KUWAIT: His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah’s upcoming US visit will open a new chapter of multi-faceted strategic ties and cooperation, while Washington was throwing its weight behind Kuwait’s mediation in ‘intra-GCC’ political dispute, a US diplomat said. His Highness the Amir’s next month visit to Washington DC, the fourth since his assumed office in 2006, will take place as Kuwait’s head of state continues his mediation efforts to solve the Gulf dispute.
His Highness the Amir’s mediation in the ‘intra-GCC’ political dispute is highly praised and supported, US Ambassador to the State of Kuwait Lawrence Silverman said. He made the remarks during an exclusive interview on the heels of retired US Marine Corps general and ex-CENTCOM Commander-in-Chief Anthony Zinni’s recent visit to Kuwait to reiterate support and discuss Kuwait’s efforts in resolving the ongoing feud between Qatar and another four Arab countries. This is Zinni’s first leg of a tour that will also take him to Jeddah, Manama, the UAE and Cairo in addition to Doha.
The US Administration had expressed support and appreciation of Kuwait’s mediation “because we want to see an end to this dispute as quickly as possible,” for the sake of the region, Silverman noted. Since early summer, Kuwait, supported by regional and international parties, have been mediating to solve the rift between Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates and Egypt on one side and Qatar on the other.
However, Silverman carried on saying, that this was not the only area that Kuwait has been active in. “Kuwait is truly a global humanitarian leader. What Kuwait is doing is not about charity only, but it is also investing in the stability of its neighbors, as well as preserving such stability. This is extremely important and very appreciative by those neighbors. It is a great vision on the part of His Highness the Amir and the Kuwaiti Government.”
Furthermore, it is highly praiseworthy that Kuwait have announced hosting a donor conference to the reconstruction of Iraq within the first quarter of 2018, he stressed. The conference, called by His Highness the Amir, aims to pool financial resources from international donors to help the Iraqi government rehabilitate areas recently liberated from terrorist groups.
“Kuwait, alone, hosted the first three Syria donor conferences, which were not only designated for helping refugees, but also supporting countries hosting them, in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq,” the ambassador pointed out. Silverman said the US was honored with His Highness the Amir’s forthcoming visit.
His Highness the Amir paid official visits to Washington DC in 2006, 2009 and 2013. He also participated in a GCC-US summit in Camp David in May 2015. “We are extremely pleased that His Highness is honoring us with the visit,” noted Silverman regarding His Highness the Amir’s September 7 scheduled visit to Washington DC, pointing out that this visit was planned before the Gulf crisis. “The visit reflects the very strong, close and strategic partnership between the United States and Kuwait, which is longstanding, but also we are in the process of enhancing that relationship; making it even closer,” he underlined. His Highness the Amir’s visit is a result of discussions that His Highness had with President (Donald) Trump earlier this year, in February, and during the Riyadh Summits in May, Silverman said.
“That was the genesis of the idea of having His Highness visit Washington and focus on the bilateral relationship, but of course also on regional issues that concern both of us,” he indicated. “This is also an opportunity for both delegations to have the second session of the Strategic Dialogue. Secretary of State (Rex) Tillerson very much looks forward to welcoming First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah to Washington to continue the work that we’re doing, including issues on defense; in conjunction with the US commitment to Kuwait’s security, which is continued. But also security when it comes to our joint; and separate, efforts, to fight terrorism and terrorism financing.”
Furthermore, Silverman said “we are also making progress in issues related to trade and investment, in both directions, in addition to education; a fundamental part of our relationship, with five generation of Kuwaitis who have studied in American universities and colleges. “It is really one of the foundation blocks of our relation, as part of the dialogue would be discussing possibilities in even furthering this cooperation. So, it is the whole gambit of relations.”
On the strategic dialogue, Silverman said it is basically a ‘government-to-government’ cooperation. “The Dialogue would also have an impact on the business and private sectors, in a bid to enhance trade and investment in both directions. “In this vein, we have about $3 billion in trade in each direction. I know that Kuwait wants more foreign investments here, including American investments, through their attempt to address various issues to streamline business-making in Kuwait.
“Whether it is cutting through the red tape (bureaucracy), or having even more transparency in the process of tendering for government contracts,” among other related issues. Another very important aspect of the trade discussion is the protection of intellectual property rights, he noted. “It is not only about American, but also Kuwaiti intellectual property rights, as Kuwaitis are impacted by this as well, where a Kuwaiti filmmaker, musician or poet, in addition to local software developers, need to know that they have the ability to sell their protected product, which would allow and encourage them to be more creative and productive.”
The strategic dialogue, first held last October in Washington DC, translates the vision of His Highness the Amir and the US Administration of strengthening bilateral relations and drawing a road map for such relations for the next 25 years. During its meeting two days ago, the Kuwaiti Cabinet was notified of the delegation that will accompany His Highness the Amir in the official visit to Washington.
The delegation includes Deputy Chief of the Kuwait National Guard Sheikh Mishaal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Khaled Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah, and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Anas Al-Saleh, in addition to senior officials of the Amiri Diwan, and other relevant bodies. Security and a media teams are also included. – KUNA