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Kuwait, Netherlands to boost cooperation in environment sector
April 27, 2014, 11:03 am

Kuwait’s Environment Public Authority (EPA) and the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (NEA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to strengthen collaboration in the field of environment.

The MoU was signed on behalf of EPA by its acting general director Raja Buseiri, and on NEA’s behalf by its director for international programs, Bas Pulles in the city hall of Rotterdam on Thursday, 24 April. The signing ceremony was held, in the presence of Mayor of Rotterdam, Ahmed Aboutaleb, the ambassador of Kuwait to the Netherlands, Hafeez Al-Ajmi, and representatives from the Dutch Environmental Protection Agency, DCMR, and the Kuwait Petroleum Europoort (KPE) refinery in Rotterdam.

Speaking to the media after the signing ceremony, Aboutaleb, a Dutch politician of Moroccan origin who has been the Mayor of Rotterdam since 2009 and speaks fluent Arabic, said that during his visit to Kuwait last November, the Prime Minister of Kuwait was asked if the Kuwaiti government and the Kuwaiti society could use the knowledge and expertise of Netherlands on environmental protections in the ports and the industrial zone.

“We are happy today to announce the establishment of this collaboration. This means that officials from the Kuwait government will be trained in Rotterdam and also Dutch experts will visit Kuwait to advise on how to organize within the law and the legislation the connection between the environment and the production systems in the industry,” he said.

“I was very honored to be received by His Highness the Prime Minister twice during my visit to Kuwait. This is a sign that cooperation is good on the high level and that the Kuwaiti government has interest in cooperation with the Netherlands,” he added.

On his part, ambassador Hafeez Al-Ajmi said “I am very happy to be present at the signing ceremony of the MoU.” He continued, “Kuwait is very interested to protect the environment and this agreement is a key between the two countries to boost cooperation in the future.”

“Relations between Kuwait and the Netherlands are developing and progressing. We are preparing for the visit of the first deputy prime minister and foreign minister in May to attend the ceremonies marking 50 years of Dutch-Kuwait diplomatic relations,” he said and added that the Kuwaiti oil minister is also expected to visit the Netherlands soon.

The MoU seeks full survey of the Kuwait industrial areas plus the oil sector facilities and to build a state-of-art data for Kuwait in this regard. The MoU is expected to further strengthen the strong economic relations between the two countries by doing government to government collaboration in the area of environment protection.

Wael Salmeen, managing director of KPE said the MoU will enhance the cooperation between the two countries in the environmental sector. “Kuwait and the Netherlands have a long history of cooperation in particular in the economic sector. The biggest investment Kuwait has in the Netherlands is the refinery. The turnover of the refinery is around USD4 billion yearly.” he added.

He noted that most of the commercial and trade exchanges between the Netherlands and Kuwait is coming from this refinery which buys Kuwait crude oil for USD2 billion every year.

“And that is why the refinery plays a vital role in sustaining the economic cooperation between the two countries,” he said. “Our refinery always fulfills the environmental regulations as demanded by the Netherlands and the European Union.

This agreement will help in promoting environment safety in Kuwait and it will also be an eye-opener for EPA itself to see how we run the refinery so that they can apply the same in Kuwait refineries,” said Salmeen.

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