The Foreign Secretary William Hague and the Kuwaiti Foreign Minister chaired the inaugural meeting of the UK-Kuwait Joint Steering Group.
Speaking after the meeting, the Foreign Secretary William Hague said:
I was delighted to welcome His Excellency Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Kuwait’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister, to the Foreign Office today. The United Kingdom and Kuwait enjoy a historic relationship whose foundations date back to the eighteenth century. As long-standing friends we have been through much together, including the liberation of Kuwait from Saddam Hussein’s forces in 1991.
Kuwait is a key ally in a region with significant implications for the security and prosperity of the United Kingdom On coming to office I was clear that we needed to do more to enhance our relationship and today I am pleased to announce the inauguration of a new UK-Kuwait Joint Steering Group. This will meet regularly to deepen the strong ties between our countries and provide a forum to develop our partnership on trade, foreign and security policy – including the UK’s decision to help Kuwait with its security infrastructure to help counter the threat from terrorism - and development where Kuwait has a strong record as a generous donor.
Today we discussed our bilateral relations and reiterated our commitment to build on progress and increase trade to £4 billion by 2015. We also spoke about the political situation in Kuwait and I made clear the UK’s continued support for Kuwait’s deep-seated democratic tradition and its fully elected Parliament and vibrant media.
Finally we discussed the current situation in Middle East, including the Palestinian resolution at the UN General Assembly, Iraq, Syria and Iran. In particular I made clear that I believe it is time for a huge effort on the Middle East peace process and that we continue to urge the United States to give a decisive lead in the coming months before a two state solution slips away.