Saudi Crown Prince, Deputy Premier and Minister of Defense Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud.

KUWAIT: Kuwait's Foreign Minister and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Sheikh Dr Ahmad Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah said the planned important visit to Kuwait by Saudi Crown Prince, Deputy Premier and Minister of Defense Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud would be an addition to the strong bilateral relations. The Saudi Crown Prince will hold talks with His Highness the Amir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the minister told reporters on the sidelines of his participation in a function held Tuesday by the Qatari embassy in Kuwait to celebrate their National Day.

He added that Kuwaiti people are looking forward to this important visit by Prince Mohamad bin Salman. Sheikh Dr Ahmad congratulated the Qatari Amir, government and people on their National Day, wished Qatar further progress and stability. He hailed the strong and steadily progressing Kuwaiti-Qatari relations. The top diplomat said high hopes are pinned on the upcoming summit of the leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council for boosting joint action and cementing unity among member states.

Key visit

Prince Mohammad bin Salman is expected in Kuwait later this week to discuss a host of issues of interest to both countries and Gulf Cooperation Council in general before the GCC summit, due in the Kingdom this month. "The visit comes at an important time and before the GCC Summit in Riyadh this month, which indicates that the visit is to further unify positions for the best interest of the two countries and the GCC countries in general," Kuwait's Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Sheikh Ali Khaled Al-Sabah said in a statement to the press yesterday.

Prince Mohammad bin Salman, also Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, will also discuss investment and facilitating investing procedures, as well as increasing trade exchange, said Sheikh Ali. The two sides, he added, would also discuss boosting security cooperation and exchange of information to strengthen security and stability of the two countries in particular in the region in general.

Energy and renewable energy issues will feature high on the agenda as well, he said. The Saudi Crown Prince will be accompanied by a delegation of government officials and businessmen who will meet their Kuwaiti counterparts with ultimate goal of achieving objectives of Kuwait's 2035 Vision and Saudi Arabia's 2030 Vision, said Sheikh Ali.

Kuwait and Saudi Arabia has always shared a special bond, which was built on friendship and unity for decades, and the Crown Prince's visit reflects on the relationship the two countries have. Political Science Professor at Kuwait University, Dr Massouma Al-Mubarak stressed yesterday the importance of the Saudi Crown Prince's visit to Kuwait and its role in strengthening the relations between the two countries. Saudi Arabia has come a long way in advancing cooperation with the region and showed a positive outcome which "we will witness its significance in the near future," she noted.

Meanwhile, Political Science Professor at Kuwait University Dr Ibrahim Al-Hadban said that with the GCC Summit approaching, several point of views and opinions were exchanged between the leaders, and that the official visit reflects on the strong ties Kuwait and Saudi Arabia share. Dr Hadban also added that the Saudi diplomacy recently intensified their activity in the region, pointing out that the visits the crown prince is making around the GCC revives the cooperation between the countries. Kuwait and Saudi Arabia signed in 2018 the establishment of the Saudi-Kuwait Coordination Council, which is considered a new start in developing cooperation between the two countries.

Unremitting collaboration

Gulf and Saudi figures said Prince Mohammad bin Salman's visit to Kuwait as part of a Gulf tour reflects incessant coordination and firm ties between both countries' leaders and peoples. Assistant Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) for Political Affairs and Negotiations Abdulaziz Al-Owaishek said the visit reaffirms the central and deep-rooted relationship between the kingdom and Kuwait.

He said that Saudi Arabia marks the strategic depth for Kuwait, while Kuwait constitutes the strategic and cultural extension for the kingdom. He added that both nations share the same evaluation of challenges and perils haunting the region, and are agreed that they need to be addressed through close cooperation, unity, and political, diplomatic, military and security collaboration.

The GCC official noted that both countries are economic partners, given that their two-way trade exchange exceeds $2 billion per annum, and Saudi investments in Kuwait are estimated at over $1 billion, while Kuwait has great investments in the Saudi market. He pointed out available opportunities for both sides to promote Saudi-Kuwaiti trade exchange and investments through Saudi Arabia's 2030 development vision and Kuwait's 2035 development vision, which both aim at diversifying national economies and curtailing reliance on oil. He underlined that the Saudi Crown Prince's visit to Kuwait this week would unquestionably lead to cementing this strategic partnership in all domains, and strengthening inter-Gulf action.

Dr Ali Al-Debkel, a media professor at King Saud University, spoke highly of the visit as being of paramount significance at this time in particular due to regional crises and "foreign interferences" in the region's internal affairs. He emphasized that inter-Gulf integrity, coordination and unified stances are urgently required ahead of the forthcoming Gulf summit due this month. The Saudi professor went on saying that persistent coordination between both sides' leaderships is essential for producing a single Gulf policy that could be conducive to broader Arab unity.

He believed that several issues pertinent to Saudi-Kuwaiti cooperation and collaboration, including stands at the OPEC+ alliance, as well as bilateral investments and trade, will be discussed. Both sides are also expected to consider other significant Arab issues, mainly Palestine, Lebanon, Libya and Yemen where Kuwait has played a substantial role and tried hard to resolve the Yemeni crisis, he noted.

130 years of bonds

Meanwhile, Secretary-General of the Saudi Journalists Association and Deputy Chairman of the Federation of Arab Journalists Abdullah Al-Jahlan said the visit is an extension of consultation and coordination between the Gulf countries. The visit, which mirrors 130 years of deep-rooted and firm bonds, comes ahead of the coming Gulf summit due this month, he said, hoping that the tour would lead to putting agreements and projects in place. He expected both sides to tackle the security situation in the Gulf region and the entire Arab region, together with economic, oil and trade issues.

Echoing Al-Jahlan's views, professor of political science Mnef Al-Malafekh said that the Saudi Crown Prince's visit to Kuwait reflects time-tested relations between the kingdom and Kuwait and the depth of political history of both Gulf nations. Gulf political, economic, military and security topics will be on top of the tour's agenda, given that the Gulf region is of strategic and vital significance, he said.

The Saudi professor believed that talks between the Saudi Crown Prince and the Kuwaiti leadership will touch upon concerns over foreign interference in the domestic affairs of Gulf countries, in addition to attempts to destabilize regional security. The Saudi Crown Prince's visit to Kuwait is part of his Gulf tour that started in Oman on Monday and includes the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait. Saudi Arabia will be hosting the 42nd session of the GCC Summit due in mid-December. - KUNA