FOREIGN MINISTER AL-SABAH: (By way of interpreter) To start out, I want to welcome my pal, Mr. State Secretary Antony Blinken, in his go to, first go to to Kuwait, whereas I’m a minister of – international affairs minister. We had been honored right this moment within the morning to satisfy his highness the amir of the nation, Sheikh Jaber (inaudible) Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, and in addition his highness the prime – the crown prince, Sheikh Mishal Al-Sabah, and in addition the prime – his highness the prime minister, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, might God defend them.
We heard throughout the go to along with his highness the amir the directions to present help to the relations with the U.S., all – all what may be – and care. And we should always do not forget that this yr, we have a good time the sixtieth anniversary of our diplomatic relations, and in addition thirtieth anniversary of liberation of Kuwait. And the go to of my pal, Secretary of State Antony Blinken to Kuwait, comes fairly – few days from the anniversary of the Iraqi invasion to Kuwait, which – the place there was a really sturdy stand by USA in liberating Kuwait and having legitimacy again to Kuwait. So we thanks, your excellency, my pal, Mr. Secretary.
The bloods of the Kuwaitis and the U.S., the People, had been collectively and combined collectively within the liberation of Kuwait, and we bear in mind by the coalition of 39 nations all over the world to liberate Kuwait, headed and led by USA. This can stay within the hearts of all Kuwaitis, all in appreciation for that. And we are going to stay appreciative for the USA and the administration, the U.S. administration, and his excellency, his highness, the – or the President of USA and in addition State Secretary Mr. Blinken.
We bear in mind additionally on this event the numerous relations we have now between our each nations in all fields. We talked concerning the significance of lending care of strategic discussions and dialogue and what’s essential for each nations and provides additional push to the bilateral relation. We sit up for the fifth dialogue session between Kuwait and USA.
And we consider that each nations and the entire world are going by the corona pandemic. Possibly it is very important change experience with respect to preventing this pandemic and all the opposite problems with growth and enhancement of the right way to distribute the vaccine in each nations and all of the world, really, as a result of each nations consider that we’re not immune until we’re all vaccinated. And we consider there’s one other facet that comes from corona, which is the aftermath of this pandemic with respect to the meals safety, and there’s a number of collaboration in that respect with USA. We thank USA for this a part of the meals safety in the entire area and in the entire world.
We’re additionally proud on the extent of collaboration in schooling between USA and Kuwait, and there are a number of college students who’re learning within the USA, and plenty of of Kuwaitis have benefited all through the a long time, the previous a long time of the distinctive schooling loved within the U.S. by the USA.
And throughout the pandemic there have been some points that we needed to – we should always study from it and share experience, and in addition the collaboration on this subject itself, the pandemic. Additionally these with respect to the knowledge expertise, cyber crime, cybersecurity, as a result of not one of the nations are actually safe fully until we be part of efforts collectively. And we thank our buddies within the USA for all of the efforts they make with Kuwait to make sure cybersecurity in Kuwait.
That is – these are the bilateral points that we’ll proceed on the finish of this yr within the strategic dialogue, and we additionally mentioned a number of points, regional and worldwide. And thank God we – there are such a lot of, so many similarity in viewpoints concerning these points on the regional and worldwide degree as a result of we each consider as nations that – the weather within the worldwide legislation and talked about within the constitution of building the United Nations itself.
I welcome you, my pal, State Secretary Antony Blinken, to Kuwait. Welcome, and we want for you a pleasant go to and profitable one. Thanks.
SECRETARY BLINKEN: Thanks. Good afternoon once more.
It’s an actual pleasure to be again in Kuwait to have the ability to spend time in individual with my pal, the international minister. We’ve had the alternatives to speak and work on points, however nothing substitutes for having the ability to be in the identical room, the identical place, and have superb and detailed conversations.
So, Ahmed, I actually need to thanks in your hospitality right this moment and, after all, his highness the amir, the crown prince, the prime minister, the speaker of the parliament for his or her very, very heat reception and the superb conversations that we’ve had.
I’m right here due to the sturdy ties of friendship and partnership between the USA and Kuwait. And because the international minister has already famous, 60 years in the past when Kuwait grew to become an impartial nation, our two nations rapidly established diplomatic relations. And 30 years in the past, the USA was proud to guide a coalition of countries to assist liberate Kuwait from the occupation of Saddam Hussein. We had been on the parliament and noticed a video of President George H.W. Bush when he was right here after the liberation, being acquired on the parliament, and it was fairly, I need to say, transferring to see these pictures once more of our president, of Secretary Baker, our Kuwaiti colleagues in that exceptional second. And as President Bush put it, by standing with a peaceable Kuwait towards an invasion by a violent dictator, we had been standing up for our rules, together with the precept that America stands by her buddies.
Within the years since, the partnership between Kuwait and the USA has grown even stronger. And right this moment, because the international minister alluded to, we’re working collectively on all kinds of points. We’re working collectively to finish the COVID-19 pandemic, to advance regional safety, to bridge divides, to handle the wants of individuals throughout the Center East and past. And I actually need to thank Kuwait for stepping as much as present very beneficiant help to COVAX, the power that helps present vaccines all over the world. It’s main the worldwide effort to obtain and equitably distribute secure and efficient vaccines with sturdy help from each of our nations.
Kuwait has demonstrated and Ahmed, you’ve demonstrated personally exceptional statesmanship in therapeutic the Gulf rift earlier this yr, bringing a near a political disaster that’s divided Gulf nations since 2017. Kuwait’s a crucial accomplice within the effort to finish the warfare in Yemen and to advance the reason for a two-state resolution between Israelis and Palestinians. As Iraq works to strengthen its relations with its Arab neighbors, Kuwait and the USA are working collectively to extend its stability, its safety, its integration with the area, together with by Kuwait’s efforts to attach Iraq to the GCC electrical energy grid. And we’re working collectively to assist the Afghan folks and help regional stability as coalition forces withdraw from Afghanistan.
This partnership is made doable by our deepening ties. Kuwait is a significant non-NATO ally of ours. It’s a gracious host to American troops based mostly right here, and that permits us to proceed our mission of serving to to defend our companions within the area. The bilateral commerce relationship continues to develop. In 2019, it accounted for about $4.5 billion. We’re decided to lift that quantity considerably by placing ahead a optimistic imaginative and prescient for the right way to get enterprise performed.
We all know that allies and companions within the area have their very own advanced relationships all over the world, together with with China, and the query for us isn’t an both/or alternative, however we consider that by selling a degree enterprise taking part in subject and counting on innovation and openness, the USA will stay a robust accomplice of alternative all through the area.
Earlier right this moment, as I discussed, I had an opportunity to tour Kuwait’s Nationwide Meeting, an establishment important to democratic governance. I respect the work that our nations do collectively, each bilaterally and in worldwide establishments, to advance respect for freedom of faith and perception. Maybe most importantly, our people-to-people ties are enduring. Almost 10,000 Kuwaitis studied in American universities and English-language establishments within the 2019-2020 tutorial yr. That’s the third-highest variety of any nation within the area. It’s much more vital once we do not forget that Kuwait has one of many smaller populations within the area. We’re grateful that so many Kuwaiti college students have chosen to review in the USA. We’re working arduous to welcome as lots of you again as doable, and we hope much more of you’ll research in the USA as a result of sturdy bilateral partnerships like ours finally are based on these people-to-people ties.
At a time of immense international problem, it’s extra essential than ever to have buddies that you may work with to resolve issues, to advance shared pursuits and shared objectives. Kuwait is a type of buddies. The USA is happy with our partnership and I’m grateful for the nice work that we’re getting performed right this moment and that we’ll get performed sooner or later.
As famous, this can be a time of in some methods wanting again in celebration on the institution of diplomatic relations, on the liberation of Kuwait, however rather more essential even than that could be a second for wanting ahead, to constructing on all that we’ve performed collectively in recent times, to develop the partnership, to make it even stronger, to make it even broader, and to work collectively to deal with the challenges that we face and that the world faces. Thanks.
FOREIGN MINISTER AL-SABAH: Thanks a lot. Samira.
QUESTION: (By way of interpreter) Thanks, Your Excellency, and welcome to your visitor. Samira from Anhaar – Kuwait Anhaar journal, a query to each ministers.
It’s concerning your excellency – what Blinken stated to comply with Afghanistan, and The Wall Avenue Journal had revealed that Kuwait will obtain variety of translators coming from Afghanistan and talked about that it’ll obtain them at an American base known as Buehring, I believe she stated. Did you talk about this situation? And what’s the stand of Kuwait and the variety of completely different people that Kuwait will obtain and host?
The opposite query is concerning decreasing the variety of troopers of – American troopers – sorry, variety of Patriot platforms. Why did you scale back this within the area? And also you say – or this administration say that they’re to reinforce safety within the area and defend the Gulf nations. Thanks.
SECRETARY BLINKEN: Thanks very a lot for the query. With regard to Afghanistan and the query of particular immigrant visas, the USA is dedicated to serving to those that helped us throughout our time in Afghanistan during the last 20 years. And certainly, we’ve had very courageous Afghans who’ve stood with us, with our troopers, with our diplomats, principally as translators and interpreters, and on account of that service, profit from the potential of securing a visa to come back reside in the USA. We’re actively engaged in that course of, notably in relocation planning for these courageous Afghans and their households. That could be a topic that got here up right this moment, because it’s come up in conversations with quite a lot of different allies and companions.
With regard to the Patriots and different points, I might refer you to the Division of Protection on these questions.
FOREIGN MINISTER AL-SABAH: Sir.
QUESTION: Thanks. Mr. Secretary, I want to comply with up on the query on Afghan interpreters. So there have been expectation that you’d attain an settlement right here with Kuwait, however you’re not asserting it. At this tempo, how are you going to have the ability to relocate all these folks earlier than the U.S. forces go away in a single month, if that’s the administration intention, after all? And might you affirm that the primary group will arrive within the U.S. right this moment to be transferred to Fort Lee?
And Mr. International Minister, has the Biden administration requested Kuwait to affix the Abraham Accords with Israel, and is that one thing that you’re contemplating? Thanks.
SECRETARY BLINKEN: Thanks very a lot. I’m completely happy to begin.
In order you understand, earlier this month, President Biden introduced what we name Operation Allies Refuge to help the relocation for Afghan nationals and their households who’re eligible for Particular Immigrant Visas. And that course of is actively underway. And certainly, we count on the primary beneficiaries of this system to start arriving very, very quickly.
On the State Division, we’ve activated an Afghanistan Coordination Activity Drive that’s engaged on this. It’s led by a three-time ambassador, Tracey Jacobson, and has specialists from throughout the related departments in authorities. And that process power is coordinating our efforts to take SIV candidates out of hurt’s method and, if certified, deliver them to the USA as soon as their vetting is full. So we’re very actively engaged in that. We put vital assets into this effort. We’re speaking to quite a lot of nations about the potential of quickly relocating these candidates as the method is full. It takes a while to work by the method. And as I stated, that was a product – one of many points that got here up in our conversations right this moment, as it’s with quite a lot of different buddies and allies, however we’re very a lot targeted on making good on our obligations to those that stood with us in Afghanistan.
FOREIGN MINISTER AL-SABAH: Thanks a lot. Relating to the Abraham Accords, all the signatories, so far as Kuwait is anxious, it’s a sovereign situation for all the signatories on the Abraham Accord.
However so far as Kuwait, it’s the complete battle of the Palestinians, now over 73 years of ordeal. An important side isn’t to enter the desperation. We thank the U.S. administration for its dedication with the peace course of, with the reviving of the political course of. We had been in dire instances finish of Could throughout all the escalation of violence on Gaza. And we really do assume that the one viable resolution is a two-state resolution. And if we lose deal with that, then it could be put into ordeal and/or to jeopardy.
Due to this fact, steady focus of the entire worldwide group on reviving the spirit of peace because it was 30 years in the past throughout Madrid or throughout Oslo is essential so far as Kuwait is anxious, and to not lose this momentum as a result of the side of it, the ramification have an effect on may be very dire for the Palestinians and for the area. (Inaudible.)
QUESTION: My title is Shahad Al-Matrouk from Al Arabiya’s channel. I want to discuss concerning the Houthi conduct that’s backed by Iran lately. We noticed new makes an attempt to assault Saudi Arabia with ballistic missiles and drones. Will Washington condemn solely with out taking any measures to cease these behaviors that focus on civilians? Additionally, the U.S. navy presence within the Gulf area, will it shrink within the coming time period? Thanks.
SECRETARY BLINKEN: I’m sorry. May you repeat the second a part of the query?
QUESTION: The U.S. navy presence within the area, will it shrink within the coming time period?
SECRETARY BLINKEN: Thanks. With regard to Yemen, we’re very, very targeted on the diplomacy and efforts to deliver the warfare to an finish and to deliver the ensuing human struggling to an finish. As you understand, on the very – towards the very starting of the administration, we appointed a senior particular envoy to guide our diplomacy for ending the warfare in Yemen, Tim Lenderking. He’s been very actively engaged, as have I and different officers within the administration. And it’s incumbent on the Houthis to have interaction meaningfully and in good religion in an effort to finish the warfare. We respect the steps that Saudi Arabia has taken to maneuver in that route, and we’re additionally dedicated to the protection of Saudi Arabia, together with with regards to assaults towards Saudi territory coming from Yemen, coming from the Houthis. That’s – that continues to be important.
So proper now, I believe the Houthis have didn’t reveal a willingness to have interaction meaningfully within the peace course of. I believe that each – nearly each nation within the area in addition to the USA try to maneuver in that route, and we want to see the Houthis interact meaningfully in that effort versus launching missiles at Saudi Arabia or persevering with an offensive in Yemen itself.
With regard to our power posture, as each administration does upon taking workplace, we’re engaged in a worldwide evaluation of our power posture. Once more, I’ll go away that to the Pentagon to speak about, however we’re very a lot dedicated to our presence within the area, within the Center East, and right here in Kuwait.
FOREIGN MINISTER AL-SABAH: Sir.
QUESTION: Because you’ve come to the area, Secretary Blinken, I’m wondering if I might ask about Iran. The supreme chief stated yesterday that Iran isn’t going to just accept what he known as Washington’s cussed calls for to revive the nuclear deal, as you received’t take away any of the sanctions imposed by the earlier U.S. administration. With attempting to get them again into the nuclear deal, haven’t you failed to present them a very good purpose to get them again to the negotiating desk?
And additional, I needed to ask, why has it taken almost two weeks for the administration to talk out about protests which were happening in Iran over – towards the federal government within the final couple of weeks?
And to the international minister, I’m wondering, is Kuwait involved concerning the U.S. latest settlement with Iraq to finish its fight mission there? This comes at a time when Iranian-backed militias look like within the ascendancy in Iraq. The nation’s politics is wanting in direction of a extra nationalist route. Does this provide you with considerations that what occurred right here 30 years in the past is nearer to taking place once more with the state of affairs in Iraq? Thanks.
SECRETARY BLINKEN: So we’ve engaged in a number of rounds of conversations and negotiations in Vienna – oblique, as you understand. The Iranians have refused to speak straight, however with our European companions, with Russia and China, we’ve been engaged in – as I stated, in a number of rounds. I believe we have now clearly demonstrated our good religion and want to return to mutual compliance with the nuclear settlement, with the JCPOA. And the actual fact of the matter is it’s Iran that has selections to make, elementary selections to make about whether or not it too needs to return to compliance. And there’s no quantity of deflection that may change that fundamental truth. The ball stays in Iran’s court docket and we are going to see if they’re ready to make the choices crucial to come back again into compliance.
We’re dedicated to diplomacy, however this course of can’t go on indefinitely. In some unspecified time in the future, the features achieved by the JCPOA can’t be absolutely recovered by a return to the JCPOA if Iran continues the actions that it’s undertaken with regard to its nuclear program – actions that, after all, have damaged by the constraints imposed by the JCPOA. So we glance to see what Iran is able to do or not able to do. We stay absolutely ready to return to Vienna to proceed negotiations, however as I stated, this course of can’t and won’t go on indefinitely.
FOREIGN MINISTER AL-SABAH: Thanks a lot. Relating to the – your second query, the USA has confirmed time and time once more of its dedication to the safety of Kuwait and the area, and I believe that all through the six a long time, there are many instances and side that basically, the USA confirmed in motion its complete dedication.
As effectively, we have now an settlement treaty with the USA for the safety and stability of Kuwait, and each of us are members beneath the management of United States in combating Daesh. In Kuwait, we’re internet hosting plenty of allied nation in combating Daesh, so that is an ongoing, as effectively, a dedication – a global dedication, a multilateral dedication in combating terrorism as effectively.
So no, we’re not involved about this matter. We expect that it’s based mostly on the sovereign choice of United – the USA, and the time has confirmed time and time once more the fervent stance of United States with the safety and stability of Kuwait.
Thanks a lot, women and gents. Thanks a lot, and see you quickly. Thanks.