Amir’s US visit new strate­gic co­op­er­a­tion chap­ter: En­voy

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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 exCENTCOM 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.

Global leader

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.

Strate­gic part­ner­ship

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.”

Strate­gic di­a­logue

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 busi­ness­mak­ing 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 AlAh­mad 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

KUWAIT: US Am­bas­sador to the State of Kuwait Lawrence Sil­ver­man speaks dur­ing an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view. — KUNA

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