The ministerial meeting of the Kuwaiti-British Joint Steering Group held its 19th session in Kuwait on Tuesday. The meeting was chaired by Kuwait’s Deputy Foreign Minister Ambassador Mansour Al-Otaibi, and Minister of State for the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia and United Nations at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) Lord Tariq Ahmed.
At the advent of the meeting, the two sides took the opportunity to praise the contributions of the JSG to strengthening bilateral relations. They discussed bolstering bilateral cooperation in a wide array of domains including economy, defense, security, health, cultural, science, judicial, cybersecurity and development projects.
They welcomed the progress mutual cooperation over the past years. They looked forward to the launching of the joint strategic dialogue at the level of foreign ministers to take bilateral relations to new higher levels.
On defense cooperation, the two sides expressed their satisfaction with the progress made in this strategic field and the activation of the signed agreements. They mulled cooperation in the field of cybersecurity, notably the ongoing discussions in accordance with the memorandum of understanding signed between the two sides in this regard. They discussed cooperation with the National Center for Cybersecurity.
On security cooperation, Deputy Foreign Minister Al-Otaibi expressed Kuwait’s gratitude to the British side for the facilities to be provided to travelers through the electronic travel authorization system (ETA), which is expected to be implemented during the current year. He appreciated the British assistance to Kuwait to beef up aviation security measures.
He looked forward to holding joint events, training courses and workshops in Kuwait or Britain to raise the level of civil aviation security. The two sides deliberated in enhancing cooperation in combating corruption.
In terms of economic and trade cooperation, they hailed the steady growth of trade exchange between the two countries and emphasized the importance of maintaining the flow of mutual investments.
They looked forward to continuing trade and economic partnership between the two countries, and benefiting from the expertise of the British side in the field of supporting and developing the small and medium enterprises sector.
They discussed cooperation in holding tax-related training courses and workshops as well as Kuwait’s benefiting from the British experiences in privatization. In cultural and educational cooperation, it was highlighted that the United Kingdom is a major destination for scholarships for Kuwaiti students.
They mulled cooperation in quality assurance systems applied to improve the level of higher education as well as teacher training programs as well as the cooperation programs between the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research and the British counterparts. With regard to development cooperation, they discussed exchange of experiences, as well as the possibility of cooperation in development programs related to energy transition, climate, environment and food security, and support for training programs established by the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development.
In the field of health, they discussed cooperation in the pharmaceutical sector, digitization of the health sector, and training programs for medical personnel.
During the session, the joint legal and judicial cooperation group resumed discussions over cementing bilateral cooperation, especially by implementing the signed agreements. Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Mansour Al-Otaibi, on behalf of the Kuwaiti side, and British Minister of State for Middle East Affairs, Lord Tariq Ahmad signed a memorandum of understanding between the two countries to establish a joint strategic dialogue.
The work plan of the joint steering group for the next six months was also signed. A memorandum of understanding was also signed between the governments of the two countries regarding the restoring the Kuwait Health Office in London’s funds which were recovered by the metropolitan police in London.
The memo was signed by Dr. Yaqoub Al-Tamar as a representative of the Kuwaiti side, Assistant Undersecretary of the Ministry of Health for Foreign Health Services Affairs, and the British Ambassador Belinda Lewis.