The Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, the Rt Hon James Cleverly MP, and the Foreign Minister of the State of Kuwait His Excellency Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, held the inaugural UK-Kuwait Strategic Dialogue in London on 20 March 2023.
The two Ministers reviewed key areas of collaboration between the United Kingdom and the State of Kuwait, noting the breadth and depth of the bilateral relationship as well as the shared history and the strong people-to-people links that underpin this.
The UK and Kuwait reaffirmed the importance of the bilateral defence and security partnership. They welcomed the longstanding bilateral cooperation to bolster cyber defences against the growing threat posed by state and non-state actors. The Foreign Secretary reiterated the UK’s commitment to Kuwait’s security and territorial integrity, as well as to peace and stability around the world, and commended the positive role that Kuwait plays in regional security and beyond.
UK and Kuwait share a strong trade and investment relationship. The total volume of trade almost doubled last year, while the London based Kuwait Investment Office, a stalwart of the City’s financial sector, marks its 70th anniversary this year. Ministers explored priorities for future areas of investment. The recent announcement that Kuwaiti nationals may travel visa-free using the UK’s Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) scheme from February 2024 will further strengthen business, tourism and people-to-people links.
The two Ministers exchanged views and explored opportunities on a number of key foreign policy priorities, including Yemen, the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs), and Ukraine.
They discussed ongoing peace talks that seek to end the conflict that has ravaged Yemen for over eight years. Discussing the OPTs, both Ministers expressed grave concerns at the rising level of violence and instability and stressed the need to resolve this longstanding conflict on the basis of the two-state solution.
On Ukraine, the two Ministers welcomed the overwhelming international support for last month’s UNGA Resolution calling for Russia to end hostilities and withdraw from Ukraine, and humanitarian assistance, including supporting reconstruction efforts.
The Strategic Dialogue complimented and built on the work of the longstanding UK-Kuwait Joint Steering Group, the 19th session of which was co-chaired on 14 February 2023 by Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State for the Middle East and North South Asia, the UN and the Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict, and His Excellency Mansour Al-Otaibi, Deputy Foreign Minister of the State of Kuwait.