125 years of ‘exceptional’ Kuwait-UK ties

Top diplomats, officials attend reception at UK embassy

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KUWAIT CITY, Jan 30: The Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdullah Al-Yahya affirmed on Tuesday that Kuwait was proud of its strong historical and exceptional relations with the United Kingdom and that his country would seek all venues to bolster ties. This came during Minister Al- Yahya’s reception of the British Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden who is visiting Kuwait to launch the year of the Kuwaiti-British Partnership 2024. Minister Al-Yahya stated that this visit came within the framework of the commemoration of the 125th anniversary of the signing of the Anglo-Kuwaiti agreement in 1899. Believing in the importance of reviving and celebrating this historical event, both governments signed an agreement to declare 2024 the Year of Kuwaiti-British Partnership during the visit of His Highness the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, then Crown Prince, to the United Kingdom last August. The exceptional relations between the two nations have flourished over more than a century and branched out to include all fields, it was established through the historical and honorable positions of the two countries and through mutual solidarity and continued cooperation.

Photos of leadership at the British Embassy’s celebration of the 125th anniversary of the establishment of relations between the two countries.

The minister recalled with gratitude the positions of British solidarity with Kuwait to ensure the independence and sovereignty of Kuwait, like the British position on the brutal Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Minister Al-Yahya pointed out that the Kuwait Investment Office’s 71-year presence in London contributed to the economic support for both countries and became one of the most important and largest sovereign funds worldwide. He added that the number of Kuwaiti students on scholarships to study in the United Kingdom reached record levels, about 9,500 students, as the United Kingdom is one of the first major destinations for Kuwaiti students. At the end of his statement, Minister Al- Yahya said that the two nations are committed to continuing to broaden and strengthen the bilateral relations between Kuwait and the United Kingdom for more developments at all levels.

MoD lauds ties with UK
Undersecretary of the Ministry of Defense (MoD) Sheikh Dr. Abdullah Meshal Al-Sabah underscored the longstanding and strategic Kuwaiti-British relationship, marked by consistent cooperation, particularly in security and defense. In a press statement released Tuesday, MoD quoted Sheikh Dr. Abdullah Al-Sabah as saying, after his participation in the ceremony at the British Embassy marking the 125th anniversary of diplomatic ties between both sides, that the Kuwaiti-British bilateral relations are founded on partnership, friendship, and collaboration across various domains, particularly in security, defense, investment, culture, and education. Ongoing efforts to enhance collaboration in the defense sector, particularly in education and joint military training, highlight the exceptional military relationship between both nations, he explained. Assistant Undersecretary of the Kuwaiti MoD Sheikha Dr. Shamayel Ahmad Khaled Al-Sabah attended the celebration along with several military officers from the UK. Yesterday, the British Embassy hosted a reception to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the establishment of historical ties between both countries, which was attended by senior officials from both sides, and several heads of diplomatic missions.

Undersecretary of the Ministry of Defense Sheikh Dr. Abdullah Meshaal Al-Sabah during his participation in the British Embassy’s celebration of the 125th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral relations.

Amiri Diwan lauds ties
Minister of the Amiri Diwan Affairs Sheikh Mohammad Al-Abdullah Al- Mubarak Al-Sabah said on Monday that the State of Kuwait takes great pride in its exemplary relations and cooperation with the United Kingdom. “The exemplary historical relations keep growing under the sovereign care of the political leadership of Kuwait, at the core of which is His Highness the Amir Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah,” he said in a speech to a celebration marking the 125th anniversary of the relations. The function, held by the British Embassy, gathered visiting UK Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary of State in the Cabinet Office Oliver Dowden and Kuwait’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sheikh Jarrah Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, as well as heads of diplomatic missions in Kuwait. Affairs Sheikh Mohammad said the two countries decided to declare 2024 a year of the Kuwait-UK partnership as per a memorandum of understanding signed in last August 29 during the visit to the United Kingdom by His Highness the Amir – the then crown prince.

“The relationship keeps growing and deepening thanks to the historic stances and solidarity in all areas, particularly when it comes to the protection of Kuwait’s security and stability, and the promotion of the prosperity of both countries,” the minister noted. “The state-to-state and people-to-people exchanges also add momentum to the friendly relations,” he noted. Sheikh Mohammad Al-Abdullah noted that economic cooperation between both countries has seen milestones since the establishment of the Kuwait Investment Office (KIO) in London more than seven decades ago. KIO turned to be one of the world’s biggest sovereign funds with volume of investments amounting to nearly USD 300 billion in Europe and the two Americas, including USD 40 inside the UK, he said, noting that the Kuwaiti investments helped create up to 150,000 jobs in the UK so far. On the other hand, the British companies are active in the State of Kuwait in collaboration with Kuwait Direct Investment Promotion Authority (KDIPA) in such areas as information technology, insurance, and the oil and gas industry, he noted, adding that the British investments amount in value to KD five million (nearly USD 16.2 million).

Sheikh Mohammad Al-Abdullah recalled UK’s supportive stances of Kuwait right to protect its security and independence since 1920, including during the incidents of 1961 and the honorable stance against the Iraqi brutal invasion of 1990. On his part, the UK Deputy Prime Minister expressed pleasure for designating 2024 a year of Kuwait-UK partnership, saying that the partnership is one of the most important sources of strength and resilience of both sides in the face of challenges. The diplomatic relationship doesn’t tell the whole story as the two countries a friendship spanning over 125 years since the signing of the UK-Kuwait agreement, Dowden added in a similar speech to the celebration. Meanwhile, British Ambassador to Kuwait Belinda Lewis said the relations between both nations made headway in various fields, in economy, politics, culture and society. Recalling the milestones of 1961 and 1991 in the defense and security cooperation, she said the decades-long partnership has other wonderful aspects. Ambassador Belinda added that Kuwait offered great contributions to the UK.

‘Partner, important ally’
The State of Kuwait is a close partner and important to Britain, said visiting Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary of State in the Cabinet Office Oliver Dowden late Monday. Speaking to KUNA on his visit to commemorate 125 years of Kuwaiti-British diplomatic ties, Dowden affirmed that the close relationship between the ruling families of Britain and Kuwait had continued to feed and strengthen the exceptional ties linking both nations.

The strength of the decades-long relations between the UK and Kuwait was exemplified in the British participation in the operations to liberate Kuwait from the Iraqi invasion, he affirmed. The British official also reflected keenness on meeting Kuwaiti officials including His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Dr. Mohammad Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah and others during the celebrations to mark 125 years of diplomatic relations. In 2024, several Kuwaiti-British functions would be held to commemorate the decadeslong diplomatic ties, Dowden said, who revealed that his current visit to the State of Kuwait would be exploring opportunities to expand ties on all possible domains, especially cybersecurity and investments.

The UK has much to offer in terms of investments due to the secure and stable economic atmosphere, Dowden pointed out, adding that Britain was also eager to share its expertise in the military and security fields in addition to cybersecurity and Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies. The British official also said that this year would be witnessing the launch of the Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA), which Kuwaitis would be able to use by February 22 to ease travel procedures and stay in the UK. In regards to the situation in the region, namely the Gaza Strip, the British official displayed his country’s commitment to reach a ceasefire there and enabling the entry of humanitarian aid and release of hostages. If all parties acted in good faith, a permanent ceasefire could be reached and from there, a two-state solution could be implemented, he said.

UK For. Sec. hails ties British Foreign
Secretary David Cameron welcomed the 125th anniversary celebrations of Kuwaiti-British partnership, commending the longstanding bilateral diplomatic ties. This came during the Annual Arab Ambassadors Reception, held late Monday by the Conservative Middle East Council (CMEC) under the patronage of Kuwait Embassy in the UK, where they welcomed 125th anniversary celebrations of Kuwaiti- British partnership, Cameron expressed gratitude to Kuwaiti Ambassador to the UK Bader Al-Awadhi for sponsoring the reception and commended the historical Gulf-Middle East- British ties, stressing CMEC’s role in bringing UK politicians and the region’s leaders together. Regarding the war against Gaza, he stressed the importance of providing humanitarian aid to civilians in Gaza, noting that he appointed a special envoy during his visit to the Middle East last week to find out the reasons preventing aid from reaching the afflicted throughout the week, especially water and electricity. He explained that the next step should be a ceasefire that lasts for years, finding a peaceful political solution by working with partners and allies to guarantee a better future for both sides and establishing a Palestinian State.(KUNA)

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