Kuwait, Switzerland sign agreement
KUWAIT: Visiting President of the Swiss Confederation Johann Schneider-Ammann said yesterday that Switzerland and Kuwait cherish their freedom, are open to the world and actively contribute to strengthening international peace. He said in a statement on the sidelines of his ongoing visit to Kuwait that both countries are committed to preserving the harmonious coexistence of the diverse components of their respective national societies.
He said he was so happy to have the opportunity to pay this State visit to Kuwait and to celebrate fifty years of official relations between both countries, adding that talks with His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and other Kuwaiti officials were most substantial. He noted that just as significant, however, is the fact that they took place in the very spirit of cordiality and friendship that has always characterized mutual ties, be it at official level or simply in day-to-day contacts.
“This visit has convinced me that there is something special about our relations. It seems to me that despite certain obvious and natural differences determined by distance, geography and history, as well as cultural backgrounds and traditions, we do understand each other very easily, with a genuine feeling of familiarity and mutual benevolence,” he said.
The Swiss president added that Kuwait’s tradition of hospitality and openness to the outside world plays a major role here – it is after all an ancient trading nation where people from all origins, backgrounds and walks of life have met for centuries, done business together and established partnerships and friendships. Ties with Switzerland are no exception: although officially established in 1966, our mutual relations date back much further.
“For instance, the renowned quality of Swiss educational institutions has attracted Kuwaiti families for decades, and I am proud to note that several Kuwaiti alumni of Swiss schools and universities have gone on to play a decisive part in establishing an advanced and flourishing Kuwait. Today, Kuwaitis – including many of the country’s leaders, politicians and businesspeople – have a deep attachment to Switzerland, as I have been able to see for myself during my talks. Many have even chosen Switzerland as their second home,” he noted. He concluded by saying that friendship and mutual understanding stems from shared values and beliefs between the peoples of Switzerland and Kuwait.
President Schneider-Ammann arrived in Kuwait on Sunday for a state visit to Kuwait where he has already met with His Highness the Amir and several other senior officials. Kuwait and Switzerland have signed a memorandum of understanding on political talks, in presence of His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and President of the Swiss Confederation Johann Schneider-Ammann. The agreement was signed by Kuwaiti Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Suleiman Al-Jarallah and Swiss Assistant Undersecretary and Director of Middle East Affairs Ambassador Wolfgang Amadeus.
The Swiss President also met yesterday with First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Minister of Social Affairs and Labor, State Minister of Planning and Development Dr Hind Al-Subaih, Chairman of the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) Ali Mohammad Thunayan Al-Ghanem and Managing Director of Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) Bader Mohammad Al-Saad. Later during the day, Highness the Crown Prince hosted a luncheon in honor of the visiting president and his delegation. President Schneider-Ammann also visited the Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Center, where he toured this historic landmark.
President Schneider-Ammann’s visit represents a quantum leap in the two countries’ distinctive ties, Kuwait’s Ambassador to Switzerland Bader Al-Tunaib affirmed Sunday. The visit is part of the 50th anniversary of the Kuwaiti-Swiss diplomatic relations, Tunaib stated.
The two countries share common grounds in the political action such as democracy, state of law, and parliamentary authority, he said, adding that Kuwait and Bern also share mutual interests in the humanitarian action in conflict-stricken countries.
The Kuwaiti-Swiss ties have also gone beyond commercial and economic fields to reach joint political dialogue in a number of regional issues, Tunaib noted, pointing out Switzerland’s mediating role in the region, notably as the representative of Iran’s interests, in addition to hosting talks on Syrian and Yemeni crisis. – KUNA