By Faten Omar

KUWAIT: Chargé d'Affaires of the US Embassy in Kuwait James Holtsnider revealed that his country is excited to welcome the Kuwaiti delegation to attend the United Nations General Assembly in New York this month, discussing an upcoming official meeting with Kuwait on the sidelines of the UN Assembly. Commenting on the US-Kuwait Strategic Dialogue during a roundtable with local media, he said the regular meetings between the two countries represent a significant opportunity to strengthen diplomatic connections, engage in discussions spanning various topics and work together towards common goals.

These meetings also provide a platform for addressing regional and global challenges while fostering robust international relations and tackling mutual concerns. “We are still working on our meeting schedule and hope to hold it before the end of this year. This is an important part of our bilateral relationship. The topics will cover issues in politics, defense, economics and trade and culture.

We are always discussing how we can do more for the students, and we hope to further discuss visa issues,” Holtsnider said. Regarding the ruling concern over Khor Abdullah between Iraq and Kuwait, Holtsnider affirmed that the US is in close contact with Iraqi and Kuwaiti partners and encouraged all parties to come to the table and negotiate to resolve outstanding issues of concern.

He emphasized the need to conduct diplomatic conversations through appropriate channels. On the arrival of the new ambassador to Kuwait, he noted that the confirmation process is still ongoing, and they are looking forward to welcoming her to enhance the relationship with Kuwait. He praised Kuwait’s important multilateral role as it is going to the UN General Assembly, affirming that the US will continue to work with Kuwaiti partners on issues around the world. Responding to a question about the US stance toward Saudi Arabia restoring ties with Iran, he said: “President Joe Biden was very clear that the US government welcomes anything that helps and supports the growth or development of the people in the Middle East.

We welcome the step Saudi Arabia has taken, but I think we also remain very clear about Iran’s destabilizing behavior and Iran’s long tradition of causing problems in maritime security. We continue to stress that they need to stop their destabilizing activities in the Gulf.” About the UN General Assembly's priority topics, Holtsnider commented: “We have partnered with Kuwait on many issues around the world, whether mediating issues in Yemen, dealing with humanitarian and terrorism issues in Syria, or responding to the crisis in Africa and around the world.

I think we will discuss Morocco and the floods in Libya. We have seen the Kuwaiti Red Crescent Society's great appeal for that, and we have been partnering and working with Kuwait on that matter as well.” He revealed that the United States will engage in discussions concerning the G7 and G20, but will also explore avenues for collaboration with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) on similar issues. Furthermore, Kuwait can anticipate a more comprehensive unveiling of details about the global infrastructure initiative, which will be linked to the economic corridors in India, the Middle East and Europe.

The discussion will also encompass topics related to food security and artificial intelligence. Notably, there are ongoing dialogues about establishing voluntary ethical standards and regulations for AI in the future, and several leading American AI companies have convened to contribute to this discourse. Paul Dean, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Office of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance (AVC), has engaged in conversations with Kuwait and other Gulf nations in the region on that topic. The GCC is an exceptionally dynamic and promising group, and the United States remains committed to maintaining its focus on the region.

About China's role in the region, he said that President Biden's goal is not to contain and confront China but to have a positive agenda within the international system and rules with China. “The US and the international community are focused on a free, open and stable environment where we have a positive agenda. We want to focus on areas to work together. Places where we can succeed, that is why we are talking about infrastructure, health, climate and containing illegal drugs,” Holtsnider explained. Commenting on GCC and Brexit, Holtsnider said that it shouldn't come as a surprise that the Middle East is expected to actively participate, adding that the GCC is globally active and dynamic, so their involvement is natural.

“Any organization we consider should have a constructive and productive role on the global stage. In this regard, Brexit could potentially be a useful and positive development for the G20,” he said. Meanwhile, he pointed out that the US Embassy is frequently discussing human trafficking with Kuwaiti partners, noting that the two countries aim to strengthen their cooperation in preventing human trafficking and providing assistance to victims. “On the military level, we have the fourth largest military presence in Kuwait.

We often engage in bilateral and multilateral exercises where we work with Kuwaiti and other Gulf partners as well. We continue to remain focused on integrating the defense system around the region to enhance the security of our partners, as well as de-escalating tensions in the region at the same time. We can deter threats from any country in the region and are keen to ensure our Gulf partners' capability to respond to any,” Holtsnider affirmed. Regarding studying in the US, Holtsnider said the US Embassy is keen to ease the process of obtaining visas for students. “We are one of the fastest countries in the world to process student visas, with most visas ready in a few days, and our team is always ready to help.

Kuwait has terrific young people, and we want to offer them great universities and terrific education opportunities. The United States has the best education,” he said. Meanwhile, Holtsnider announced preparations for ‘Discover America’ week in Kuwait. “It is an important week for the US Embassy to showcase the great aspects of the relationship, whether in music, business, culture or food. We are still working to confirm the details, but it may start in the third week of October and run for more than a week,” he revealed.