Brunei, Kuwait relations keep growing

Danial Norjidi

The relationship between Brunei and Kuwait has been growing steadily since 1991.

“We believe the two countries are already closer than that of friends or of partners anchored by the fraternal bond between our Leaderships,” said Ambassador of the State of Kuwait to Brunei Darussalam Salah Mubarak Musleh Al-Mutairi in a message on the occasion of Kuwait’s 59th National Day and 29th Liberation Day.

“Brunei and Kuwait are keen on boosting bilateral cooperation in all domains of mutual interests,” said the ambassador.

He affirmed that the two countries have great cooperation within the economical, investment, educational and cultural levels. “They keep up the momentum for enhance their cooperation in a way that serves their interests and strengthen the bilateral relations.”

“Last December, our bilateral relations experienced a major impetus,” the ambassador said, noting that Minister of Foreign Affairs II Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Erywan bin Pehin Datu Pekerma Jaya Haji Mohd Yusof paid an official visit to Kuwait to promote economic, trade and investment ties, which were the focus of the bilateral talks.

Minister of Religious Affairs Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Badaruddin bin Pengarah Dato Paduka Haji Awang Othman receiving a souvenir from Ambassador of the State of Kuwait to Brunei Darussalam Salah Mubarak Musleh Al-Mutairi at an event. PHOTO: IZAH AZAHARI

“Our bilateral relationship would see another boost ahead of us as the fourth Brunei-Kuwait Joint Committee is expected to convene in Kuwait by mid of this year and that would further develop and promote our relationship in all spheres.”

“Building up on the long-established bilateral ties, Kuwait is keen to enhance its cooperation with Brunei and to share knowledge and experience in support of our national visions, ‘Vision 2035’, that aim, among others, at diversifying the national economy.”

The ambassador said that cooperation in the area of people-to-people exchanges would be intensified. “In this regard, we hope that the Kuwaiti Cultural Week held in Brunei in 2018 would be reciprocated with a return visit to Kuwait by the Bruneian fellows.”

He said, “In terms of educational cooperation, Kuwait continues to grant scholarships for local students to study in Kuwait institutions of higher education and is currently working on increasing number of scholarship slots for Brunei. Acknowledging the importance of people’s diplomacy, the embassy has participated and supported cultural and charity activities in Brunei, and would continue to do so.

“In fact, there is much more we can do together regional and internationally as small, but principled and sovereign, states that have never seen our size as an impediment to making our voices heard in international arena,” the ambassador said. “Both countries have much to gain from joining forces to seek further venues to bolster cooperation in every possible area. In particular, there is considerable untapped potential in our trade and economic relations.”

“Thus, we would make efforts to ensure that Kuwaiti companies would give Brunei a closer look when considering venturing overseas. In addition, Kuwait provides untapped opportunities for international companies, including Bruneian businesses, seeking a foothold in the fast-growing economies of Kuwait and Middle East region.”

“We would spare no effort to take the relationship forward in the years ahead, a relationship that would be drawing on our historic and cultural ties and shared values to forge new partnerships that would deliver value to both countries.”

“We wish to extend our kindest congratulations to His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, the government and the people of Brunei on their 36th National Day.”

In the message, the ambassador also shared that a festive atmosphere pervaded Kuwait’s six governorates as nationwide flag hoisting ceremonies were held in early February to kick off a one-month celebration for the 59th National Day and 29th Liberation Day.

February is a month of festivities as Kuwaitis observe their National Days, he said, noting that Hala February is a national festival that highlights cultural and heritage events. Foreign delegations from brotherly and friendly countries join Kuwaitis in their joy to provide performances reflecting their distinguished cultures.

“Kuwaitis are rejoicing over the 14th anniversary of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah’s assumption of power. The occasion is an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of Kuwait and manifest patriotism and loyalty to our Leadership.”

“This event shows the close bonds between our sagacious leadership and people of Kuwait. It is an opportunity to further reflect on our country’s illustrious past, and look forward to a prosperous future. In addition, the celebration is also a reminder of the need to preserve our national unity, which is crucial to keep our country on the path to prosperity. It is with great honour and pleasure that I convey to His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the government and Kuwaitis my sincere heartfelt congratulations on this cherished occasion.”

The ambassador said since independence, Kuwait adopts a strategy of building good relations with all countries, promoting welfare and prosperity for all peoples. This strategy continues to orient Kuwait’s foreign policy, which is based on balance and moderation in support of the relevant United Nation bodies to maintain peace and security.

“Our country, under the wise Leadership, has been recognised globally as a voice of wisdom and a force for peace. Kuwait has been praised for its positive role, solid efforts, tedious and hard work towards achieving peaceful settlements for conflicts in the Middle East region and beyond.”

He highlighted that Kuwait’s humanitarian contributions to regional and international crises are reflective of Kuwait’s stance on defusing tension and seeking peace, while also noting that Kuwait has affirmed its effectiveness through its presence at international quarters as member of many international organisations.

“Kuwait is on course of unbridled economic success. The World Bank’s recent report shows that Kuwait is the seventh richest in the world, where practically there is no extreme poverty and no forced unemployment.” According to Swiss research firm Credit Suisse, Kuwait’s wealth reached USD405 billion in mid-2019.

“Kuwait enjoys strong foreign financial assets with financial reserves estimated at 465 per cent of GDP. This was due to the strong financial position of Kuwait, the rise of economic indicators and the possession of about eight per cent of the world’s proven oil reserves,” said the ambassador.

“Kuwait’s sovereign fund ranked fourth among the 81 biggest sovereign funds worldwide in terms of assets. According to the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute (SWFI), the total assets of Kuwait’s sovereign fund reached USD592 billion, which is the second in the Middle East region.” He noted that with a strong acceleration in the reform agenda, Kuwait’s investment climate is poised to improve over the coming years towards realising the vision of turning Kuwait into a global financial and trading hub.

As part of its plan to transform the country into an international financial and commercial hub, the State of Kuwait is working on developing the tourism sector in line with the ‘New Kuwait’ or ‘Vision 2035’.

“The plan aims at developing Kuwaiti Islands and the northern region of the country to attract visitors and investors from all around the globe,” added the ambassador. “The environment of Kuwait’s islands provides many investment opportunities for local and international businesses as well.”