to the US commitment in the area of improving the business environment by its efforts exerted towards Intellectual Property protection in order to attract investment into Kuwait.

Ambassador Silverman affirmed US commitment to not only Kuwait’s security but also building up of Kuwait’s own defence capacities, and highlighted cyber-security as an area of growing cooperation. He said that the number of Kuwaiti visitors into the US had increased by 2.5 percent in 2018 when compared to the previous year. He stated that US Embassy engagement with Kuwait covered a wide spectrum from the highest echelons of government to interacting with young children. Ambassador Silverman recognized and appreciated Kuwait’s diplomatic role in the region to make it more stable and secure.

He commended HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah for his efforts to resolve the ongoing GCC dispute and his inspiring humanitarian role for which he was recognized by the UN in 2014. He also commended and congratulated the work that the Kuwait Red Crescent Society was doing around the world.

He praised Kuwait’s culture of the diwaniya and expressed his hope that the hospitality and openness would be maintained through generations. Speaking on the current State visit of HH the Amir to the US, he said that while no formal session of the ‘Strategic Dialogue’ would be held, the GCC dispute would be on the agenda in meetings with President Donald Trump.

“To this day, it remains a high priority for the US and Kuwait to restore the full unity of the GCC.” He affirmed US support in resolving the issue but shared that the matter was a GCC dispute that needs to be solved within the GCC. Ambassador Silverman highlighted other areas of US-Kuwaiti cooperation.

These include contributing to broader efforts in observing and safeguarding international navigation and maritime activities, and concern about finding a political solution to the conflict in Yemen and providing them humanitarian assistance. He expressed his appreciation for Kuwait’s efforts as a non-permanent member of the Security Council of the UN.

He said that US and Kuwaiti delegations were working closely in New York on various issues affecting international peace and security, and enjoyed productive cooperation even with differing viewpoints on certain issues. He pointed out that the US was keen that Iraq should develop positive relationships with its neighbours and appreciated Kuwaiti efforts made in this regard.

On the issue of Iran and its nuclear commitments, he stated that this was not a US-Iran issue but a worldwide concern and said that the US was open to dialogue without preconditions with the goal of seeing tangible change that would greatly benefit the region and the Iranian people.

He said that the issue of human trafficking was an important issue in Kuwait and the rest of the world. He pointed to an increase in prosecution for those engaged in trafficking as a big step forward. While Kuwait had specific laws and regulations in place to combat trafficking of persons, implementation and enforcement was crucial in changing the behaviour of not only those who traffic but also those who employ domestic workers. He recommend that prosecutions be more publicized in order to send a clear message.

Finally, Ambassador Silverman stated that President Donald Trump has nominated Alina L. Romanowski, a career member of the Senior Executive Service, to succeed him in Kuwait and is awaiting confirmation from the US Senate.

By Cinatra Alvares Arab Times Staff

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