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Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled reiterates Kuwaiti-Omani deep-rooted ties

KUWAIT: Kuwaiti and Omani officials attend the inauguration of the 8th session of the Kuwait-Oman Joint Higher Committee in Kuwait on Wednesday. — KUNA

KUWAIT: First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah on Wednesday reaffirmed that the Kuwaiti-Omani relations are deep-rooted and distinguished in all fields. Speaking during the inauguration of the eighth session of the Kuwait-Oman Joint Higher Committee, the minister said the meeting followed the historic visit by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to Muscat last February, then invited by Sultan Qaboos ben Said.

The warm official and popular reception of His Highness the Amir and his accompanying delegation reflected bilateral brotherly relations, warm sentiments and sincere friendship between the two nations, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled said. It also manifested renewed resolve of the two countries to work together as they shared identical views on international and regional issues, he stated. The minister expressed satisfaction over, and delight at brotherly atmospheres and spirit that dominated the historic visit, commending keenness of the joint committee to get an optimal benefit of the visit so as to cement and bolster bilateral relations in all fields, particularly commercial, economic, developmental and social domains. This embodies eagerness of the leaders of the countries to buttress these relations based on their strong conviction of the importance of proceeding with fulfilling the aspirations of people in both, he noted.

Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled said both Kuwait and Oman are on the threshold of a new phase of fruitful economic cooperation, after Kuwait Petroleum International (KPI) and the Oman Oil Company (OOC) signed a partnership agreement for cooperation in the development of Duqm Refinery and Petrochemical Complex in the Duqm Special Economic Zone (SEZ).
He voiced pride for signing the agreement, expected to play a key role for achieving aspired investment, strategic and economic cooperation to serve the interest of the two states. The total cost of refinery is estimated at $6-7 billion and it will create up to 800 jobs, he said, welcoming Oman’s call for promoting investment opportunities available in the Sultanate. The Minister also welcomed the call directed to Kuwait’s private sector for establishing investment partnerships with the Omani government to carry out development projects and programs.

Meanwhile, trade exchange between the two countries reached $360 million in 2016 compared with $280 million the previous year, an increase of 20 percent. Kuwait’s exports to Oman in 2016 hit $145 million, compared with $85 million in 2015, an increase of 40 percent. Imports from the Sultanate reached $215 million in 2016 compared with $197 million in 2015, a rise of 7 percent, the minister said.

The volume of joint investments reached $545 million in 2015. They were the fields of education, health, transport, construction, services, tourism, agriculture, gas, industry and others. A total of 557 Kuwaiti companies are operating in Oman. He voiced his satisfaction over achievements made by the joint committee, revealing that two memoranda of understanding are signed today on crafts industries and an executive program on educational cooperation. The two will be added to other memos aiming to cement and boost bilateral relations, he stressed.

In the meantime, Oman’s Foreign Affairs Minister Yusuf bin Alawi stressed the Sultanate’s support to all efforts made by His Highness the Amir to “remove tension in the Gulf relations and heal the rift between the GCC brothers as well as maintain stability and security in the region.”

Bin Alawi expressed hope of GCC nations that the efforts would help overcome political differences, and achieve stability, security and prosperity for all. He also congratulated Kuwait on winning a non-permanent seat at the UN Security Council for a two-year term starting in January 2018, stressing that “it is an achievement for both GCC countries and the Islamic world.” – KUNA

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