Diplomatic DiaryFeatured

Mongolia and Kuwait seek to boost relations further

Ambassador of Mongolia H.E. Sergelen Purev

By Reaven D’Souza
Executive Managing Editor

In an interview last week with The Times Kuwait, Ambassador of Mongolia H.E. Sergelen Purev spoke at length about the growing economic and cultural ties between Mongolia and Kuwait, and his hope that bilateral relations between the two countries will continue to grow from strength to strength.

Since his arrival in Kuwait in June 2022, Ambassador Sergelen has been working diligently to serve the best interests of his country in Kuwait and the region, as he is also the non-resident Ambassador to Qatar and Bahrain.

Ambassador Sergelen began the interview by expressing his gratitude to the leadership, government and people of Kuwait for the warm welcome accorded to him, and for the support given to the Mongolian embassy and to the Mongolian community in Kuwait. “I would like to thank the Amiri Diwan, the Government, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, Public Authority for Food and Nutrition, Chamber of Commerce and Industry and other authorities and partner companies. as well as the Kuwaiti people for their warm hospitality and cooperation.”

Noting that bilateral relations between the two countries were on a firm footing and growing stronger, Ambassador Sergelen said: “Kuwait is the first Gulf country to establish diplomatic relations with Mongolia back in 1975. In 1990, when Iraq invaded Kuwait, Mongolia was one of the first countries to denounce the foreign invasion. And Mongolians are very proud that we did so.

“The support to Kuwait was a milestone in our bilateral relations. Since then, our bilateral relations and cooperation have been expanding and developing year by year. On the diplomatic level, we will mark our half-century of diplomatic relations next year. On the eve of this 50th anniversary, the embassy has planned many events for 2024.

“On the government side, we currently have two political mechanisms namely Intergovernmental meeting and political consultation between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs. We successfully organized our third political consultations in December 2023, during which both sides discussed future potentials of development and agreed to bring our existing friendly relations and cooperation to a new level through an ‘Extended Partnership’ path by 2025.

“I would also like to highlight that the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development plays an important role in bridging cooperation between our two countries, and provides funding for five projects in Mongolia in the fields of road, transportation, energy and health sector. The Government and the people of Mongolia are thankful to the Kuwait Fund for this assistance.

“In economic relations, we are looking forward to continued mutually beneficial cooperation with our Kuwaiti partners. Within this framework, we successfully organized the first Mongolia – Kuwait Business Forum in Kuwait City on 8 March of last year. The forum was attended by 30 Mongolian businessmen from agriculture, meat export, tourism and cashmere sectors, and by 20 Kuwaiti businessmen from agriculture, construction, investment sectors. The gathering was also attended by high-ranking officials from both sides, as well as representatives of the Mongolian National Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

“Ahead of the forum, the Mongolian and Kuwaiti Chambers of Commerce and Industry signed a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation and coordination. During the forum,an exhibition of Mongolian export-oriented goods and products was held, while business delegations from both sides held B2B meetings to discuss business opportunities in the fields of agriculture, meat export, tourism and investment in infrastructure. In addition, we are working with our partners to open a Mongolian barbecue restaurant in Kuwait in the near future.”

Elaborating on his country’s initiative to popularize Mongolian food products and increase exports, the ambassador stated, “Within the framework of Mongolian President’s initiative of Food Revolution and the Government’s policy to support export, the Embassy dedicated significant time and effort in 2023 to start the export of meat to the State of Kuwait and other Gulf countries.

“The main requirement of the meat export to Gulf countries is halal certification. The Embassy has worked with the Gulf accreditation center based in Riyadh since December 2022 to get Mongolian agency for standardization and metrology to be accredited to issue halal certification. As a result of our efforts, the Mongolian agency was accredited and obtained the accreditation certificate on 20 December 2023. Also, the ban on Mongolian meat import to Kuwait has been lifted simultaneously by the Public Authority for Food and Nutrition.

“In addition five Kuwaiti meat importing companies expressed their interest to buy chilled and frozen Mongolian grass-fed sheep meat from Mongolia and signed initial contracts with seven Mongolian meat exporting companies during the business forum back in March 2023. A delegation from three Kuwaiti companies also visited Mongolia in November 2023 and went on a site tour of the Mongolian meat factories and companies. We are expecting the first import of Mongolian meat to Kuwait to be in the first quarter of 2024.”

Turning to tourism in Mongolia and establishing air links between the two countries, the ambassador disclosed that the civil aviation authorities of Mongolia and Kuwait have finalized the Air Service agreement that was initialed in February 2023, and both sides were working on signing the agreement during a high level visit in the near future. He added, “In terms of tourism cooperation, our two governments are working on finalizing an agreement on cooperation, which will give us the legal framework for cooperation.”

Pointing to touristic attractions in his country, Ambassador Sergelen said: “Mongolia, a country with its nomadic heritage and culture, stands as a testament to the harmonious coexistence of age-old traditions and vast, untouched landscapes. From the dunes of the Gobi Desert to the dazzling streets of our capital Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia offers a travel experience that is both enriching and unique.

“The Government of Mongolia has announced the 2023-2025 period as special tourism years to visit Mongolia, and launched the ‘Welcome to Mongolia’ campaign. As a result, the Lonely Planet nominated Mongolia as one of the top 10 destinations to visit in 2024. The Embassy is planning to organize a group trip from Kuwait to Mongolia, in coordination with the Ministry of Environment and Tourism of Mongolia and Mongolian tourist companies.”

Asked about cultural exchanges between the two countries, the envoy detailed, “Last year the embassy, in coordination with Kuwait’s National Council for Culture Arts and Literature, organized a ‘Mongolian Days’ event on 8 and 9 March, which was well received by the public. Within the framework of Mongolian Days event, the Mongolian Great Theatre of National Art with its 30 members, including singers, dancers and musicians performed for the first time in Kuwait at the Abdulhussain AbdulRedha Theater.

“The exceptional performance entitled ‘The Legend of the Nomads’ provided insight into Mongolian nomadic history and culture. Also, on the occasion, an art exhibition of our famous artists was displayed, as was a fashion show featuring top Mongolian models in traditional and modern clothing. In addition, there was a great performance by Mongolia’s famous opera singer.

“The embassy also organized a ‘Welcome to Mongolia’ reception at Grand Hyatt Hotel, where our artists performed Mongolian dance and music, while models showed traditional and modern clothes, in addition to an art display of paintings. The events were highly appreciated by the people of Kuwait and also by members of the diplomatic corps.

“In order to further strengthen people to people ties, the embassy has also been advertising Mongolia to Kuwaitis through its social media pages. Meanwhile, in Mongolia, the country’s TV channels and daily newspapers have been advertising Kuwaiti culture, tradition, and about Kuwait in general to the Mongolian public. As a result, the number of people visiting Kuwait and Kuwaitis traveling to Mongolia increased. We hope that the numbers will double in 2024.”

Rounding off the interview, Ambassador Sergelen said: “The current focus of the embassy is on starting the export of Mongolian meat to Kuwait, signing of the air Service agreement and the tourism cooperation agreement, promoting Mongolian tourism in Kuwait, and holding high level visits and intergovernmental meetings.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to invite all Kuwaiti citizens and residents to visit my beautiful country and experience the nomadic tradition, culture, and hospitality, as well as the breathtaking nature of Mongolia.

“Welcome to Mongolia.”

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