KUWAIT: HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah meets Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at Bayan Palace yesterday. — KUNA

KUWAIT: KUWAIT: HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah received visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his accompanying delegation at Bayan Palace yesterday. HH the Amir requested that the foreign minister relay to Russian President Vladimir Putin his greetings and good wishes.

Later, speaking at a joint press conference with Lavrov, Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah said Kuwait welcomes Lavrov’s second visit within two years, which is a clear indication of the friendly country’s keenness of developing bilateral “historic” ties. The top Kuwaiti diplomat noted that the visit is significant, especially amidst current regional and global changes in which Russia plays a ‘pivotal” role.

Despite the fact that diplomatic ties with Moscow date back to 1963, “yet they run even deeper and are more historical, since when a Russian vessel docked in Kuwait in 1902,” Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled noted, recalling Russia’s support of UN Security Council resolutions on the 1990 Iraqi invasion and occupation of Kuwait. “We were honored to meet His Highness the Amir, where we listened to His Highness’ valuable and wise directives in terms of buttressing joint relations (with Russia),” the foreign minister told the press conference on him being received, along with Lavrov, by the Amir earlier yesterday.

Describing talks with the Russian side as “inclusive and intensive”, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled said the meeting covered most cooperation areas, significantly the economic one. “We appreciate the Russian Federation’s efforts and full support of His Highness the Amir’s mediation efforts to mend the GCC rift,” he added.

Lavrov praised the results of the meeting held with HH the Amir, pointing out the important bilateral talks with Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled, which dealt with the agreements concluded between the two countries during the Amir’s visit to Russia in 2015. He said that the sixth meeting of the joint economic and trade committee, which was held on the sidelines of his current visit, contributes to enhancing relations and investment between the two countries, adding that Russian Investment Fund and Kuwait Investment Authority are discussing projects estimated at $200 million.
He confirmed that Moscow supports military cooperation with Kuwait, pointing out to the participation of a Kuwaiti military delegation at the Russian Arms Expo last year. Lavrov also underlined parliamentary cooperation between the two countries, pointing to the expected visit of National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem to Moscow in the coming period to enhance cooperation and coordination between the two parliaments on various issues of common concern.

The Russian foreign minister added that his talks in Kuwait dealt with political dialogue on regional and international issues, cooperation at the UN Security Council, developments in Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Libya, Palestinian-Israeli talks and the Arab peace initiative. Regarding the GCC crisis, Lavrov said that his talks in Kuwait tackled the developments in the Gulf region and the Russian proposal to ensure security and stability among GCC countries and Iran.

Lavrov confirmed that Russia supports the efforts of the Syrian government to return refugees to their homes through opening safe corridors for them to return, pointing out that Saudi Arabia considers it necessary to speed up the activation of the Syrian Constitutional Commission. On the developments of the so-called “Deal of the Century”, Lavrov said: “We would like to hear more details about the (deal of the century), especially since what we hear from the Americans is very worrying,” adding that it would destroy all progress made so far in negotiations between Palestine and Israel.

On the latest developments on the issue of Russian citizen Marsha Lazareva, who was sentenced in Kuwait over suspected involvement in a financial crime, Lavrov said: “We dealt with this subject in accordance with Kuwaiti law and international conventions.” Lazareva was detained in Kuwait on charges of misusing public funds.
The joint press conference came after both sides held official talks during the sixth session of the Russian-Kuwaiti joint committee for economic, commercial, scientific and technological cooperation. The session was chaired by the Kuwaiti Minister of Oil and Electricity and Water Khaled Al-Fadhel, while the Russian side was headed by Russian Minister for North Caucasus Federal Affairs Sergey Chebotarev. – KUNA