- Kuwait Times Extra
LONDON: Queen Elizabeth II hosted in Windsor Castle a dinner banquet in honor of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al- Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and the official delegation accompanying him on the occasion of his state visit to the UK. The event began with Britain’s national anthem and was followed by a speech of Queen Elizabeth II in which she, on behalf of her husband Prince Philip, welcomed the Amir in Windsor Castle “as we celebrate your state visit to the United Kingdom.” The Queen shed light on the historic relations between the UK and Kuwait, and how bilateral cooperation would further serve the best interest of people of the two countries. “The State of Kuwait and the United Kingdom are old friends. Since a ship from the British East India Company unloaded in Kuwait in 1775, our countries, and our families, have shared a long and close history,” she noted.
Queen Elizabeth II said that 20 years after the Special Treaty of Friendship was concluded in 1899, “my grandfather, King George V, welcomed Your Highness’s father, the late Sheikh Ahmad Al Jaber as the first official Kuwaiti visitor to Britain.” She said there were many exchanges between the two countries since that time. “I am glad to remind Your Highness of the memorable visit which Prince Philip and I paid to Kuwait in 1979, and the pleasure we had of welcoming your brother’s (late Amir Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah) visit here in 1995.
I also know how delighted my son The Prince of Wales was to have been able to celebrate with you last year the 50th anniversary of your country’s independence and the 20th anniversary of your liberation,” said the Queen. “Our relationship runs deep, and the United Kingdom is proud to have played its part in Kuwait’s recent history. The future, too, holds great promise. Your visit to this country allows us to celebrate the breadth and strength of that partnership. We warmly welcome the many thousands of Kuwaitis who visit the United Kingdom every year and the many – Your Highness included – who have chosen to make second homes here.” Queen Elizabeth then touched upon Britain’s overwhelming support to Kuwait during the former Iraqi regime’s invasion and occupation of the State of Kuwait in 1990-91. Britain was part of an international coalition that ejected the Iraqi forces from Kuwait in February 1991. “… we were pleased to stand beside you in your hour of need, so now you have our support in confronting the challenges which face your region and the global community.
Our close cooperation in matters of defence and security will deliver greater safety for the people of both our countries. The British Military Mission in Kuwait, and the many Kuwaiti students who train alongside British forces in this country, demonstrate some of the bonds we have developed. In difficult times, we place great store by these enduring ties.” Queen Elizabeth said that “with our shared trading and maritime traditions, I am confident that our commercial links which began so long ago, will continue to prosper. By happy coincidence, this state visit is also an opportunity to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Kuwait Investment Authority’s association with this country and highlight the benefits of our trading relationship.
Furthermore, the United Kingdom greatly welcomes your presence on the United Nations Human Rights Council this year and congratulates the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development for its most generous contribution to your own region and beyond.” The Monarch also touched upon cooperation in other domains. “In areas of scientific research, culture, health and education, many young Kuwaitis now choose to pursue their education at British Universities. The London School of Economics and Durham University are both proud to host distinguished Kuwaiti-led international research programmes. And I am encouraged by the news that in the field of nursing, training links are being established between Sheffield Hallam University and the Kuwaiti Ministry of Health,” she said. The Queen expressed delight that Sheikh Sabah was visiting Britain during a special year “marking my own Diamond Jubilee and this summer’s Olympic and Paralympic Games in London. But I know that it has also been a significant year of historic change in your own region.
The United Kingdom pays tribute to your country’s leading contribution to the promotion of a vibrant democracy and applauds your efforts to guide Kuwait to a future of openness and tolerance. “We have enjoyed cooperation and friendship that have endured and evolved over many years. I believe that our relationship has also deepened and strengthened in that time, invigorated by a renewed energy and commitment to a safe and prosperous future. We are therefore delighted that you have travelled here to join us in celebrating those enduring ties between us.” Then the national anthem of Kuwait was played and was followed by a speech of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al- Ahmad Al-Sabah who thanked the Queen for her invitation to visit the UK. “As you know our relations with you are solid as I visit your friendly country regularly, and it is a great honor for me to pay a state visit this week and to meet you in the house of the Royal Family, the great Windsor Castle, which represents deep-rooted history and civilization,” said Sheikh Sabah.
This visit “symbolizes our common desire to promote bonds of friendship and understanding linking our countries and people, which emphasizes our keenness to do whatever it takes to promote our relations and explore new horizons of cooperation and partnership,” added the Amir. “It is an honor for me to participate in the Diamond Jubilee marking 60 years of your Majesty’s rule, during which you spent many years in the service of your country in an unprecedented wisdom. Your Majesty is widely admired and respected by the whole world,” he said. Sheikh Sabah said he followed with admiration the Olympic games and paralympics which were hosted by the city of London this summer. Sheikh Sabah congratulated Queen Elizabeth and the British people for the success of the tournaments in which British athletes achieved many medals in fair plays.
Sheikh Sabah said days ago “Your Majesty participated in a commemoration of the martyrs of wars who paid dear price for freedom. “We in Kuwait will never forget how your country and other countries in the world reacted to liberate my country from the Iraqi invasion in 1990, and the sacrifices of the British people for the liberation of Kuwait, which will always been engraved in hearts and minds of the Kuwaiti people,” he said. Sheikh Sabah said Kuwait and Britain were bound to bilateral cooperation in many fields, namely trade and investment. “We are looking forward to boosting them through investment of promising opportunities which will thus promote our relationship to the level of our expecations, and achieve progress and prosperity for our countries and people, “ said the Amir of Kuwait. — KUNA
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