Speech of His Highness Amir of the State of Kuwait
Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah
in the Summit of the African Union in Addis Ababa
from July 14 to 16, 2012
In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate
His Excellency Dr. Uni Yayi, President of Republic of Benin and Chairman of the current session of the African Union Summit ,
Aassalamu Alikom wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatoh,,,
I am pleased to extend my sincere thanks and gratitude and to express my happiness and pride to all of you for inviting us to attend this important summit, which is being held in the African continent, a continent which has played and still plays a vital and globally effective role. This summit is being pursued by your peoples’ aspirations filled with hope for a future dominated by stability, prosperity and well being. I am also pleased to thank the Government and people of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia for their hospitality and for the good preparation for this meeting.
Today we meet here today in this ancient capital, recalling with appreciation and gratitude the stance of African countries in supporting the right of Kuwait during the Iraqi invasion of my country, a stance which is consistent with the historical struggle of our brothers in the African continent against injustice and tyranny. Your countries reflected through these magnificent stances the depth of ties connecting us, the unity of the principles and norms that bind us. This requires to work on all the issues that might enhance our relations and our partnership to the desired level that is appropriate for handling such situations.
This summit convenes to present to the whole world a shining evidence on the vitality of your union, its interaction with the developments and events in our contemporary world, its effective contribution with other countries of the world in the development of concepts and steps to counteract the challenges that face us all. , Convening of this Summit and the regularity of its periodicity assures the keenness of its leaders to interact and respond to the problems of its citizens by setting ambitious development plans aimed at upgrading their standards of living, achieving their legitimate aspirations, and reflecting the wisdom and vision of the leaders of this union.
The important conditions and variables under which your summit is held, require doubling efforts and hard team work to counter the effects of such conditions and the treatment of their outcome, which underscores the importance of finding ways to strengthen security and stability in our countries and to work sincerely to promote their development, and creating jobs for our peoples to ensure decent life for them. There is no doubt that we all realize the gravity of the economic crisis that is still sweeping the world as a whole, with no country capable of escaping its consequences.
Unity is required to work together for facing the repercussions of that crisis, and to protect our economies from its negative results.
Along the past years, the African Union has materialized several achievements in its course toward sustainable development through shared visions and consensus, particularly in building the capabilities of the manpower in order to have the lead in the exploitation of natural resources that abound in your continent. There is no doubt that the promotion of intra-African trade represents a major economic force that imposed a transfer in the method the world deals with Africa from trying to exploit its natural resources to a strategic partnership in all fields. In this context I would like to point out that the State of Kuwait has realized the importance of development and cooperation for the benefit of the people and for that reason we established Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development which has spread its activities to forty-eight States out of fifty member countries of the African Union. This Fund contributed to financing projects in different sectors including agriculture, transport, energy, water, sanitation, health, education, and others. The total spending on these activities exceeded U.S. $ 6.4 billion, in addition to Kuwait's aid and grants to the member countries of the Union, which is estimated at about one hundred and twenty million dollars to build their capacities.
The Fund participated in the initiative of the World Bank and the IMF in 1996 to ease the debt burden on states, and was able to reduce the debts for 24 countries of the Union.
The State of Kuwait also launched the “decent life initiative” by establishing a fund with a capital of one hundred million dollars to help countries meet the basic requirements in view of the difficulties resulting from the global food crisis that erupted in 2007 and 2008, followed by the financial crisis in late 2008. The State of Kuwait also contributed to several funds that were established in Africa to fight hunger and poverty in amounts exceeding three hundred million dollars, and committed to an amount of five hundred million dollars at the donors conference for East Sudan.
We followed with great interest the selection of the people of Egypt to the President in a decent exercise of democratic luxury reflecting the culture of the Egyptian society, its civilization, and we congratulate His Excellency President Mohamed Morsi for winning the trust of the Egyptian people.
We also followed, with satisfaction, the positive developments achieved in both Tunisia and Libya, wishing all the success to the leaderships in their endeavors towards achieving the aspirations of their peoples.
The situation in Somalia needs all of us to work together, unify our efforts bring security and stability, for Somalia to return as an active member in the Arab and regional arenas.
The peace process in the Middle East shall not be achieved but through pressing Israel for stopping settlement activity, and the implementation of resolutions of international legitimacy to enable the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, on the principle of land for peace and the Arab Peace Initiative.
As for the situation in Syria, the regime is required to achieve the demands of its people, and the implementation of the six points of the initiative of the Joint Envoy of the United Nations and the Arab League Kofi Annan, to stop the bloodshed, and to preserve Syria from sliding into civil war, wherein the biggest loser is the Syrian people in terms of lives and properties.
Our quest for membership as an observer of the African Union, and obtaining it, thanks to Allah and to your support, is but an evidence of the awareness of the State of Kuwait of the political, economic and cultural importance of Africa.
We look forward eagerly to meet you in the State of Kuwait next year in a new cycle of our Arab-African joint work represented in the the Arab-African Summit. Preparation workshops for that summit already commenced in my country out of the awareness of the importance of joint work between our countries, and in understanding of the magnitude of responsibility entrusted to us, and to ensure the achievement of the anticipated results.
I have followed with admiration the stages of finishing the new headquarters of the African Union in the capital Addis Ababa completed in the beginning of this year, which is an architectural work of art. As a contribution from the State of Kuwait in the processing of this edifice to be ready for operation, I announce the donation of the State of Kuwait with cost of equipping the headquarters of the General Commission of the African Union with all requirements.
His Excellency President,
In conclusion, we wish your summit the best to achieve your anticipated hopes and aspirations.
Wassalamu Alikom wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatoh,,,