By Ambassador of Canada to the State of Kuwait, Aliya Mawani and Commander of Canada’s Task Force in the Middle East, Brigadier-General Wade Rutland
As Kuwait marks its National and Liberation Days, we take the opportunity to recognize this country as a key defense and security partner for Canada. We see daily that the global security environment is an increasingly complex one, as threats transcend national borders and regional boundaries. Recent history has shown us how the actions of state and non-state actors alike can perpetrate violence, spread disinformation, destroy infrastructure, displace people and disrupt trade.
In the face of these threats, Canada and Kuwait remain important partners, committed to promoting global security and stability, which are the foundation for economic development and prosperity – not only for our two countries, but for the world at large. Like Kuwait, Canada favors a multilateral approach to solving problems and we firmly believe that more can be accomplished together.
This has been a hallmark of Canada-Kuwait cooperation since diplomatic ties were established in 1965, and it is why, 32 years ago, some 4,500 men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces helped to liberate Kuwait from invasion and occupation. Canadians were active in this effort by air, land and sea; guarding allied ships and monitoring maritime traffic, protecting airspace over Kuwait and contributing to air combat missions, enforcing sanctions and establishing a field hospital.
After liberation, Canada sent highly qualified firefighters to Kuwait to combat devastating oil fires and specialists in de-mining, oil clean-up operations, and wildlife protection to help rehabilitate the environment. Since Kuwait’s liberation, Canada has continued to address persistent security challenges in the region through deployments to peacekeeping and maritime security missions, and has stood ready to respond to new challenges that could profoundly destabilize the region and threaten our friends, including the people of Kuwait.
In response to such a threat, in 2014 both Canada and Kuwait joined the Global Coalition against Daesh, which brought together a total of 85international partners. The Canadian Armed Forces played an active role in military operations against Daesh, as part of which Canadian fighter, reconnaissance and transport aircraft conducted their missions out of Kuwait, including from Canada’s permanent base at Ali Al Salem Air Base, known as Camp Canada.
Following the military defeat of Daesh, the focus of our regional taskforce, known as Joint Task Force IMPACT, is now on supporting regional partners to counter future threats, whether it be a resurgence of Daesh, or some other menacing force. Led from the Taskforce’s headquarters in Kuwait, these efforts promote longer term stability across the region, which in turn provides greater security to Kuwait; and this country remains a key defense partner that enables this mission.
As we mark Kuwait’s National and Liberation Days, we pay tribute to all of the men and women who played a role in Kuwait’s liberation. We recognize the bonds our forces forged serving alongside each other during the Gulf War, the close ties established between our peoples through decades of cooperation, and look forward to a strong and lasting partnership with Kuwait to promote peace and security in the region and around the world. On this occasion we would like to take this opportunity to extend our warmest congratulations to Kuwait on its National & Liberation days.