Kuwait, US agree roadmap for deep­en­ing part­ner­ship

US com­mit­ted to Kuwait’s se­cu­rity, hails anti-ter­ror role

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE -

Kuwait and the United States have agreed, at the con­clu­sion of the first Kuwait-US Strate­gic Di­a­logue, on a roadmap for deep­en­ing bi­lat­eral re­la­tions and part­ner­ships in var­i­ous do­mains. “The two sides rec­og­nize that to­day’s meet­ing was a com­pre­hen­sive ex­change that es­tab­lished a roadmap for deep­en­ing the Kuwait-US part­ner­ship in the com­ing years,” read the final state­ment of the meet­ing held in Washington on Fri­day.

The meet­ing, co-chaired by Kuwait’s First Deputy Prime Min­is­ter and For­eign Min­is­ter Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Ha­mad Al-Sabah and US Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry, dis­cussed spe­cific ini­tia­tives to en­hance de­fense, se­cu­rity, eco­nomic, com­mer­cial, po­lit­i­cal, ed­u­ca­tional, sci­en­tific and con­sular co­op­er­a­tion, and es­tab­lished work­ing groups to make progress in all these and other ar­eas be­fore the next Strate­gic Di­a­logue in Kuwait in 2017.

The US also com­mended Kuwait’s role in the war on ter­ror world­wide, es­pe­cially the op­er­a­tions against Daesh or the so­called Is­lamic State group. “US Sec­re­tary Kerry thanked (Kuwait’s First Deputy Prime Min­is­ter and) For­eign Min­is­ter (Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Ha­mad) Al-Sabah for Kuwait’s help in the fight against Daesh and its lead­er­ship in the Global Coali­tion to Counter ISIL,” read the final state­ment.

The state­ment also wel­comed Kuwait join­ing the Nether­lands and Turkey in cochair­ing the Global Coali­tion to Counter ISIL’s For­eign Ter­ror­ist Fighter work­ing group. Both sides pledged to con­tinue their ef­forts in coun­ter­ing vi­o­lent ex­trem­ism and in other se­cu­rity mat­ters, such as cy­berspace, and agreed to es­tab­lish a work­ing group to fol­low up and en­sure con­tin­ued progress.

“The United States and Kuwait un­der­took to bol­ster their se­cu­rity part­ner­ship in­clud­ing but not lim­ited to coun­ter­ing ter­ror­ism and ter­ror­ist fi­nanc­ing, par­tic­u­larly through en­hanced in­for­ma­tion shar­ing - and look for­ward to Kuwait’s chair­ing of the Mid­dle East and North Africa Fi­nan­cial Ac­tion Task Force (MENA-FATF) in 2017,” read the state­ment.

The US also recom­mit­ted it­self to the se­cu­rity and sta­bil­ity of Kuwait and the Gulf. “The United States is com­mit­ted to Kuwait’s se­cu­rity, and to work­ing with Kuwait to se­cure its home­land,” it stated. “The United States is pre­pared to work jointly with the GCC states, in­clud­ing Kuwait, to de­ter and con­front an ex­ter­nal threat to any GCC state’s ter­ri­to­rial in­tegrity that is in­con­sis­tent with the UN Char­ter.”

On mil­i­tary co­op­er­a­tion, both coun­tries an­nounced that they in­tend to build on a de­fense part­ner­ship that helps se­cure mu­tual na­tional and re­gional in­ter­ests. “The two sides tasked their teams with de­sign­ing a mu­tual strat­egy to im­ple­ment spe­cific mea­sures to en­hance this part­ner­ship, and com­mit­ted to con­tinue their co­or­di­na­tion through the US-Kuwait Joint Mil­i­tary Com­mit­tee,” the state­ment dis­closed.

On the econ­omy, they have en­cour­aged pro­pos­als to fos­ter greater US busi­ness ac­tiv­ity in Kuwait, in­crease in­vest­ments by Kuwait in the United States and es­tab­lished a work­ing group to make progress to­ward these goals. On ed­u­ca­tion, the con­fer­ees ar­gued that they see op­por­tu­ni­ties for fur­ther broad­en­ing and deep­en­ing peo­ple-to-peo­ple links through ed­u­ca­tional and sci­en­tific re­search co­op­er­a­tion. “The two sides es­tab­lished a joint work­ing group and charged it with ex­plor­ing ways to in­crease the num­ber of ex­change stu­dents, and de­vise spe­cific means of ex­pand­ing sci­en­tific re­search and tech­ni­cal co­op­er­a­tion,” noted the state­ment. The US govern­ment also ex­tended an in­vi­ta­tion to the Kuwaiti min­is­ter of ed­u­ca­tion to visit the US and meet pri­vate sec­tor or­ga­ni­za­tions and in­sti­tu­tions of higher ed­u­ca­tion and re­search.

More­over, the two sides reaf­firmed the im­por­tance of prompt con­sular no­ti­fi­ca­tion for cit­i­zens de­tained in ei­ther coun­try. They re­it­er­ated their com­mit­ment to keep­ing each other ap­praised of con­sular-re­lated mat­ters, and com­mit­ted to es­tab­lish­ing a work­ing group focused on con­sular is­sues. They also un­der­scored the need for closer co­op­er­a­tion on cus­toms and im­mi­gra­tion mat­ters. The United States and Kuwait look for­ward to the sign­ing of a Cus­toms Mu­tual As­sis­tance Agree­ment be­fore the end of 2016, which would al­low greater in­for­ma­tion shar­ing, train­ing and en­force­ment. “The work­ing groups es­tab­lished at this meet­ing in­tend to con­sult reg­u­larly in or­der to make tan­gi­ble progress for the peo­ples of both coun­tries,” the state­ment em­pha­sized.

Ear­lier, Kerry re­it­er­ated US’ com­mit­ment to main­tain­ing Kuwait’s se­cu­rity and sta­bil­ity, and de­fend it against any for­eign threats. Dur­ing his meet­ing with his coun­ter­part Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled at the Kuwait-US Strate­gic Di­a­logue, Kerry ex­pressed sat­is­fac­tion with the distin­guished re­la­tions with Kuwait. He com­mended the spe­cial part­ner­ships be­tween the two coun­tries in var­i­ous do­mains.

The US top diplo­mat ac­claimed Kuwait for its stren­u­ous ef­forts to re­solve re­gional crises, voic­ing ad­mi­ra­tion of Kuwait’s lead­ing hu­man­i­tar­ian role world­wide, es­pe­cially in the con­flict-rav­aged coun­tries of Syria, Ye­men and Iraq. He said Kuwait has played a great role to al­le­vi­ate the hu­man­i­tar­ian suf­fer­ing of peo­ple in need.

Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled lauded the strong re­la­tions be­tween his coun­try and the US, ex­press­ing hopes of the ful­fill­ment of the as­pi­ra­tions of the two coun­tries’ lead­ers and peo­ple to ex­pand strate­gic part­ner­ships in all fields and at all lev­els. — KUNA


WASHINGTON: Kuwait’s First Deputy Prime Min­is­ter and For­eign Min­is­ter Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Ha­mad Al-Sabah (left) and US Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry are seen af­ter the Kuwait-US Strate­gic Di­a­logue ses­sion late Fri­day.

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