The United Kingdom and Kuwait will be marking the 120th anniversary of the signing of the Anglo-Kuwaiti Agreement of 23 January, 1889. The agreement, which was canceled on 19 June, 1961, was signed on the account that the then British Empire would provide Kuwait with protection from regional and international threats.
In that period, the Ottoman Empire had claims on Kuwaiti lands, inciting nearby tribes to create issues and threaten Kuwait. Germany also wanted to acquire a portion of Kuwaiti lands to expand its Berlin-Baghdad railway project, a request vehemently opposed by then Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Mubarak Al-Sabah.
In celebration of the anniversary, Kuwait and Britain will be holding various functions and activities in their respective countries. Regarding the festivities, Kuwaiti Ambassador to the UK Khaled Al-Douwaisan told KUNA that celebrations will be held in London probably in mid-2019. The Kuwaiti diplomat affirmed that both countries were keen on celebrating the treaty’s anniversary, which was part of a long tradition of friendship and solidarity. Even after the canceling of the treaty, Britain remained a strong ally to Kuwait for years, providing various modes of political and economic support and assistance.
The strength of relations was evident in the UK opposition to the Iraqi invasion of 1990 and the subsequent participation of British troops in the liberation of 1991. Kuwaiti-British relations continue to consolidate and strength throughout the years, said the Ambassador who indicated that His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber AlSabah’s visit in 2012 left a lasting impression on the ties with the establishment of the UK-Kuwait joint steering group.
He affirmed that the group helped to further bolster relations and such notion was clearly seen in the step to exempt Kuwaiti nationals from obtaining visit visas to Britain. The Ambassador also noted that the Kuwaiti diplomatic mission in the UK consisted of 44 diplomats, which is also another indication of the strong bilateral ties.
Meanwhile, British Ambassador to Kuwait Michael Davenport revealed that he was expected to meet with His Highness the Prime Minister of Kuwait Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad AlSabah tomorrow to deliver a speech on this important occasion. He indicated that Kuwait and Britain stood “shoulder-to-shoulder” on numerous occasions when the treaty was signed, revealing that the British Royal Air Force was involved in operations in 1920 and 1961 to repel external aggression against Kuwait.
Ambassador Davenport said that his country remained committed to fend off aggression against Kuwait even after the canceling of the treaty and that this was evident in British troops participation in the operations to liberate Kuwait from the Iraqi invasion. The British diplomat also commended the 2012 visit by His Highness the Amir to his country, saying that it contributes to the bolstering of bilateral relations.