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Joint Press Release: The UK and State of Kuwait celebrates 125 years of official diplomatic relations

This week marks 125 years since our two countries signed the Anglo-Kuwaiti Agreement of 1899, launching official diplomatic relations between the State of Kuwait and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Believing in the importance of celebrating this landmark, our respective Governments have jointly agreed to declare 2024 the Year of the Kuwaiti-British Partnership, as per the agreement signed on 29 August 2023, in the margins of the visit of His Highness the Amir of the State of Kuwait, Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, then Crown Prince, to the United Kingdom.

The close and deep-rooted relationship between our two countries has grown steadily over the past century and a quarter. We have supported each other to tackle regional and global challenges, and to defend and promote our common values.

The Year of the Kuwaiti-British Partnership is an opportunity to reflect on the achievements of the past 125 years, such as our historic investment relationship, underpinned by the Kuwait Investment Office’s 70-year presence in the City of London, and our collaboration to defend Kuwait’s sovereignty and territorial integrity during the First Gulf War. We will also seek to enhance current and future cooperation through high-level visits, events and initiatives, such as cultural exchanges and education programmes. Both Governments are committed to continuing to broaden and deepen our friendship, and ensuring the special ties between our two peoples continue to grow for another 125 years.

Key areas of focus for cooperation will include trade and investment, defence, cyber security, education, culture, and international development. Foreign Ministers will meet for our Strategic Dialogue, while other senior visits will support this cooperation, and drive forward collaboration on key foreign policy issues which underpin our mutual security and prosperity, as well as on the shared challenges and opportunities that are emerging in our ever-changing world.

Both countries are eagerly awaiting the rollout of the Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) scheme to Kuwaiti Nationals in February. This will strengthen further our people-to-people ties by making it easier than ever before to travel to the UK. We also look forward to building on existing cooperation in the field of cybersecurity and defence, including the United Kingdom’s work to help establish the National Cyber Security Center in Kuwait, and to reinforcing long-standing ties between our two countries.

The State of Kuwait and the United Kingdom renew their commitment to continue strengthening cooperation for the benefit of our two friendly peoples and the wider world. 

Commenting on this landmark occasion, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, British Minister of State for the Middle East, South Asia, UN and the Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict, stated:

I am delighted that we are celebrating this the 125th year of the Kuwaiti-British Partnership. The UK cherishes its close bond with Kuwait and is excited by the opportunity this special year presents to both reflect on our shared history and enhance future cooperation across a range of fields. On a personal note, I am very much looking forward to visiting Kuwait next month for the purpose of co-chairing the twentieth Kuwait-UK Joint Steering Group alongside my good friend His Excellency Sheikh Jarrah Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Kuwait – and to taking part in further ‘125’ events and initiatives throughout 2024. I have every confidence that our extraordinary ties will continue to grow for another century and a quarter and beyond.

His Excellency Sheikh Jarrah Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Kuwait added:

Kuwait is proud of its exceptional and historic relations with the United Kingdom, and determined to build on all we have achieved over the past 125 years, including through His Highness the Amir of the State of Kuwait, Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah’s, historic visit to London in August of last year as an official Guest of His Majesty’s Government. Both countries are looking forward to launching various activities and exchanging high-level visits throughout 2024, with the aim of strengthening both official and people-to-people relations between us.

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