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Kuwait Foreign Minister Sabah Al-Khaled on first visit to Palestine
Sunday September 14, 2014 0:50 AM, KUNA

First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah is travelling to Palestine on Sunday on his first visit at an invitation of his Palestinian counterpart Riyadh Al-Maliki.

Sabah al-Khaled

The visit is expected to be a landmark in the history of the deep-rooted relations between the two Arab countries as it will see the launching of the joint higher commission.

It signals the long-standing commitment of Kuwait's leadership and people towards supporting the Palestinian people in their legitimate struggle for restoring their rights on the Arab and international levels.

Since the very beginning of the Palestinian's blight in early 1930s, Kuwait has spared no effort in supporting the Palestinian people even before its own independence.

In 1932, Kuwait received then Mufti of Palestine Hajj Amin Al-Husseini who was touring Arab countries to raise funds for the rehabilitation of Al-Aqsa Mosque.

When the Palestinian revolution broke out against the British occupation authorities and Zionist militias between 1936 and 1939 the Kuwaiti people formed a popular committee in support of Palestine to offer financial and moral support to the revolutionaries.

As the Nakba (catastrophe) befell the Palestinians on May 14, 1948, when Israel declared its independence and thousands of Palestinians were forced to leave their homes, Kuwait scaled up its official and popular support and received thousands of Palestinian refugees.

In his debut in the UN pulpit in 1963, His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, then foreign minister and now Amir of Kuwait, underlined the right of the Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and blasted the attempts to impose a fait accompli in the occupied territories.

In 1964 Kuwait hosted the headquarters of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), increased its political and financial support, and became the biggest donor for the Palestinians.

In the same year, Kuwait donated GBP two million to the formation of and Palestinian liberation army under a resolution by the Second Arab Summit, held in Alexandria, Egypt, in September.

In response to the Middle East war in June, 1967, large numbers of Kuwaitis took to streets in protest against the Israeli aggression and the usurpation of more Arab territories.

His Highness Sheikh Sabah led a delegation to the UN General Assembly session on July 25, 1967, when he affirmed that Kuwait puts all resources at the disposal of the Arab countries affected by the Israeli aggression for the sake of restoring their land.

He called for immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the Israeli troops from all occupied Arab territories pursuant to the UN charter and international laws.

In the fourth Arab Summit, held in Khartoum on August 29, 1967, Kuwait pledged GBP 55 million to the Arab countries affected by the aggression to help rebuild their armies.

Kuwait's supportive stance for these countries, particularly Palestine, was self-evident during the Middle East War of October 6, 1973.

Kuwait slapped, in coordination with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a ban on oil exports to Israel's allies and called for an emergency meeting by the OPEC members in October, 1973, to discuss similar steps against supporters of Israel.

Kuwait reduced its daily oil output from 3.7 million barrels to 2.5 million bpd in January, 1974 and upgraded the PLO representation office to an embassy.

Kuwait-PLO relations underwent ups and downs in the 1990s as a result of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.

In December, 2000, Kuwait donated USD 1.5 million to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), thus becoming the biggest donor for the agency.

In December, 2004, the bilateral ties gained momentum after Mahmoud Abbas, the then chairman of the PLO Executive Committee and now president of Palestine, apologized to Kuwait over the PLO stance on the Iraqi invasion in 1990.

His Highness the Amir reaffirmed Kuwait's supportive stance towards the Palestinian people in Gaza Strip in the wake of the first Gaza War.

In an address to the first Arab Economic, Social and Development Summit, hosted by Kuwait in January, 2009, he strongly condemned the brutal Israeli aggression.

On April 15, 2013, President Mahmoud Abbas visited Kuwait, held cordial talks with His Highness the Amir, and reopened Palestine Embassy in Kuwait.

His Highness the Amir reaffirmed firm support to the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people in his address to the 25th Arab Summit, held in Kuwait in March, 2014.

The summit culminated in the Kuwait Declaration which holds Israel responsible for the stalemate in the Middle East peace process and reaffirms commitment to the rights of the Palestinian people to establish their independent fully-sovereign state within the pre-June, 1967, borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.

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