Envoy hails ties as France celebrates |
Arab Times - 15 July, 2012
Author: Nada Yafi
On the 14th of July, France celebrates its national day, 223 years after the Revolution whinch gave birth to our democratic system. This system has lately witnessed a smooth, quiet transition between our former president, Nicolas Sarkozy, and the newly-elected President, François Hollande.
As an Ambassador of France to Kuwait, I take this opportunity to hail more than half a century of bilateral relations with the state of Kuwait. I am happy to say we have strong, steady and friendly relationships between our two countries, between our heads of states, and also our peoples.
Our newly-elected President of the Republic François Hollande responded warmly to His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah’s congratulations on our presidential elections, and he emphasized the deep trust and respect in our relationship. Our President renewed the French commitment to Kuwait’s security and stability. Indeed whatever the changes of Presidents in the French Republic, the history of our friendship remains constant and firm.
Last year alone, I witnessed two visits by our Foreign Affairs Minister, and many other high officials, which gave me the feeling of the importance we attach to maintaining close political dialogue with the Kuwaiti authorities. A few days ago, his Excellency Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Foreign Affairs Minister, was in Paris, for the friends of Syria meeting. Our longstanding partnership stems first and foremost from the commitment of both countries to peace and security in the region, and in the world at large. We share common views on many regional and international issues.
In the field of defense and military cooperation Kuwait and France have weaved for three decades strong ties, materialized by a defense agreement in 1992, which was strengthened in 2009. The visit to Paris last month by the Kuwaiti chief of staff comes in a long process of mutual contacts, joint exercises, and various exchanges.
Our economic relations still have to grow to reach the high level of our political ties. During his visit to Kuwait last march our Minister for industry observed that more and more French companies, with excellent technology and expertise, are expressing interest in the various projects of development, in all possible fields. We are expecting a delegation of our French business leaders association in the near future. On the other hand, we are pleased to observe that the Kuwaiti investments in France are steadily increasing.
Education and culture is a vital area for France, and we are happy to have inaugurated in 2012 a true Cultural Center in Kuwait. Under the name “Institut Français” this Center not only caters to learners of French, but it provides information for students wanting to study in France, and organises cultural activities, exhibitions like the prestigious “Golden Era of Arab Sciences” with Dar Al-Athar Al-Islamiyya, conferences like “New Media and Democracy” with three associations of the civil society, art exhibitions like the ones in Beit Lothan, and many music concerts where East meets West. On the other hand, we are delighted to see the growing numbers of Kuwaitis visit France through the increasing numbers of visas delivered.
Strong relations indeed depend on close ties between people, and I believe French and Kuwaiti people have a lot in common., like the citizens’ interest for politics, their attachment to a Welfare state, the strong belief in democracy, to mention but a few. We are proud to have welcomed Kuwait Transparency in France in June this year on the occasion of the second tour of our parliamentary elections, where they had the opportunity to watch closely our elections procedures, adding a new field to our mutual exchanges.
I hope our ties will grow stronger in all possible fields.
Long live the friendship between Kuwait and France.