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Luxembourg, Kuwait sign agreements to strengthen, expand bilateral relations

LUXEMBOURG: Kuwait’s ambassador Jasem Al-Budaiwi (left) and foreign minister of Luxembourg Jean Asselborn after signing the aviation agreement. —KUNA

LUXEMBOURG: Luxembourg and Kuwait signed two agreements recently, one in the aviation area and the other in the financial sector, that aim to further strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries. The first agreement on air service was signed by Luxembourg’s foreign minister Jean Asselborn and on behalf of the State of Kuwait by its ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg, the European Union and NATO, Jasem Al-Budaiwi. The second agreement on the additional protocol to the bilateral tax treaty was signed by Luxembourg’s finance minister Pierre Gramegna and Budaiwi. “I am very pleased that we sign this bilateral air service agreement today enhancing the already excellent bilateral relations,” said Asselborn in statements to KUNA and Kuwait TV after signing the agreement at Luxembourg’s foreign ministry. The agreement will provide a very strong legal framework to our national freight carrier CargoLux which is already flying to Kuwait once a week, he noted.

The additional protocol agreement provides untapped opportunities that exist in the area of financial services including Islamic finance, said Asselborn. He noted that in 2014 Luxembourg set up the first Sukuk listed in the euro currency. “I have good hope that these two agreements will substantially increase trade opportunities between our two countries in future,” he said. Asselborn also expressed praise and appreciation for Kuwait’s important role in the Gulf region and the Middle East. “Luxembourg appreciates the constructive role Kuwait is playing in the Gulf region and also in the Middle East. We are grateful for Kuwait’s leadership in the reconstruction efforts for Iraq and to its humanitarian assistance to UNRWA and for the Syrian people, “ he said. “Kuwait was always a very, very important mediator and also a very, very important country in the region.”

“Bilateral relations between Kuwait and Luxembourg have been excellent and they remain excellent,” he said noting that in recent years the two countries have exchanged high level visits and he hoped that the visit will continue once the pandemic crisis is over. Noting the passing away last year of His Highness the late Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Asselborn said he had met him several times. “He was a tireless advocate for peace, for dialogue and for humanitarian action,” he stressed. “He will be missed by all of us and I am convinced that his legacy lives on thanks to his successor His Highness Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al- Sabah,” he added.

Meanwhile, Budaiwi said that these two agreements are a milestone in the relationship between Kuwait and Luxembourg. “We truly believe that both sides will benefit from these two agreements,” he said. The additional protocol agreement, Kuwait as one of the major countries in the world that has a Sovereign Fund and depends on foreign investments, he said, provides safety and assurance to its investments outside Kuwait. He noted that Luxembourg is considered to be one of the major and important financial centers in the world. “Also this agreement covers aspects that Luxembourg provides in the sector of Islamic sukuk and in this regard we are very happy and honored to cover this aspect,” said Budaiwi. “We look forwarding to boosting our financial relationship with Luxembourg in many aspects,” he said.

On the aviation agreement, the Kuwait ambassador said “it is a very important agreement that provides two important goals for Kuwait.” The first one is to boost aviation cooperation between Kuwait and Luxembourg and that it is now regulated and that all sides are benefiting from this aviation relationship. The other goal that Kuwait achieved with this agreement is that it is signed in compliance with EU regulations, he said. Therefore this agreement will provide the basis for Kuwait’s future aviation relations with the other 26 EU member states, he clarified. Another important aspect is that Kuwait is now in the process of building it’s state-of-the- art airport which will finish in the next few years and will serve many airlines and millions of passengers. So today’s agreement with Luxembourg and with hopefully with other EU countries in the future will provide with the aspects for Kuwait’s airport according to international standards, added Budaiwi.

Pierre Gramegna in statements to KUNA and Kuwait TV, expressed his happiness to have signed this “important agreement” with Kuwait noting that financial services are very important in Luxembourg. “We are in terms of investments funds in the second largest place in the world,” he said. “We have more than 120 banks in Luxembourg and we are an important investment partner for Kuwait and the other way round you have huge reserves not only for oil but sovereign fund that is very powerful and could use the expertise of our financial sector,” said the Luxembourg finance minister. “Thanks to the agreement that we made today our cooperation is going to be very fruitful,” he added. — KUNA

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