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FM in landmark visit to Palestine to boost ties – Two agreements signed on bilateral cooperation

fmRAMALLAH: Kuwait's First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah held talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas yesterday in Ramallah. The visit was the first by a senior Kuwaiti official since the Palestinian Authority was created two decades ago. The talks focused on the means of cementing bilateral relations, with Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled delivering a written message by HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to Abbas.

The two sides also inked an agreement and a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on political cooperation. The agreement and MoU were signed by Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah and his Palestinian counterpart Riyad Al-Malki in the presence of Abbas. The agreement stipulates the creation of a joint committee for political cooperation between the two governments and the MoU stipulates political consultation between Kuwaiti and Palestinian foreign ministries.

Later, in a joint press conference with Malki, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled said: "I delivered a written message from His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to president Abbas focusing on cementing ties and exchanging views on regional issues in the region." "As Kuwait heads the Arab Summit and the committee that follows up the Arab peace initiative, it is important to coordinate and consult with President Abbas on the upcoming steps," the minister told reporters.

On the signing of two agreements in the presence of Abbas, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled said that those agreements would increase bilateral cooperation in different fields as well as Arab coordination over the Palestinian issue. He added a delegation headed by Kuwait including Palestine, Egypt, Jordan, Mauritania and the Arab League Secretary General would meet Abbas on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York. "We will take advantage of the presence of the heads of 130 states to discuss the upcoming steps to coordinate with Abbas," noted Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled.

Malki said that the visit of Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled is an important turning point with Kuwait. "We think that we open a new page that works on reactivating and deepening Kuwaiti-Palestinian relations," Malki told reporters. "The talks were held in a cordial and transparent atmosphere, focusing on preparations for the UN General Assembly and the means of benefiting from support of participating countries to submit an Arab draft resolution on putting an end to Israeli occupation," Malki added. Following the press conference, the Kuwaiti minister left for Amman as part of his tour.

Earlier in the day, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled arrived in Jerusalem onboard a Jordanian helicopter and prayed in Al-Aqsa Mosque, expressing his joy for this visit. The Kuwaiti official conveyed the greetings of HH the Amir, the government and Kuwait people to Palestinians in Jerusalem. Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled stressed that Kuwait is following up closely the happenings in Jerusalem and the role of people in preserving the city's sanctities. He said that Kuwait constantly and forever supports the Palestinian people, promising that he would pay more visits to Palestine, including Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, Sheikh Abdul Azim Salhab, head of the Islamic Endowment Council of Al-Quds, stressed the importance of Kuwait's role in supporting Palestinians at different levels. Salhab praised Kuwait's contributions to setting up a number of Palestinian institutions, including Al-Quds University, one of the most ancient universities in Palestine, and hospitals for citizens.

Governor of Jerusalem Adnan Al-Husseini said that the visit of Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled reflects solidarity with Palestinians who have been resisting Israeli occupation in the city. "Palestinian people will not forget Kuwait's continuing support," he told KUNA. "The visit of Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled means that Kuwait is in the heart of Palestine and Jerusalem is in the heart of Kuwaitis," he added. Salhab also presented Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled a memento. - KUNA

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This article was published on 14/09/2014