MP Amelia Lakrafi to meet Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem today

KUWAIT: Ambassador of France to Kuwait Claire Le Flecher during a press conference yesterday. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

By Ben Garcia

KUWAIT: Ambassador of France to Kuwait Claire Le Flecher announced the arrival of French MP Amelia Lakrafi, who will meet National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem today. “Today we are happy to receive our French MP Amelia Lakrafi to strengthen our parliamentary cooperation,” she said during a press conference yesterday. “We believe Kuwait has strong parliamentary traditions and we value their traditions highly. With her visit, we are going to explore how the two parliaments can cooperate to strengthen our ties. Lakrafi is an advocate of women’s rights and is scheduled to meet some Kuwaiti women. The Middle East region is her region of focus. She will also meet French school and institute officials,” Le Flecher said.

“Within the framework of my mandate, I want to work on strengthening the attractiveness and influence of French companies in Kuwait. The upcoming signing of an MoU between French businesses and Kuwait Direct Investment Authority will promote investment between the two countries. We also wish to develop the working relationship with major Kuwaiti investors and financial players, both public and private,” she said.

The ambassador also mentioned strengthening military cooperation between France and Kuwait, recalling the participation in the 1990-1991 Gulf War of 15,000 French troops to liberate Kuwait from Iraqi occupation. “Our military ties continue, and I would like to reinforce and develop them further, especially over training and exercises with the national guard and national police. I will also focus on strengthening intelligence-sharing. In early 2022, we shall complete the delivery of Caracal helicopters, and have scheduled military exercises at the end of 2022,” she said.

Strong friendship

The envoy, who was speaking in her first meeting with reports since assuming her post in Kuwait, also spoke about her encounter with HH the Crown Prince when she presented her credentials. “I presented my credentials to HH the Crown Prince recently. Now I can represent my country and the French people at any official function since I am now fully recognized and authorized to do so. I was honored to present my credentials to HH the Crown Prince. I was the first ambassador he received (after HH the Amir delegated some of his powers to his deputy). We spoke about comprehensive cooperation between our two countries,” Le Flecher said.

“He mentioned our strong friendship and cooperation and invited President Macron on a state visit to Kuwait. I went back to France recently to convey the message to our president. It was received by authorities in France positively and they’ll be working on the schedule considering some factors, including the upcoming election in April and May, France taking the helm of the EU from Jan 2022 plus the current coronavirus situation in Europe. These factors may slow the process, but he is more than willing to come over,” she emphasized.

The envoy highlighted her country’s 2022 action plan, especially on celebrating 60 years of diplomatic ties with Kuwait. “I am lucky, because this year we are also celebrating our 60th year of friendship. This is a very special year for both of us. On August 28, 1961, France was one of the first countries in the world to recognize Kuwait. France has a multidisciplinary presence in Kuwait - we have the embassy, economic services, businesses and cultural and educational institutes. All these are just some of the tools which help strengthen bilateral relations between France and Kuwait,” Le Flecher said.

“I wish to continue the strategic dialogue in Kuwait that we started, this time on the ministerial level. I hope it will push through, but we are all aware of the current coronavirus situation all over the world and in Europe. We planned it in the first month of 2022 - the subcommittee has been working actively on this. Migration, security, health, defense, trade, investment and development, Francophone, education, and culture are all on the agenda. We are positive that after the dialogue, a number of agreements will be signed,” she concluded.