US, Kuwait reaffirm joint commitment to Gulf security

By Hussein Ibrahim in Kuwait


Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Ahmad Nasser Mohammed Al-Sabah and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speak to the media prior to meeting at the State Department in Washington, DC on November 24th. [Saul Loeb/POOL/AFP]

The fourth US-Kuwait Strategic Dialogue, which opened November 9th and concluded with a meeting in Washington on November 24th, reaffirmed the two allies' shared commitment to promoting the stability and security of the Gulf.

For two weeks, bilateral working groups met online to advance the partnership in the arena of politics, human rights, development, defence, security, trade, investment, education, consular affairs, customs, border protection and health.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hosted his counterpart, Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Ahmed Nasser Mohammed Al-Sabah, for the concluding session.

"Our two countries took the opportunity this year to reaffirm our shared commitment to promote the stability and security of the region," the US State Department said in a November 27th statement.


A US Navy commander inspects the fit of a soldier's mask during joint military exercises in Kuwait. [Photo via Kuwait News Agency]

The two sides reaffirmed their "steadfast commitment" to the stability of the Middle East and their ongoing partnership in the fight against terrorism.

"The US and Kuwait stand together against the destabilising influence of the Iranian regime across the Middle East," the statement said.

"A stronger relationship between the US and Kuwait is a powerful statement for peace, stability, and prosperity in the region," it said.

"The Kuwait-US defence partnership plays an important role in maintaining regional security and stability, and extends to the areas of combating terrorism and deterring external aggression," said Kuwaiti military expert Nasser Salmeen.

He noted that Kuwait hosted a September 2018 meeting of the chiefs of staff of the armed forces of Gulf Co-operation Council countries, Egypt, Jordan and the US Central Command that had a significant impact on stabilising the Gulf region.

The Dasman-1 joint military exercises between Kuwaiti ground forces artillery and US Army artillery, held in February this year, strengthened the combat and operational capabilities of the Kuwaiti forces, he told Al-Mashareq.

During the dialogue, he said, the two sides "engaged in extensive discussions on future defence co-operation and the priority of moving forward in modernising military installations in Kuwait used jointly by our forces and US forces".

The US-Kuwaiti partnership also is very strong in the area of combating terrorism, thwarting potential terror attacks and drying up the sources of terrorist financing, he said.

This aims to ensure the security and safety of the people of the two countries, he added, and to deprive terrorists and criminals of shelter.

Long-standing partnership

"We have had a partnership with the US that has spanned nearly 30 years, as the defence co-operation between the two countries has existed since 1990," international relations expert Alia al-Shammari told Al-Mashareq.

"The reasons and motivations that compelled the forging of this partnership still exist today, even if the source or face of this threat is different than it was before," she said.

"In recent years, the partnership between the two countries in the area of defence has developed, and Kuwait has greatly benefited from the presence of US army bases in the region," she said.

"It has acquired defence systems and benefited from training that has contributed significantly to protecting the strategic interests of both sides, combating the growing threat of terrorism and curbing Iranian threats," she said.

She said the Kuwaiti government and people are grateful to the US for its commitment to safeguarding the security and stability of the Gulf region and protecting maritime navigation.

'Need for constant vigilance'

US-Kuwait ties will continue, with a new bilateral working group focused on political, human rights and development co-operation beginning its work.

The 4th Strategic Dialogue was "very fruitful, especially in the area of development", strategic expert Ahmed al-Sadhan told Al-Mashareq.

The Kuwait Fund and USAID have signed an agreement that will include global development and co-operation in everything from energy to food security, he said.

A separate agreement is expected to facilitate co-operation on health issues, medical research and knowledge-sharing, among other issues.

Both Kuwait and the US "are directly aware of the need for constant vigilance in the face of global terrorist threats and are committed to taking more steps to prevent the financing of terrorism", al-Sadhan said.

"Therefore, we are co-ordinating joint efforts to exchange and share information such as biometric information, which will help deter terrorist attacks," he said.

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