Jarallah: Hajraf nominated for GCC chief – Kuwait protects expats’ rights

KUWAIT: Kuwait’s Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Al-Jarallah said on Tuesday that Kuwait conveyed messages from Iran to Saudi Arabia and Bahrain regarding the situation in the Gulf region, and “until now no answers have emerged”. The Iranian foreign ministry had said last month that Iran is prepared to hold talks with regional rival Saudi Arabia, “with or without the help of a mediator”. Saudi Arabia, which is locked in several proxy wars in the region with Iran, has blamed Tehran for attacks on Saudi oil plants on Sept 14, a charge Iran denies. The kingdom has said it prefers a political solution to a military one.


Jarallah said that positive consultations with Saudi Arabia regarding the Neutral Zone are continuing, and “they are looking forward to the final signing as soon as possible”. The two countries halted output from the jointly run oilfields in the so-called Neutral Zone more than three years ago, cutting some 500,000 barrels per day or 0.5 percent of global oil supply.


Jarallah also announced that Kuwait has informed the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states that former finance minister Nayef Al-Hajraf is its nominee for the post of GCC Secretary General. “We hope that the coming GCC summit will approve Dr Hajraf’s nomination,” he told reporters during a ceremony held by German Embassy in Kuwait on Tuesday evening to mark the national day of Germany.


Jarallah affirmed Kuwait’s commitment to building on the achievements made in the GCC march of joint action. He expressed Kuwait’s confidence in Hajraf’s ability to promote the GCC’s role in meeting the aspirations of the people of its member countries. “Dr Hajraf has a great economic insight and I believe this is what the GCC needs at present,” he stressed. Jarallah noted that consultations are underway among GCC members on the final date of the coming summit.


Jarallah also said Kuwait respects the dignity and protects the rights of its expatriate workers. Jarallah told reporters that international human rights organizations laud Kuwait’s record in this regard, which is in accordance with its constitution and laws. On negotiations with the Philippines over the proposed form of contracts for Filipino nationals working in Kuwait, he pointed out that both sides will hold a new round of talks over this issue shortly.


Meantime, Jarallah revealed that Kuwait is preparing to host a donor conference in support of education in Somalia, scheduled for next year. He added that the planned conference is highly supported on the international level, out of the importance of education in achieving stability and development.


On Sunday, Kuwait announced, during the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) ministerial meeting hosted by Qatar, its readiness to organize the donor conference on backing Somalia’s education. The Kuwaiti move reflects the country’s keenness on coordinating and intensifying efforts with the sisterly countries to maintain Somalia’s security, safety and territorial integrity. – Agencies