SECRETARY POMPEO: Good morning, everyone. And good evening to those watching in Kuwait.
Dr. Ahmad, it’s wonderful to be with you, to host you and your team here in Washington, D.C. The foreign minister and I just completed a great conversation, a productive gathering, and our teams have been doing the same. These annual meetings each time have been more productive than the one previously. And that’s in good part because of the goodwill of our two teams and the important relationship between our two countries.
Kuwait is one of our most important strategic partners throughout the Middle East. And our administration has worked hard to deepen the historic bonds between our two countries. Indeed, we’re grateful that the late Amir made these ties even closer.
Once again, I want to express my condolences to the people of Kuwait for the Amir’s death earlier this year. Our work today honors him, builds on his proud legacy in several key areas. He opened up new ways for us to think and work and talk together.
I want to start with a topic that’s on everyone’s mind: the battle against the pandemic from Wuhan.
Many people in America, in Kuwait, and around the world are suffering because the Chinese Communist Party failed to properly alert the world that it had a public health disaster on its hands. It silenced brave Chinese citizens.
It’s wonderful that the United States and Kuwait have been able to work together on our preparedness to make sure we are ready to tackle public health challenges alongside each other.
During our dialogue just now, we signed an MOU to increase our cooperation in areas like biomedical research and information sharing.
And we finalized another MOU today between the Kuwait Fund and the State Department’s USAID.
Thanks to that agreement, we’ll coordinate on assistance on everything from energy to food security as well. As two of the most generous donor nation countries in the world, the United States and Kuwait are proud to work together to help those in need and to save lives.
On the economic front, we signed last year to increase entrepreneurship and grow small and medium-sized enterprises in Kuwait, and we’re already producing success stories. It contributed to the $4.5 billion in bilateral trade between our countries in calendar year 2019.
This pandemic has put a halt to a lot of the movement of goods and people. But I am confident – I’m confident that as we move forward, we’ll soon see more trade, more investment, and students and businesspeople traveling much more frequently between our two countries.
Finally, too, our strong security relationship. Next year is the 30th anniversary of Operation Desert Storm and the liberation of Kuwait from Saddam’s bloody tyranny – three decades. America and Kuwait’s relationship has been built around security cooperation ever since that time.
Today, Kuwait and Iraq collaborate closely and build ties to peace and prosperity, while Kuwait hosts thousands of United States troops who work closely with both militaries. This is a model of progress, and I thank the Kuwaiti people for the good work that they do to support our soldiers, sailors, airmen inside of Kuwait.
Our two nations are also united on the challenges of our time. We fought together to defeat ISIS’s fraudulent caliphate.
And we’re aligned in countering the Iranian regime as well. And I want to thank Kuwait for its support of the maximum pressure campaign. Together, we are denying Tehran money, resources, wealth, weapons with which they would be able to commit terror acts all across the region.
We’re working to resolve other conflicts as well. The foreign minister and the Kuwaitis have been models in moving forward to heal the Gulf rift, and their assistance continues to be of great importance in that respect.
And as I said last year in Kuwait, President Trump and I both believe the ongoing dispute has dragged on for too long. It only benefits our adversaries.
Dr. Ahmad, thank you for your friendship. Thank you for joining me here today.
And thank you to the people of Kuwait for being true friends of us here in the United States. Thank you.
FOREIGN MINISTER AHMAD: Thank you, Mr. Secretary, my dear friend Secretary Pompeo. Thank you so much for hosting us and thank you so much for hosting the fourth dialogue meeting here in Washington.
I would like first to recall the deepest appreciation from His Highness the Amir, the leadership, the government, and people of Kuwait for all that you have done for the latest Highness the Amir, providing the medevac airplane and all of the health care for the latest Highness the Amir, and also bestowing upon the latest Highness the Amir, the Legion of Merit. It’s something that will always be appreciative in Kuwait.
Also I would like to express the great gratitude of the leadership of Kuwait for the continuous, relentless commitment of United States in the security of Kuwait, but also of the region, and of the cooperation that we have in this regard.
As you have said, Your Excellency, next year will mark two events, important events – will mark 30 years of the liberation of Kuwait, where the United States and the leadership of United States guided the coalition of 35 nations around the world in meeting international security, international law in liberating Kuwait. Also it will mark 60 years of establishing diplomatic relationship with United States, and we’ll work very hard for those two events to have its matter here in Washington, but also there in Kuwait.
The maintaining this Strategic Dialogue is very important now. For the past four years, we see progress in all fields and sectors, and they are numerous. And the six working groups now have made tremendous advance in our bilateral relationship, on the defense, security, economy, education, health, and human rights.
Now with the challenges of COVID, Your Excellency, also we think that there are some fields and sectors to enhance our collaboration in them. And as you have mentioned, we are now in – either in securing and maintaining and enhancing and bolstering our health institutions, but also in food security.
The relationship and bilateral relationship and since the creation of the fourth dialogue meeting, it has given us a clear caliber to gauge the advancement in our relationship. It has institutionalized our relationship, and for the past four years, for example, in finance, we have risen our investment to 17 percent in the last four years.
Our trade also advanced to over 14 billion from 2016 to 2020. The role also of all of those who want to seek education here in the United States is advancing in a very clear speed, and we are also very much in support of that. Now, somewhat 90,000 Kuwaitis are enjoying the education here in Kuwait. We are also combating, as Your Excellency mentioned, against terrorism, and also enhancing our cooperation in cybersecurity.
We all – we have a beautiful story between United States and Kuwait, and we will make sure that will – this story will even transpire even for future generations to come.
I thank you again, Your Excellency.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you very much.