The fourth meeting of the biannual Kuwait-UK Joint Steering Group took place in London on 23-24 June 2014, chaired by the UK Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa, the Rt Hon Hugh Robertson MP, and the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kuwait, Ambassador Khaled Al-Jarallah.
Aimed at broadening and deepening even further the close and historic relationship between the UK and Kuwait, the Joint Steering Group was set up during the State Visit of the Kuwaiti Amir, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jabber Al-Sabah in December 2012.
This meeting agreed further steps to advance mutual cooperation in the fields of defence, security, migration, healthcare, education and culture, trade and investment, and energy.
Both sides set out a clear goal of strengthening Kuwait-British ties and defence engagement, including on military equipment and training.
Discussions on migration focussed on improving information exchange on illegal migration, which has strengthened considerably since the Joint Steering Group was initiated .Both sides discussed visa regimes, notably the forthcoming introduction of the Electronic Visa Waiver scheme in Kuwait, and agreed to keep open a dialogue on security issues.
Plans to further develop and deepen cooperation on security emerged from the first formal discussions on this topic to take place at the Joint Steering Group, which focussed on the potential for long term collaboration.
In the field of healthcare, a range of British public and private sector representatives discussed the potential for further cooperation in training and equipment, hospital management and healthcare provision.
The Ministers welcomed the signing of a significant Memorandum of Understanding on Higher Education and Research, and further progress in discussions on education and culture.
On trade, a broad discussion focussed on inward investment, and various opportunities for UK-Kuwait collaboration in the private and public sectors. The two sides explored sharing energy expertise in oil and gas and renewable energy, and investments and training in the UK energy sector.
Mr Robertson and His Excellency Undersecretary Al-Jarallah concluded the meeting with the signature of a formal action plan for the next six months, when the Joint Steering Group will reconvene in Kuwait City. Both expressed their happiness with the progress made during the work of the JSG and their shared commitment to advance the relationship to the benefit of both countries.
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