His Excellency Jusupbek Sharipov

On the occasion of the 20th Anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between Kyrgyzstan and Kuwait, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kyrgyz Republic to the State of Kuwait, His Excellency Jusupbek Sharipov, spoke with The Times Kuwait about the strong bilateral relations between the two countries and his hopes of further reinforcing these ties in all fields.

The ambassador began by speaking about current Kyrgyz-Kuwait relations and its potential for growth on all fronts: “Our relations have long historical roots and continued development of relations with the State of Kuwait is one of the priorities in the foreign policy of the Kyrgyz Republic. Modern interstate relations received a boost after the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, which this year on December 14, marked the 20th anniversary. For us, this period was very important and successful as it helped to create a strong basis for mutual cooperation.”

“I would like to point out that communications between our two countries are currently characterized by a very high level of mutual trust. And, most importantly, the Kyrgyz-Kuwaiti relations are based on mutual wishes of both people to cooperate constructively with each other. Bilateral relations between our countries have considerable potential for growth in all areas of cooperation, including in political, trade-economic, social and humanitarian domains. Also, there is another factor that adds to our high degree of cooperation; today, Kyrgyzstan and Kuwait are faced with similar problems and are moving towards comprehensive modernization and democracy,” said the diplomat.

Elaborating on the economic situation in Kyrgyzstan and pointing to areas that might be of interest to Kuwaiti businessmen, the envoy noted, “The economy in Kyrgyzstan is a developing one, based on free-market relations and private property values. While socio-economic reforms being carried out in the country have already begun to produce results, almost all spheres of economic activity of Kyrgyzstan need investment. According to the World Bank and other international organizations, in 2014, with its increase in gross national product, Kyrgyzstan moved from being listed as a poor country to the category of developing countries with an average income.”

“In the last few years the GDP growth of our economy was around 10.5 percent, however in recent years, due to ongoing economic crisis around the world, we expect economic growth to be only around half this figure. But, despite this downfall, the economic development of our country remains stable and predictable. Kyrgyzstan is also gradually becoming attractive for foreign tourists and businessmen. By the end of 2013 the country was visited by 3.5 million foreign tourists.

We are very glad that there is an increased interest in Kuwait to Kyrgyzstan. I would like to assure Kuwaiti investments and businesses that they can work in Kyrgyzstan practically in all spheres of activity and without limitations. I take this opportunity to emphasize that our embassy is always ready to help everyone to set up and organize business in Kyrgyzstan.”

Elaborating on Kyrgyzstan’s plans to focus on implementing an export-oriented production strategy to boost the national economy, and the cooperation opportunities between Kyrgyzstan and Kuwait in this field, the ambassador said: “Lessons from the global crisis have shown that it is imperative for all states to modernize. We closely follow the international experience and are committed to expanding and strengthening integration with individual countries, as well as with groups of nations and regional blocs.

”Pointing out that Kyrgyzstan has huge resources for the development of the mining industry, hydropower, manufacturing industry, various forms of tourism and the production of organic agricultural products among others, the envoy added: ”Kyrgyzstan also has the most liberal legal, tax, customs and investment laws to develop these sectors.

In addition, the Kyrgyz Republic has a non-visa regime for a number of countries, including Kuwait. We hope that these measures will be attractive for domestic and foreign investors. We welcome Kuwaiti investors to participate in the Kyrgyz economy, including through the mechanisms of implementation of different projects in Kyrgyzstan, whether investment, innovation or infrastructural. Our country is famous with the high-quality drinking water and ecological clean agricultural products, including the best fruit, sheep, and mountain-honey. All this we are ready to export to Kuwait.”

Highlighting the importance of promoting cultural ties as a means of further strengthening bilateral relations, Ambassador Sharipov said that holding Days of Culture of Kyrgyzstan in Kuwait and Kuwaiti Cultural Days in Kyrgyzstan were important for developing relations on the popular level. He added: ”Indeed, the Days of Culture has become a good tradition in international relations for the development of cultural ties between the countries.

We are planning next year to hold Days of Kyrgyz culture in Kuwait and Kuwaiti Cultural Days in Kyrgyzstan. These cultural exchanges will provide opportunities to introduce people of both countries to the culture of the other, while also helping to establish contacts between the cultural teams and identifying priority areas for cooperation in the field of culture and art. I want to note with satisfaction that there are mutual interests in cooperation in this direction.”

On the academic side, the diplomat noted: “I would also like to inform you, today in Kyrgyzstan, we are seeing a boom for studying the Arabic language. This reflects the mood and great interest of our society to learn more about the Arabic culture. And it is natural process, because our countries are Islamic countries and our population, especially the young, want to learn the language of the Holy Quran, want to know more about the Arab countries, including Kuwait, about its history and culture. Arabic is also taught in our leading universities. I am glad to see that in Kuwait there is a keen interest in Kyrgyzstan. Kyrgyz-Kuwaiti cooperation in the humanitarian sphere has great prospects, including through universities. We are interested in teaching students from Kuwait at the leading universities of Kyrgyzstan and to sending students from Kyrgyzstan to universities in Kuwait. Currently some Kyrgyz citizens are studying in Kuwaiti educational institutions. I think by the active mutual support we will increase the number of our students in our countries significantly.”

Asked about the recent visit to the region by the President of Kyrgyzstan His Excellency Almazbek Atambayev and the potential for a similar visit to Kuwait in the near future, the ambassador said: “From 2 to 8 December, 2014, our president made official visits to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the State of Qatar and stated that Kyrgyzstan had found new friends in the Arab world. During the visit several bilateral documents were signed between Kyrgyzstan and

these countries, and the president also established our embassies in the UAE and the State of Qatar. At the moment we are preparing for an official visit of President Atambayev to the State of Kuwait in the coming year.” “In the past, due to historical circumstances, Kyrgyzstan had limited relations with foreign countries, but now as a sovereign state we are trying to use the opportunity available today to develop bilateral relations with all countries and to attract external resources for modernization of our country and national economy. We are ready to strengthen cooperation with all countries that have an interest in cooperating with us.

Today, it is even more important for us to attract foreign investments effectively for the sustainable development of our national economy, to become a full member of the international community, to provide access for Kyrgyzstan to the global resources and high technologies, as well as to find a niche for export of our products on the world market. Returning to the Kyrgyz-Kuwaiti relations, I would say that the necessary groundwork has already been made in bilateral relations, but we must work very hard to implement the vast and rich potential of our countries for mutual cooperation.”

In conclusion, Ambassador Sharipov said that he was extremely pleased and proud to represent Kyrgyzstan in Kuwait and thanked the government and people of Kuwait for their support and hospitality and wished them all peace and prosperity.

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