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‘Europe, Kuwait, world deeply concerned about Palestinian tragedy’

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KUWAIT CITY, May 11: Foreign Affairs Minister Abdullah Al-Yahya participated in the annual celebration of Europe Day, which was held in the presence of heads of mission of the European Union member states and members of diplomatic missions accredited in Kuwait. In a press statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs pointed out this is a celebration of the close and friendly relations between the State of Kuwait and friendly European countries, as well as a dedication to the fruitful progress between the two sides in various fields of cooperation.

The ministry stated that this occasion is also an expression of the common aspiration to push these relations to broader horizons and achieve all the common goals of both parties. Meanwhile, European Union (EU) Ambassador to Kuwait Anne Koistinen expressed happiness that the EU granted Kuwaitis preferential rules related to the Schengen visa; as they are granted multiple- entry visas valid for five years. She stressed that the goal is still Schengen visa exemption for Kuwaitis. She also expressed gratitude to the Kuwaiti government, especially the ministry, for its exceptional cooperation over the past five years.

She affirmed that their partnership has flourished, enabling them to lay a solid foundation for continued success and prosperity under the wise leadership of HH the Amir Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al- Jaber Al-Sabah. She revealed they have exerted joint efforts to cooperate in many fields, such as vital projects, including the green transformation, renewable energy and empowerment of women, in accordance with the sustainable development goals of the United Nations (UN). She also cited joint initiatives in different sectors like youth, academic, investment and human rights. While the EU maintains its position as Kuwait’s second largest trading partner, a lot of potential has yet to be explored for further cooperation. The EU is committed to strengthening partnership with Kuwait in order to achieve common goals, as it remains a close and reliable partner for the implementation of Kuwait Vision 2035, Koistenen added.

Talking about Europe Day, she said: “Our celebration of Europe Day on May 9 is my first as Ambassador of the European Union to Kuwait. I am happy to say that Kuwait and its people have overwhelmed me with the warm welcome, in addition to the sincere desire to strengthen relations in order to develop long-term partnerships between the European Union and Kuwait.”

She disclosed that the people in Europe, Kuwait and around the world are deeply concerned about the tragedy of the Palestinians in Gaza. She asserted that Kuwait, the EU and other like-minded partners are working hard to address the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza. She added the EU strongly believes in the need to give hope to the Palestinians, so “we continue to support UNRWA in addition to our firm commitment to the two-State solution. We should not forget the suffering of other vulnerable people in the region and beyond.” She then expressed her gratitude to the embassies of 16 European Union member states in Kuwait for working with the EU delegation in highlighting the spirit of ‘Team Europe’ through various events and activities to celebrate Europe Month in Kuwait. On the other hand, Palestinian Ambassador to Kuwait Rami Tahboub confirmed in a press statement, on the sidelines of the event , the position of some EU countries in terms of announcing recognition of the State of Palestine, as well as condemning what is happening in Gaza and as the position of some countries to stand with the occupying entity. He pointed out the European countries are divided in this regard as some of them fully support Israel; while others like Spain, Netherlands, Belgium, Malta, Norway and Slovenia have announced their intention to recognize the State of Palestine.

With a Palestinian State before the European elections, this will support talks about peace and the possibility of reaching the two-State solution, through which Palestine will have a supportive force at the international level, he added. On Israel’s occupation of Rafah crossing, he asserted this occupation is unacceptable. “The Rafah borders with Egypt are Egyptian-Palestinian borders. We cannot, in any way, accept that there will be an Israeli occupation. I believe this is contrary to the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty. Therefore, this matter is outrightly rejected. We hold the United States of America responsible for everything that will happen, from the occupation until this moment,” he stressed. Regarding Israel’s dissatisfaction with American President Joe Biden after stopping an arms deal, Tahboub stated that “the lesson is in the ending.”

On the ‘Export’ Team, he explained that this team was named as such based on the study on the Palestinian economy and its needs. He revealed this project is funded by the British government and in order to open the Kuwaiti markets, which are considered among the most important markets for Palestine. He went on to say: “A British ambassador and I took the initiative to bring this team to Kuwait and hold meetings with Kuwaiti officials in the private and government sectors. One of these meetings was with the Minister of Commerce, Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Investment Promotion Authority and others.” He also cited the submission of an explanation on the economic situation in Palestine. “This project has been in place for more than 10 years and covers the West Bank and Gaza. After the Israeli aggression on Gaza, it has begun to cover the West Bank, as a result of the major decline in the Palestinian economy and the regional economy in general. It is necessary to work on this issue,” he concluded.

By Fares Al-Abdan
Al-Seyassah/Arab Times Staff

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