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Kuwait-UK celebrate 125 years of friendship

A living, breathing – and flourishing relationship

UK embassy in Kuwait launched on Monday 29 January a whole year of celebrations marking 125 years of official diplomatic relations between the United Kingdom and the State of Kuwait.

Attending the celebrations Minister of the Amiri Diwan Affairs Sheikh Mohammad Al Abdullah Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah was UK Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary of State in the Cabinet Office Oliver Dowden.

Addressing the exclusive gathering Sheikh Mohammed Al-Sabah said that Kuwait took great pride in its exemplary relations and cooperation with the United Kingdom.

“The exemplary historical relations keep growing under the sovereign care of the political leadership of Kuwait, at the core of which is His Highness the Amir Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah,” he said in a speech to a celebration marking the 125th anniversary of the relations.

The function, held by the British Embassy saw heads of diplomatic missions as well as a galaxy of Kuwaiti dignitaries and local residents participate in the celebrations.

Sheikh Mohammad said the two countries decided to declare 2024 a year of the Kuwait-UK partnership as per a memorandum of understanding signed in last August 29 during the visit to the United Kingdom by His Highness the Amir – the then crown prince.

“The relationship keeps growing and deepening thanks to the historic stances and solidarity in all areas, particularly when it comes to the protection of Kuwait’s security and stability, and the promotion of the prosperity of both countries,” the minister noted.

“The state-to-state and people-to-people exchanges also add momentum to the friendly relations,” he noted. Sheikh Mohammad Al-Abdullah noted that economic cooperation between both countries has seen milestones since the establishment of the Kuwait Investment Office (KIO) in London more than seven decades ago.

KIO turned to be one of the world’s biggest sovereign funds with volume of investments amounting to nearly USD 300 billion in Europe and the two Americas, including USD 40 billion inside the UK, he said, noting that the Kuwaiti investments helped create up to 150,000 jobs in the UK so far.

Sheikh Mohammad Al-Abdullah recalled UK’s supportive stances of Kuwait right to protect its security and independence since 1920, including during the incidents of 1961 and the honorable stance against the Iraqi brutal invasion of 1990.

On his part, the UK Deputy Prime Minister expressed pleasure for designating 2024 a year of Kuwait-UK partnership, saying that the partnership is one of the most important sources of strength and resilience of both sides in the face of challenges.

The diplomatic relationship doesn’t tell the whole story as the two countries a friendship spanning over 125 years since the signing of the UK-Kuwait agreement, Dowden added.

Adding that the phrase “diplomatic relations” didn’t really tell the full story he said what they were celebrating here was friendship. One that stretches back long before the Anglo-Kuwaiti Agreement was signed.

Dowden pointed that it was during the 1700s when their two nations first enjoyed fruitful trading ties. In fact, the first accurate survey of Kuwait Bay was made by the captain of a British ship, the Eagle, when it docked here in 1777.

In the centuries since, the world has weathered choppy waters and stormy seas – but our friendship has held steady, he added

Meanwhile, British Ambassador to Kuwait Belinda Lewis said the relations between both nations made headway in various fields, in economy, politics, culture and society.

Recalling the milestones of 1961 and 1991 in the defense and security cooperation, she said the decades-long partnership has other wonderful aspects.

Ambassador Belinda added that Kuwait offered great contributions to the UK.

Bilateral trade was booming – worth over £5 billion in 2023, which is an increase of more than 66% on the year before. And investment flows are larger and more diverse than ever.

Ambassador Lewis pointed that it was important to remember that the two countries bond exist because of the bonds between our people.

Those bonds are found not just in politics and trade, but in culture, education and tourism too, she concluded.

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