FeaturedRegionalTareq Yousef AlShumaimry

Kuwait, Bahrain explore new horizons in bilateral relations

By Tareq Yousef AlShumaimry

The upcoming visit by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al- Jaber Al-Sabah to the Kingdom of Bahrain, once again brings to the fore the deep-rooted ties between the two countries, at the leadership and government level, as well as between people of Kuwait and Bahrain.

The strong bonds that bind Kuwaiti-Bahraini relations have withstood the tests of time and were fortified throughout the history of the two nations. More recently, in 1990-91 during the vicious invasion and brutal occupation of Kuwait by Iraqi forces, Bahrain was among the first to express solidarity with Kuwait and its sovereignty. The kingdom also played a pivotal role in providing logistical and military support to the coalition forces during the liberation of Kuwait.

On the diplomatic front, Bahrain helped draft several United Nations Resolutions condemning Iraq’s invasion and calling for the regime’s total withdrawal from Kuwaiti territory. Bahrain also voiced its full support to Kuwait at various international gatherings that called for the return of legitimacy to Kuwait.

In addition, the kingdom also welcomed and provided shelter to more than 12,000 Kuwaitis who were uprooted during the invasion, and the Bahraini government formed a special committee to handle the affairs of displaced Kuwaitis. The brotherly state was also in the forefront post-liberation, when it provided medical support and assistance in infrastructure reconstruction and rehabilitation.

The fraternal relations were further boosted during those traumatic times by the visit to Kuwait by the late King of Bahrain Sheikh Isa bin Salman Al-Khalifah — in June 1991, shortly after the liberation of Kuwait — to congratulate the late Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and the Kuwaiti people on the return of Kuwaiti legitimacy and the defeat of the Iraqi occupation.

In an emotional speech on the occasion, the Bahraini monarch said, “It is a most joyful hour for me to meet my brother the Amir [Sheikh Jaber] in Kuwait after the scourge has been lifted off Kuwait and its return to its people.” Reciprocating his gratitude and in recognition of Bahrain’s great efforts, the late Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Jaber Al- Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah went to Bahrain to express his gratitude and Kuwait’s appreciation for all the support extended by Bahrain during Kuwait’s darkest hours.

Moreover, in 2003, during the Iraq war, Bahraini troops arrived in Kuwait to participate in protecting the borders during the entry of US forces into Iraq to oust the former Iraqi regime. For its part, Kuwait has also taken honorable stances in its relations with Bahrain. During the unfortunate events that unfolded in Bahrain in February 2011, Kuwait voiced its strong support for the Bahraini leadership and the Government as well as dispatched its naval forces to participate under the Peninsula Shield Forces in Bahrain to maintain security in the Kingdom. Also in 2018, Kuwait partnered with Saudi Arabia and the UAE to support the efforts of the fiscal program in Bahrain through a US$10 billion aid package.

Over the past decades, relations between Kuwait and Bahrain have witnessed significant development at all levels, especially since the establishment in 2001 of joint higher committee for cooperation, which has led to the signing of eight agreements in the field of diplomatic, consular, tourism, air, cultural, educational and media cooperation, as well as memorandum of understanding and executive programs for cooperation in various fields.

On the economic front, trade between the two countries by the end of 2022 totalled over $482 million, while Kuwaiti direct investments in Bahrain exceeded $2.3 billion.
 In addition, the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development has signed 19 agreements with Bahrain, worth over $1.5 billion. Latest available figures show that trade between the two countries in 2023 increased by 10 percent from a year earlier. The two countries continue to seek developing their bilateral relations on all fronts for the mutual benefit of the two states and their people.

Speaking ahead of the imminent visit to Bahrain by the Amir of Kuwait, the Foreign Minister of Bahrain Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani affirmed the kingdom’s pride in the visit of the Amir of Kuwait, as it embodies the depth of the distinguished deep-rooted exemplary relations between the two countries’ leaderships and peoples, stressing that the visit would help strengthen the bilateral relations that are a role model for solid political and security alliance, as well as robust economic integration.

He also highlighted the two countries’ keenness to ensure the unity of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), as well as champion just Arab and Islamic causes, the foremost of which is the support for the Palestinian people’s freedom and security, in addition to their right to establish their independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

In addition, he stressed the two countries’ pioneering regional and global contributions to safeguarding security and peace, ending wars, settling conflicts peacefully, combating extremism and terrorism, promoting tolerance and dialogue, serving humanity and achieving sustainable development goals.

In his statement ahead of the visit to Bahrain by His Highness the Amir, Shaikh Thamer Jaber Al Ahmad Al Sabah, the Kuwaiti ambassador to Bahrain, said that the upcoming visit of His Highness the Amir of Kuwait to Bahrain would further strengthen the historical ties between the two countries. He affirmed that Bahraini-Kuwaiti relations are deep-rooted and harmonious as they go back generations and exceed all political and diplomatic rhetoric.

Adding that the upcoming visit was within the framework of enhancing cooperation and coordination between the two countries in various domains, Sheikh Thamer stated that the meeting between His Highness the Amir and His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa would build on bilateral achievements and further cement the strong fraternal relations between the State of Kuwait and the Kingdom of Bahrain and its people.

Tareq Yousef AlShumaimry, served as Chairman of the Finance Committee and Chairman of the General Budget Committee of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague (PCA) and an observer in the Administrative Council of the Court and the Consular at International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the Embassy of the State of Kuwait in the Netherlands during this period from 2013 to 2020.
Email: tareq@alshumaimry.com

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