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Kuwait FM hopeful on developments in Gaza

At World Refugee Day event, Foreign Minister Abdullah Ali Al-Yahya discusses hopeful developments in Gaza, updates on the Mangaf fire tragedy, and Kuwait’s ongoing global humanitarian initiatives

• Minister Al-Yahya emphasises the severe humanitarian impact of conflicts in Sudan, Syria, Yemen, and Palestine, calling for global solidarity.

• Updates on the tragic Mangaf fire that claimed the lives of 45 Indian workers, with plans for repatriation and compensation discussed.

• Kuwait’s extensive aid efforts include significant contributions to the Syrian refugee crisis and support for displaced persons in Iraq and Jordan.

• Nisreen Rubaian, UNHCR representative to Kuwait, praises Kuwait’s impactful partnership, benefiting over 700,000 refugees in various countries through infrastructure and essential services projects.

Progress in Gaza conflict

At the celebration of World Refugee Day 2024 at the Kuwait Fund for Development, Foreign Minister Abdullah Ali Al-Yahya offered a glimmer of hope. He expressed optimism about the resolution of the long-standing Gaza conflict.

Minister Al-Yahya’s statement held a positive tone. “We are at the beginning of the end of the war in Gaza,” he declared. He highlighted ongoing negotiations and the efforts of US leadership, specifically President Biden and Secretary of State Blinken, to bring about a peaceful resolution. This suggests that behind the scenes, diplomacy might be making progress. With these developments, Minister Al-Yahya conveyed his hopes for positive changes for the Palestinian people in the near future.

Mangaf fire incident and Indian workers’ repatriation

Foreign Minister Abdullah Ali Al-Yahya provided updates on the devastating Mangaf building blaze, which claimed the lives of 45 Indian workers and injured 33 others.

The Kuwaiti government took immediate action in response to the disaster. Minister Al-Yahya highlighted his collaboration with his Indian counterpart, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, to ensure the swift repatriation of the deceased workers’ remains.

An Indian Airforce flight is scheduled to transport the remains, with Kuwaiti aircraft also on standby to assist. Details regarding compensation for the families of the deceased will be announced soon.

Minister Al-Yahya, along with the Health Minister, visited the hospitals treating the injured workers from the Mangaf fire.He provided assurance that most of the injured are in stable condition, though sadly, one worker succumbed to their injuries recently.

Kuwait’s commitment to humanitarian aid

The celebration of World Refugee Day 2024 at the Kuwait Fund for Development was a significant event. The Secretary-General of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, and other dignitaries, came together to raise awareness about the plight of refugees.

The event also served as a platform to recognize the efforts of countries like Kuwait. Kuwait has provided significant support to those affected by conflicts and disasters. Minister Al-Yahya, in his speech, highlighted the severe humanitarian crises caused by conflicts in the Arab region. These conflicts have ravaged countries like Sudan, Syria, Yemen, and Palestine.

He specifically emphasized the ongoing tragedy of the Palestinian people. This stateless population has endured hardship for over 76 years. Minister Al-Yahya pointed to UNRWA data, which indicates that a staggering 6 million Palestinians are registered as refugees.

He drew particular attention to the plight of over two million Palestinian refugees in Gaza. These individuals have faced unimaginable suffering, including abuse, starvation, and a situation akin to genocide, for more than 250 days. The Minister called for global solidarity to address this severe injustice.

Kuwait’s Foreign Minister reiterated the country’s unwavering commitment to helping the most vulnerable. He emphasized that this mission will not be deterred by any obstacle. Kuwait is determined to continue standing by those affected by conflict and natural disasters. The Minister highlighted the importance of strong partnerships in achieving a world where no one is left homeless.

He provided concrete examples of Kuwait’s impactful contributions. These include supporting more than 200,000 refugees in northern Iraq and enhancing health services for over 100,000 refugees in Jordan. This crucial assistance has directly improved living conditions and met basic needs in conflict-affected areas.

He specifically pointed out Kuwait’s substantial support for the Syrian refugee crisis. This support amounts to approximately $1.9 billion and has benefited millions of individuals worldwide.

The Minister further emphasized Kuwait’s proactive role in providing direct humanitarian support. It is channeled through the Kuwait Fund and other official and civil organizations.

Importantly, Kuwait’s efforts extend beyond immediate humanitarian aid. The country is committed to long-term partnerships that aim to improve the lives of refugees and displaced persons for the long haul.

UNHCR collaboration and achievements

Nisreen Rubaian, the UNHCR Representative to Kuwait, expressed her deep appreciation for the partnership with the Kuwait Fund. This collaboration, she highlighted, has had a profoundly positive impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of refugees and forcibly displaced individuals.

Rubaian explained that over 700,000 refugees and displaced people in northern Iraq, Yemen, and Jordan have benefitted from various humanitarian projects made possible by this partnership. These projects encompass essential areas like infrastructure development, sustainable housing solutions, road paving, providing solar lighting, and ensuring access to health services.

Rubaian went on to emphasize the critical importance of international solidarity with forcibly displaced individuals. This solidarity, she stressed, is crucial in ensuring their safe return home whenever possible and fostering their ability to thrive within host communities.

The entire event served as a powerful testament to Kuwait’s unwavering commitment to humanitarian causes. Their continued efforts to make a positive impact on the lives of millions around the world were clearly on display. As Rubaian concluded, “Today, more than 30 years after the establishment of our office, I once again extend my congratulations to Kuwait and its people. You have consistently set an example for humanity. Over the years, the impact of your support has reached millions of people around the world.”

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