The fifth meeting of the biannual Kuwait-UK Joint Steering Group took place in Kuwait on 4-5 February 2015, chaired by the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kuwait, Ambassador Khaled Al-Jarallah, and the UK Minister for the Middle East, Tobias Ellwood MP.
During the meeting, ways to further strengthen mutual cooperation were identified. Both sides welcomed the progress made by the Join Steering Group and highlighted the importance of the bilateral relationship between the UK and Kuwait. They signed an action plan for the next six months, and a Memorandum of Understanding on education to strengthen further the bilateral links in this important sector, through exchanging experience and supporting Kuwait’s aims to improve its capacity in the field.
Both sides emphasised the importance of reinforcing UK-Kuwait bilateral relations in many sectors, including security, defence, economy, trade, investment, culture, migration, planning and development. The chairs agreed on the importance of exchanging visits, implementing agreements signed, and identifying and overcoming any obstacles.
Both sides also agreed on the importance of developing and strengthening trade and investment relationships, in particular Kuwait’s National Development Plan and infrastructure projects in the UK. Plans were made to further this cooperation through trade facilitation and the exchange of trade delegations.
The chairs were pleased with the close military links between the two countries, and agreed a mechanism for Kuwait to benefit further from British defence training and technology.
On security, both sides agreed to enhance cooperation in security and police training, aviation security, and on immigration and Sky Marshalls.
Discussions on bilateral cooperation in culture and education focussed on intensifying the cooperation between our countries’ scientific establishments and universities, providing facilities for Kuwaiti students in the UK and looking at how to increase student numbers.
Both sides emphasised the importance of cooperation in the field of medicine and medical researchers. They discussed ways to benefit from the development of the medical sector through training and providing facilities to Kuwaiti patients receiving private treatment in UK hospitals.
On wider issues, both sides focussed on the importance of fighting against terrorism and countering violence and extremism. They discussed the importance of sustaining human life and dignity, and freedom of expression, provided that it does not cross the line into incitement to extremism, hatred, or defamation. The chairs also praised the humanitarian efforts of both countries, particularly with regard to the suffering of people from Syria. The UK welcomed the decision by Kuwait to host a third Top Donor Pledging Conference to raise funds for the humanitarian situation in Syria.
Minister Ellwood and His Excellency Undersecretary Al-Jarallah concluded the meeting with the signature of a formal action plan for the next six months. Both agreed that there would be a sixth Joint Steering Group meeting in London in six months’ time.