Remarks With Kuwaiti First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Sabah Before Their Meeting

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
October 21, 2016

SECRETARY KERRY: Good morning everybody. I’m delighted to welcome my friend, Foreign Minister al-Sabah from Kuwait, to Washington and to this strategic dialogue that we will engage in this morning. The truth is we meet frequently and I want to thank the Amir of Kuwait and the Government of Kuwait for their tremendous commitment to this relationship, for the extraordinary cooperation that we receive on a whole host of issues.

And really now for 25 years since we fought shoulder to shoulder in the war of liberation of Kuwait, there’s just been a clarity of purpose in what we are trying to achieve together. We are engaged in counter-Daesh, counter-ISIL efforts. We’re engaged in regional stabilization efforts. Kuwait has made significant contributions to help deal with the problem of displaced people and refugees – I think about $1.4 billion, the most recent pledge. They are a reliable and constant partner in the effort to counter violent extremism in the region. They share the same interests that we do in trying to bring peace to Yemen, and they’ve hosted talks there for a long period of time and are prepared to continue to do that if we can bring the parties together to try to have a peaceful resolution to that conflict. They are a contributing partner in our efforts with the GCC, which have increasingly been important ever since the Camp David meeting.

So on the security side, there is this full partnership, but also on the side of education, on exchange of students, on trade and investment, we are working extremely closely together. And I want to thank the Amir and his government for their efforts to help counter the proliferation of the DPRK – of North Korea. They have recently taken steps to curb flights and to make sure that revenues from workers are not sustaining an illegal and illegitimate regime in North Korea.

So again, we’re grateful for the many areas of our work together, and I’m delighted that today we’re finally able to achieve what we’ve been working towards for some time, which is getting this strategic dialogue between our countries underway, recognizing the importance of these many issues that we’re working on together.

Thank you, my friend. Good to have you here.

FOREIGN MINISTER AL-SABAH: Thank you. Thank you. Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. I would like first of all to thank Secretary Kerry for his invitation. I’m so delighted to be here in Washington today to start the strategic dialogue between the state of Kuwait and the United States of America. That reflects the desire of the two countries to promote and enhance the existing relation.

We are ready, as my friend Mr. Kerry just said, to cooperate in military, security, education, and culture. And we have many other fields. We have to explore fresh ideas to promote and enhance the relation. It’s a good opportunity also to touch up on regional issues and combating terrorist group, so-called Daesh, and the situation in Yemen. Operation take place in Iraq now to liberate Mosul, crisis in Syria and of course Libya, and to think together how can we work to resume the peace process in the Middle East.

So we have a lot of challenges. Today we’ll have a good opportunity to discuss all these matters. Thank you.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you, sir. Thank you very much.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, one question: Do you think – do you see Lebanon as getting closer to having a president?

SECRETARY KERRY: We obviously hope that Lebanon will move, but I’m not certain what the outcomes will be from the support that Saad Hariri is offering. I don’t know what the result will be yet, but we’re very hopeful. This stalemate on the issue of a presidency is hurting Lebanon, it hurts the region, and it – we hope they can move forward. Thank you.

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