Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure to me to share with you today the celebrations of the International Day of the Francophonie. I would like to thank the ambassadors of Senegal, Canada, France and Switzerland for organizing this lovely evening, distinguished by the presence of good friends.
There is no doubt that the relations between Kuwait and France are historical, especially after signing several agreements that reflect the growth of those bilateral relations in all areas. This unique relationship between our two countries was recently crowned by agreements in the field of international and environmental cooperation. There is also a political agreement on key regional and Arab issues between Kuwait and Paris, and an economic exchange represented by the volume of bilateral trade, as well as cooperation in the military and health areas, and a cultural exchange represented by the number of Kuwaiti students in the French learning centers.
Relations between Kuwait and France are historical and distinguished. We always remember, with gratitude and appreciation, the courageous position of France during the Iraqi occupation of our beloved land; a brave position of principle. As a people who love freedom and peace, and stress on the importance of dialogue and understanding, especially after having suffered from the injustice and oppression of wars, we praise the role of France as a leading country in the world and within the European entity it helped to create.
I cannot forget to mention the strength of the personal relationships that linked the leaders of our two countries, such as the friendship that developed between President de Gaulle and the late Amir Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem, and the friendship between the President Pompidou with the late Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Salem. I still remember the visit of President Giscard d'Estaing to the State of Kuwait and the meeting of President Mitterrand with the late Amir Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad , as well as the visit of President Nicolas Sarkozy to Kuwait on 11 February 2009.
On a personal level, I was very proud when President Nicolas Sarkozy awarded me the National Order of Merit. I was also very happy when the RFI radio was launched from Kuwait at the same moment when the plane of His Highness the Emir landed on the runway of the airport for his official visit to France on 29 November 2006. At the family level, and given that I’m passionate about the Francophonie and I finished my university studies in Switzerland, I was happy when one of my sons graduated from Strasbourg and then got his Ph.D. from the University of Sorbonne.
Perhaps the celebration of the International Day of Francophonie is a good opportunity to create a joint cooperation based on mutual respect, common goals and balanced interests. This is also an opportunity to develop cultural and linguistic diversity, which could contribute to the convergence of civilizations without subordination, and could lead us to explore what is new without prejudice to the identity.
Hence, the State of Kuwait supports the Arab World Institute in Paris and its activities of promoting cultural exchange and cooperation between France and the Arab world through exhibitions and intellectual, literary and cultural seminars. This support has started under the instructions of our late Amir Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad, and continues with support and instructions of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad, reflecting the role of Kuwait which was and will always be an intellectual source, as well as a country that holds to the values of cultural pluralism and respects the human rights.
Looking forward to further strengthening the cooperation between our two countries, I extend my sincere wishes for success and prosperity to all of you.