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MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) - 29/04/2014
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(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) First Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah said Kuwait did not wish to see presidential elections in Syria, while President Bashar Al-Assad's candidacy would undermine political endeavors for transition.

"We don't wish to see presidential elections in Syria in June next," Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled told a session of the Arab Media Forum.

Al-Assad's candidacy for the elections "will undermine the political endeavors and the agreement (communique) of the Geneva I, which focuses on creation of a transitional executive authority to rule Syria," he said.

The senior Kuwaiti official said the escalation of unrest in Syria would affect the whole region, including Kuwait.

He said the devastating destruction in Syria and hostilities would extend to all regional countries, including Iraq "which is steps away from Kuwait." The conflict in Syria, which broke out in March 2011, killed some 150,000 people and displaced millions others either internally or in refugee camps in neighboring countries.

Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled, meanwhile, expressed keenness to uniting Arabs and boosting common Arab action.

He highlighted the endeavors of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to healing the wounds among the Arabian Gulf countries.

His Highness the Amir's endeavors "were welcomed by the GCC leaders to overcome all obstacles facing the Gulf march," he added.

"Differences in points of view are natural, but the most important thing is how to deal with them and address them," said Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled.

The 33-year-old Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), he added, was capable of "containing all troubles." Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled, however, said a unit has been set up in the Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK) to track "suspecious bank accounts" that might be used to finance terrorism.

Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled said he was deeply troubled at the dispute between Egypt and Qatar. He added that His Highness the Amir was trying to narrow the gap between the two countries.

He noted that Qatari Foreign Minister Khaled Al-Attiya has recently visited Kuwait and announced Doha's support to the choices of the Egyptian people.

Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled, meanwhile, said Kuwait hosted the Arab-African summit last November that focused on development, health, education and infrastructure.

"The potentials with Africa are huge, and if they are properly used they will have positive outcome for the two sides," he said.


He noted that His Highness the Amir instructed, during the summit, the investment of USD billion in Africa, the extension of USD billion in easly loans for infrastructure projects in Africa over five years, as well as allocating USD million development prize under the name of late Abdulrahman Al-Sumait.

Kuwait then hosted the GCC summit in December, he said.

The six-state GCC, said Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled, is "the most harmonized and organized group in the region."

Kuwait also hosted the 2nd donors conference for the Syrian people. It also hosted the Arab Summit last month that was held amidst divisions among the Arab countries.

"We met under one roof and our leaders talked openly and frankly about the conditions in the region and how to deal with them," said Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled.

The top diplomat said Kuwait was keen on seeing Egypt regaining its leading regional role, as well as backing choices of the Egyptian people.

He said the region has witnessed many positive developments including the national dialogue in Yemen, the referendum on the new constitution in Egypt, the endorsement of the new constitution in Tunisia and the parliamentary elections in Iraq, in addition to last Wednesday's reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas.

Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled was asked about the statement of the GCC foreign ministers during their meeting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, earlier this month. He said the statement was clear on the contrary.

He said the agreement in Riyadh between the six GCC countries was based on the Charter "which governs the GCC work."

Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled, whose country's holds the rotating presidency of the Arab League, said the Palestinian reconciliation would have positive impacts on "the unity and stability of our region."

He affirmed Kuwait's support for what the Palestinian people's decide vis-a-vis their future.

On Kuwait-Iraq relations, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled said the Arab Summit in Baghdad in 2012 "was a transformation phase in relations between Kuwait and Baghdad."

He noted that the two countries agreed to head to the UN to iron out their differences.

On Iran's nuclear negotiations, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled hoped the international community conclude a permanent agreement regarding Tehran's nuclear program.

He said Iran and the GCC countries should respect the regional interests of the other.

 


Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)




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