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US extremely appreciative of Amir’s efforts in Gulf crisis: Ambassador

KUWAIT: US Ambassador to Kuwait Lawrence R Silverman speaks in an interview yesterday. — KUNA

KUWAIT: The United States and Kuwait believe that it is imperative to bring about a settlement to the Gulf dispute as quickly as possible in order to maintain security and stability of the Middle East and regions beyond, the US envoy to Kuwait said.
Ambassador Lawrence R Silverman made those statements in an interview yesterday, in which he reiterated that the United States is “extremely appreciative” of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah’s efforts in mediating in the Gulf dispute.

He noted that the US will continue to support efforts of His Highness the Amir as His Highness “wants us to be involved in this,” adding that the US’ endeavors must be synchronized with Kuwait’s efforts because the “GCC security is essential to the safety of the region.”

Silverman pointed out that US President Donald Trump said he was willing to mediate and “we have to see what is necessary” and Kuwait will have ideas as well as the parties concerned. He said that Trump met Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani yesterday, adding that Sheikh Tamim and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have been on the phone on multiple occasions, in addition to Saudi, UAE officials and Kuwaitis as well. He said that the US wanted all parties concerned to work together to reach an agreement to the Gulf crisis, pointing to a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the US and Qatar on what should be done and additional steps that need to be taken to fight terrorism and stop financing terrorism.

Excellent relations
Furthermore, Silverman has described his country’s relations with the State of Kuwait as “excellent” and both countries enjoy a close and strategic partnership. Silverman said that both the United States and Kuwait work together for the best interest of their peoples, adding that both countries also enjoy good cooperation ties in the security, defense, securing each other’s territories, fighting terrorism and terrorists financing for the sake of prosperity of the region. He called for building up mutual trade and profitable investments, stressing the importance of expanding “educational connections” between both countries because this is a “foundation block” for bilateral relations.

“We both realized we could do more and enhance the relationship and broaden it to other subjects,” pointing to the five generations of Kuwaiti students pursuing their education in his country. He said that the strategic dialogue was created in order to find concrete ways to strengthen bilateral ties, describing both countries’ bilateral ties as “strong and getting stronger.”

He described His Highness the Amir’s recent meeting with President Trump as “very successful,” adding that it was important that His Highness the Amir saw the new administration and they heard from His Highness directly. “We have respect for His Highness,” said Silverman, praising what His Highness the Amir has done for so many years when he was a foreign minister and now as an Amir. “We were able to talk about the region’s issues, GCC issues with great focus on bilateral relations,” noted the ambassador.

He said “although we discussed the GCC, His Highness the Amir’s visit was conceived before the dispute started. We were well prepared for His Highness the Amir’s visit.” The US Ambassador pointed out that both sides were trying to get concrete benefits for both peoples and that is why “we signed the MoU and the arrangements we did.” Commenting on the 2nd strategic dialogue and Customs Mutual Assistance Agreements (CMAAs), Silverman said “we were working throughout the years to try to come to agreements during His Highness’ visit and we were able to accomplish all these arrangements. He said that these agreements took bilateral relations to a newer level, saying “if you look at the 1st strategic dialogue last year, we didn’t reach any agreement, we kind of laid the foundation and this time we did it. As a result of this agreement, people of Kuwait are safer and more secure and will see more trade and investment opportunities.”

“We will help each other secure our borders, share information about customs and help exporters in both ways,” he said. He pointed to the formation of five different working groups aimed at overcoming any particular problem or impediment, adding “we can develop ideas that will ease visa process, ease processing of students,” pointing out that some 15,000 Kuwaiti students are now pursuing their education in various US universities. Silverman said that both countries signed an educational MoU that will lead to more cooperation between both countries’ educational and research institutions. The US diplomat also unveiled that his country initiated an English teaching program as part of the educational MoU to better prepare Kuwaiti students wishing to pursue their education in the US and to have greater success.

Commercial conference
On the other hand, the diplomat said that it was wise of the Kuwaiti government to organize with cooperation of US-Kuwaiti chambers of commerce the first of its kind commercial conference bringing together both business peoples, anticipating such conference to be held annually, saying that he “fully supports it.” He also pointed to the practical agreement initiated between Kuwait Direct Investment Promotion Authority with SelectUSA authority, pointing to training programs offered by the US authority for Kuwaiti customs, commerce and education staffers in various spheres.

The ambassador touched on the importance of protecting Intellectual Property rights and that Kuwait has made efforts in this regard but “needs to do more,” saying that such matter is a component of the strategic dialogue.

On cyber security, Silverman said that it is a benefit for Kuwaitis to cooperate on this issue, saying that “we are increasing cooperation on cyber security.” The ambassador congratulated Kuwait for winning a non-permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council starting as of January 1, 2018, adding that Kuwait will represent the Arab world, describing that as a great prestige and the US has respect for Kuwait.

“We are very pleased with that due to the close relationship and for Kuwait’s foreign policy and we look forward for additional cooperation,” he said. Meanwhile, a US-Kuwait Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement (CMAA) was signed during a ceremony on September 7, along with a renewed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Technical Cooperation between the two countries. The next round of the Strategic Dialogue will be held in Kuwait in 2018. Ambassador Silverman assumed his post in Kuwait on September 19, 2016. – KUNA

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