Kuwaiti Minister of Information and Minister of State for Youth Affairs Sheikh Salman Sabah Al-Salem Al-Humoud Al-Sabah and the delegation accompanying him left here Saturday evening for Amman on their way to home after attending the opening ceremony of the 10th Palestinian International Book Fair.
This is the second visit by a Kuwaiti senior official to Palestine after the one paid by First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah in 2014.
Sheikh Salman, who doubles as Chairman of the National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters (NCCAL), has earlier today visited the holy city of Jerusalem, performed a prayer at Al-Aqsa Mosque and met a number of public figures in the city.
Speaking to KUNA before his departure, the minister said the visit to Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque was "an answer to my prayers." He said his visit, along with the delegation, to Jerusalem "left an indelible impression" on him and those with him, stressing his aspiration that the rights of the Palestinians be restored and that the city of Al-Quds or Jerusalem becomes a city for "all people."
In his address to the opening ceremony of the book fair which lasts until May 17, Sheikh Salman said Kuwait has remained steadfast in supporting the Palestine question since 1963.
"When Kuwait made its official debut at the United Nations in 1963, His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah - the then foreign minister, charted Kuwait's foreign policy which made the Palestine question a top priority and central issue for the Arab and Muslim nations," Sheikh Salman said.
"On behalf of Kuwait, the world center for humanitarian action and the capital of Islamic culture for 2016, I'd like to convey to you the greetings of, and a message of solidarity from, His Highness the Amir - the Humanitarian Leader, His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah," the minister told the gathering.
"Kuwait, a staunch supporter of the fair Palestinian question and seat of culture and humanitarianism, hosted the headquarters of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and we are here to show the depth of the Kuwaiti-Palestinian ties in the political and cultural domains," he pointed out.
He noted that the visit of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to Kuwait in 2013 and the reopening of the Palestine embassy represented a new stage in the bilateral ties.
"Kuwaiti First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah also paid a historic visit to Palestine in 2014 which gave momentum to the political and people-to-people relationship," he went on.
Sheikh Salman reaffirmed Kuwait's commitment to moderate policy and opening up to the positive cultural interaction with the Arab and Muslim nations, while opposing the extremist ideology.
He lauded the contributions of the Palestinian teachers to the promotion of the educational process and the cultural movement in Kuwait since 1930s.
In earlier press statements upon his arrival here, Sheikh Salman said his visit to Palestine attests to Kuwait's continuous support of the Palestinian cause, no matter what circumstances arise.
"The Palestinian cause has always been a primary one in our collective conscience for which we have assiduously worked toward realizing the rights of the Palestinian people.
"We have come to let the Palestinian people know that we stand by them and hope that they surmount the difficulties in their lives.
"We are happy and proud to take part in the book fair along with our Palestinian friends and affirm the continuation of Kuwaiti-Palestinian relations under all circumstances, as the two peoples harbor love and respect for each other," said the minister.
Referring to the city of Al-Quds or Jerusalem, he said: "Undoubtedly, Al-Quds bears a significant Arab, Islamic, and worldwide cachet and is part of our collective Arab conscience and we never cease to support it in all ways and means and look forward to having east Al-Quds or east Jerusalem become the capital city of a Palestinian state." On his part, Mohammad Al-Asousi, NCCAL's Assistant Secretary General, said Kuwait's eagerness to effectively contribute to the book fair shows the strong bonds linking the two Arab nations.
Palestine is always close to Kuwaitis hearts and minds through the Palestinian cultural publications and productions, he said.
The Kuwaiti participation at this cultural event for the first time embodies the country's support of the fair Palestinian cause and people, Al-Asousi added.
Sheikh Salman had met meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Amman yesterday, before meeting with Prime Minister Rami Al-Hamad, the Secretary-General of the Palestinian Presidency Al-Tayyeb Abdulrahim who presented him a china model of Al-Aqsa Mosque as a souvenir and Minister of Culture Ehab Bseiso here today.
The delegation included Deputy Chairman of KUNA Adnan Al-Rashed, Assistant Foreign Minister for the Arab Homeland Affairs Aziz Al-Dihani, Assistant Undersecretary of the Information Ministry Khaled Al-Rashidi, director of the technical office of the state ministry for youth Affairs Lana Abu-Eid, NCCAL Assistant Secretary-General Mohammad Al-As'ousi, NCCAL's advisor Walid Al-Seif and director of information minister's office Saud Al-Khaledi as well as several other intellectuals and media people.
They were seen off in Ramallah by Al-Tayyeb Abdulrahim, Undersecretary of the Palestinian Ministry of Information Mahmoud Khalifa, and Kuwait Ambassador to Jordan Dr. Hamad Al-Du'aij who accompanied the delegation during the trip.