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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to Kuwait reaffirms historic friendship
RIYAD (Reuters) – The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia’s visit to Kuwait on Friday marked the final stop on his tour of Gulf Cooperation Council countries ahead of the annual GCC summit, to be held in Riyadh on December 14 .
He had previously visited Kuwait in his official capacity as Deputy Crown Prince in May 2015, and again in September 2018 after becoming Crown Prince in June 2017.
The visit came six months after a meeting between him and the Crown Prince of Kuwait, Sheikh Mishal Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, when the latter visited Riyadh for talks.
Upon his arrival in Kuwait on Friday, Crown Prince Mohammed was received by Sheikh Mishal. He was then received by the Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.
The Emir awarded the Order of Wisam Mubarak Al-Kabir to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for his efforts “to strengthen the bonds of brotherhood and understanding between the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council,” SPA reported.
Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have enjoyed close and cordial relations for decades, assisting each other in times of crisis, engaging in reciprocal trade and tourism, and collaborating on defense and diplomatic matters.
They regularly coordinate their actions under the aegis of the GCC in accordance with the common visions and strategic objectives of the bloc, with a view to achieving integration between the Member States in different areas.
A similar spirit of cooperation informs their roles within the Arab League, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the UN and various international bodies.
“Today, His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense – may God protect him – arrives in his second homeland, the brother state of Kuwait,” said Prince Sultan bin Saad bin Khalid Al said. -Saud, the Saudi ambassador to Kuwait, said in a statement ahead of Prince Mohammed’s arrival.
âThis is the second official visit of His Royal Highness since assuming the post of Crown Prince. (The visit) is an extension of the successive visits of the leaders of Saudi Arabia to their brothers the leaders of the State of Kuwait, which confirms the strength and the distinction of the relations between the two countries, and that it has a solid and historic depth since the era of the founder, King Abdulaziz bin Abdul Rahman Al-Saud, may his soul rest in peace.
âThe significance of this visit is a continuation of His Highness’s current tour of the GCC states and ahead of the 42nd Gulf Summit to be held in Riyadh on December 14th. the unity of the cohesion of the Gulf, the unification of positions vis-Ã -vis regional, Arab and international issues, and the raising of the level of joint cooperation between GCC states in various fields.
“Many regional and international issues and developments which are in the interest of the region and its peoples are expected to be discussed.”
The Saudi royal family has an affection for Kuwait which can be traced to an act of generosity dating back over a century.
In 1891, when Riyadh was seized by King Abdulaziz bin Abdul Rahman Al-Saud’s rival Ibn Rasheed, the family and their supporters took refuge in Kuwait.
In 1902, when King Abdulaziz took over Riyadh, the ruling Al-Saud family returned to the Najd of Kuwait and resettled the Saudi state, later to unify the country.
The Uqair Protocol of December 1922 delimited neutral zones between mandatory Iraq, the Sheikh of Kuwait, and the Sultanate of Najd, the nascent kingdom that would later become Saudi Arabia.
It was the discovery of oil in 1938 in the Burgan field, just north of the neutral zone on the Saudi-Kuwaiti border, that would forever change relations between the two kingdoms, with their rulers both agreeing to share the discovery. . In 1965, the neutral zone between the two states was renegotiated again, while the maritime border was redrawn in 2000.
These common interests made Saudi Arabia and Kuwait natural partners and contributed to the establishment of the six-member GCC in 1981, transforming a historic friendship into an institution capable of promoting economic and security cooperation.
This solidarity proved critical on August 2, 1990, when Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein sent his armed forces to invade Kuwait. Now it was Saudi Arabia’s turn to offer sanctuary to the Kuwaiti royal family and their fleeing officials, as Iraqi troops annexed the country, taking control of some 20 percent of the world’s reserves of oil.
US President George HW Bush condemned the Iraqi invasion and began to assemble a coalition of 35 nations, including Saudi Arabia, to help liberate Kuwait. Soon, US forces established bases in the Gulf in anticipation of the planned counterattack. In January 1991, the coalition launched Operation Desert Storm.
Saudi jets and ground forces have participated in several battles to repel Iraqi cross-border incursions and Scud missile attacks. At the end of February, Kuwait had been liberated.
Since then, common defense and security has been a priority among GCC members. As recently as 2017, Kuwait hosted military exercises involving the armed forces of the United States, Saudi Arabia, and other Gulf forces.
In December 2020, a month before the Gulf dispute was officially resolved with the help of Kuwaiti mediation and the signing of AlUla’s declaration, Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah thanked the king. Saudi Salman for the Kingdom’s role in promoting security and stability in the region.
However, the Saudi-Kuwaiti relationship goes far beyond oil, security and diplomacy. The two countries share many of the same fundamental values, the same culture and even the same family ties. These similarities of perspectives have enabled them to interweave their development programs.
One thing Kuwait is well known for is its vibrant retail sector, making it a top destination for everything from fashion to supercars. Kuwait’s largest mall, The Avenues, plans to expand into Saudi Arabia over the next four years with two new outlets in Riyadh and Alkhobar.
The move reflects the two countries’ shared vision to diversify their economies to avoid depending on fluctuating prices and finite days of oil and instead embrace high-tech and creative industries, luxury tourism, small entrepreneurs and the green energy transition.
Much has changed in both countries over the past century, from nomadic societies to cityscapes of steel and glass. But throughout this transformation – and through thick and thin – they have remained good neighbors and strong allies.