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Holding Kuwait's flag high at the UN
July 13, 2014, 9:45 am
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His Excellency Mansour Al-Otaibi

Kuwait’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, His Excellency Mansour Ayyad Al-Otaibi, has been at the helm of Kuwait’s mission to the UN since 2010. A graduate in Political Science and Public Administration, Ambassador Al-Otaibi joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1989 at the Arab World Department. During the vicious Iraqi Invasion of 1990, he was the diplomatic attaché at the Embassy of Kuwait in Riyadh, before moving on to Kuwait’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations in 1992.

Slowly rising through the ranks at the UN mission, Ambassador Al-Otaibi became the Deputy Permanent Representative in 2006. In the 15 odd years he spent at the UN Al-Otaibi attended the General Assembly Sessions “since 46th session until 61st session” and represented Kuwait in several Committees such as:-The First Committee: Disarmament - The Fourth Committee: Special Political and Decolonization - The Fifth Committee: Administrative & Budgetary. In 2002 he was appointed the Vice Chairman of the Special Political and Decolonization Committee (Fourth Committee) 57th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

During the course of his work at the UN Mission Ambassador Al-Otaibi has attended numerous summits and seminars, held in New York, representing Kuwait’s viewpoints on these occasions. These include the Millennium Review Summit - High Level Meeting, held in 2005; the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference in 2005; the 25th Session "Implementation of the outcome of the UN Conference on human Settlement (Habitat II)” in 2001 and the 26th Session "Problem of HIV/Aids" in 2001.

Before being appointed as Permanent Representative, Al-Otaibi was the Minister Plenipotentiary and Director of International Organization Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he helped prepare for the Summit for the 25th Anniversary of the Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation of Organization of the Islamic Conference (COMSEC), which was held in November 2009 in Istanbul – Turkey. This was only a few months after he worked to organize Kuwait’s presence at 15th Summit Non Aligned Movement, held in Sharm El-Sheikh – Egypt. Earlier in that year he participated in the Ministerial Meeting on the UN Security Council Reform, Rome – Italy. In 2008 Ambassador Al-Otaibi was a member of the delegation that represented Kuwait at the 11th Summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, Dakar – Senegal.

Looking at the relations between Kuwait and the United Nations one realizes it has been a long and strong bond formed on convictions and beliefs. The state of Kuwait joined the United Nations Organization on 14 May 1963, to become the 111th member of this international organization. Over the span of 45 years, Kuwait made great contributions in the service of humanity through its actual participation in international bodies of the United Nations. Despite the recentness  of  the established relations between Kuwait and the United Nations, Kuwait has left an  indelible mark that have surpassed many nations that joined the United Nations since its founding.

However, the State of Kuwait did not earn its international standing among the member states of the United Nations through an easy accessible mission, but rather, the onset was characterized by a bitter political and diplomatic struggle, where Kuwait had to utilize all means available to it to lay the foundations of its political independence and national sovereignty over its soil.

Kuwait’s request to join the United Nations was hindered by Iraqi demands, while Kuwait’s request for military protection from Great Britain led to the United Arab Republic of Kuwait’s enjoining that as long as foreign troops were present on its soil, Kuwait could not join the UN. The Soviet Union, an ally of Iraq at that time, also rejected Kuwait’s request accusing Great Britain of reviving colonialism, and the adoption of battleship policy. The United Nations was unable to take decisive action due to the use of the Soviet Union its veto power.

Kuwait presented a complaint to the League of Arab States on 28 June 1961 it requested the convening of a session to discuss the problem, asserting that the presence of British troops on its soil was a temporary measure. Kuwait dispatched an official delegation headed by the late Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah (then Minister of Finance) to visit a number of Arab States, and, on 20 July 1961 Kuwait joined the League of Arab States as a fully fledged member. 

On 30 November 1961, Kuwait’s request to join the United Nations was discussed at the Security Council for the second time, after the withdrawal of the British forces from its territory. The United Arab Republic embraced this call, while Iraq rejected Kuwait’s accession to the United Nations under the pretense that Kuwait was not a state, nor did it have the qualifications of a state, and alleged that historically Kuwait was a part of Iraq besides being a British colony. The Soviet Union used its veto right one more time deny Kuwait from joining the United Nations. Of course, the veto by the Soviet Union was part of its support to Iraq as an ally.

After the fall of Abdul Karim Qassim on 8 February 1963, diplomatic relations between Kuwait and Iraq were established. And Kuwait provided a loan to Iraq in the amount of 30 million Dinars, with a symbolic interest rate of 1 percent. On 7 May 1963, the Security Council held another round of discussions to consider the accession of Kuwait to the United Nations. Iraq requested to postpone considering Kuwait’s request, however, the Security Council approved unanimously the request, including the Soviet Union.

In 2009, Mr. Mansour Al-Otaibi authored two books — The Question of Kuwait in the General Assembly (1990-2001) and The Security Council in the Face of the Iraqi Aggression on the State of Kuwait and its repercussions (1990-2008). These books were the product of his compilation and documentation of the years, he spent working as a diplomat at The Permanent Mission of the State of Kuwait to the United Nations and related to the Question of the State of Kuwait at the United Nations, and the positions of states vis-à-vis the resolutions taken in this regards.

Last week Ambassador Mansour Al-Otaibi showcased the Kuwaiti national efforts to realize the UN millennium goals. During a meeting for the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Ambassador Al-Otaibi stressed that Kuwait was keen on contributing to the international efforts to achieve the millennium development goals of 2015.

Kuwait, said the ambassador, has made "significant progress" towards achieving the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), reaching nearly 100 percent on some development targets and indicators, and reiterated its commitment, not only to achieve the remaining ones before the set deadline of 2015, but also to help other countries do so too.
The Goals are to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; achieve universal primary education; promote gender equality and empower women; reduce child mortality; improve maternal health; combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; ensure environment sustainability; and develop a global partnership for development - all by 2015. These are amongst the high priorities of the Kuwaiti government, said the diplomat.

Al-Otaibi said "Kuwait is committed to achieving the Millennium Development Goals for its citizens. It is equally committed to effectively assisting the development efforts of other countries by providing Official Development Assistance (ODA), which amounted to 1.32 percent of Gross National Income (GNI) for 2011-12, thereby exceeding the threshold of 0.7 percent established in the development goal on partnership for development."

He indicated that Kuwait had reached several aspects of the millennium goals namely within the education and the efforts in combating of poverty, adding that his country had also decreased consumption of material that is harmful to the ozone layer by 1.27 between 1993 and 2012.
Kuwait will embark on further efforts to decrease pollutants through partnership between the government and the private sector.

He indicated that Kuwait lending to other countries rose from USD 14.2 billion in 2009 to USD 16.8 billion in 2013, adding that between 2009 and 2013, the Kuwait Fund awarded USD 28.9 billion in loans to the transport and communications sectors, USD 20.2 billion to the energy sector, USD 9.3 billion to the agriculture and irrigation sectors, USD 7.5 billion to the water and sanitation sector, and USD 5.8 billion to the manufacturing sector; with loans to social services and development banks accounting for USD 2.8 and USD 2.3 billion, respectively.

In regards to development goals post-2015, the Ambassador stressed that Kuwait will continue to further support the UN as a gesture reflecting Kuwait's utter commitment to the international organization.

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