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Kuwait a beacon of peace, compassion in a troubled world
February 22, 2018, 11:14 am
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His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah

On 25 and 26 February, Kuwait celebrates the anniversaries of its 57th National Day and 27th Liberation Day, as well as the 12th year of ascension of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. On this joyous occasion, The Times Kuwait extends hearty felicitations to the leadership, government and people of Kuwait.

Since becoming a sovereign nation in 1961, Kuwait has steadfastly striven to advance the economic, social and cultural development of its people while promoting peace, tolerance and coexistence among nations around the world. Pursuit of these noble ideals, along with an unwavering obligation to the fundamental social values of freedom, democracy, human rights and the dignity of the individual, as well as genuine compassion for the plight of people everywhere, irrespective of race, religion, gender or language, have made Kuwait a beacon of peace, tolerance and humaneness.

During the past 57 years, as Kuwait continued its steady march along the path of growth and development to ensure the wellbeing and prosperity of its people, the country’s commitments to humanitarian causes and its adherence to the lofty principles of kindness and generosity have been recognized globally. In 2014, the United Nations acknowledged this by conferring on Kuwait the befitting title of “an international humanitarian center” and His Highness the Amir was designated as a “humanitarian leader” of the world.

In his statement on accepting the honor from the United Nations on September 2014, His Highness the Amir expressed “appreciation for the gracious and unprecedented gesture towards the people and government of my country Kuwait, and towards me personally”.  He added the honor bestowed on him and the country were “a tribute to all the people of Kuwait in appreciation of their longstanding and ongoing benevolence”.

He pointed out that since gaining independence and its consequent membership of the United Nations, the State of Kuwait had followed a steady approach in its foreign policy based essentially on providing humanitarian assistance to all needy countries, regardless of their geographic location, religious beliefs or ethnic origins.

He concluded by stating, “I also would like to renew the commitment of the State of Kuwait to the United Nations and its noble message of the preservation of international peace and security, the dissemination of the principles of justice and equality, and ensuring a life of dignity and welfare to the peoples of the world.”

Kuwait has been a valued, actively involved partner of the United Nations ever since it became the 111th member of the global organization in 1963. Immediately after the country’s independence in 1961, Kuwait’s leadership realized that a strong and robust presence on the international diplomatic scene was pivotal to the country’s survival and existence as a nation. Accordingly, one of the first decisions of the fledgling State of Kuwait was the establishment of a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the appointment of then Deputy Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Salim Al-Sabah as the country’s first Foreign Minister.

In 1963, following the appointment of Sheikh Sabah Al-Salim as Prime Minister, the role of foreign minister fell on the young shoulders of Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the present Amir. For the next forty years, until his appointment in 2003 as prime minister, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad served as the country’s foreign minister, building and reinforcing diplomatic relations and spearheading the implementation of Kuwait’s foreign policies with nations around the world.

In his first speech following the hoisting of Kuwait’s flag at the United Nations headquarters in New York, Sheikh Sabah said: "Kuwait's participation in international activities clearly indicates that our independence and our membership of the UN are not an end by themselves, but are rather a means by which Kuwait can share responsibility in improving the lives of the people in our country and in other countries."

Over the years since its independence, Kuwait has established diplomatic ties and expanded bilateral relations with countries worldwide, based on mutual adherence to the principles of equal rights, self-determination and non-interference in the internal affairs of other states. Through its ‘quiet diplomacy’, constructive cooperation, and positive dialogue, Kuwait has sought peaceful solutions to conflicts around the world, and strived to solve social, economic and humanitarian problems, both on the regional and global level.

In the past five decades and more, Kuwait has been involved on its own, as well as by collaborating and contributing generously to various UN bodies, in relief operations in the aftermath of natural calamities or other catastrophes and emergencies around the world. Kuwait has also steadfastly been in the lead in providing assistance for international development through the country’s flagship organization for foreign development assistance, the Kuwait Fund. Since its establishment, the Kuwait Fund has provided training and technical assistance, as well as soft loans and grants totally nearly US$20 billion to more than a 100 developing countries in the Middle-East, Africa and Asia.

A foreign policy characterized by transparency, clarity, generosity and sincerity, has allowed Kuwait to establish and consolidate strong relations with nations all over the world. These strong ties were clearly demonstrated by the overwhelming support to Kuwait from the international community in response to the vicious invasion and occupation of the country by Iraqi forces in 1990. The illegal occupation of Kuwait not only met with international condemnation, and brought immediate economic sanctions against Iraq by members of the UN Security Council, but also more than 30 countries participated by contributing troops to the international coalition formed to drive out the occupying forces.

For the past 57 years, Kuwait diplomacy has pursued the just causes of the Arab world and sought to find solutions to regional and international issues through dialogue and discussions without resorting to violence. Attesting to the maturity of the country’s political and foreign policy, and also underscoring the diplomatic maxim that there are no permanent friends or enemies in international relations, only abiding interests, Kuwait and Iraq reestablished diplomatic ties and two countries reopened embassies in each other’s capitals in 2008. The historic visit to Iraq in 2012, by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, to attend the 23rd Arab Summit held in Baghdad, had a profound impact on further consolidating relations between the two countries.

Kuwait’s keenness to build bridges of friendship and solidarity among nations around the world, its independent and moderate foreign policy and its desire to seek accord among diverse viewpoints, have come together to make the country an oasis of peace and voice of reason in a troubled region. Kuwait has been arbitrator of choice in the Arab world whenever disagreements arise or boil over into conflicts. Kuwait is currently a partner along with the UN in negotiations to end the conflict in Yemen, as well as the respected peacemaker in the ongoing attempts to reconcile the difference between Qatar and its immediate neighbors, Bahrain, Saudi Arabian and the UAE, as well as Egypt.

Influence of Kuwaiti diplomacy on the international stage and its image as a promoter of peace and resolver of conflicts threatening stability in the world can be summarized best by His Highness the Amir’s words. At the First Asian Cooperation Dialogue Summit, which Kuwait hosted in 2012, His Highness the Amir stated that despite different ethnicities and religions, the peaceful coexistence exhibited by people of the Asian continent, “reinforces the principle that knowing each other is better than ignoring each other, and coexistence is better than fighting, and standing by each other is better than being rivals of each other.”

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