Speech by HH Amir of the state of Kuwait
Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah Addressing Members
of both Houses of Parliament at the Palace of Westminster
Thursday 29 November 2012


The Right Honorable Jhon Bercow,
Speaker of the House of Commons,,,
The Right Honorable Baroness D'Souza Lord Speaker,,,
Members of the House of Commons,,,
My Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen,,,

I consider it a particular privilege to be able to meet with members of both houses of the UK Parliament. This is a great institution, with an ancient lineage, stretching back to the first English Parliament of Simon de Montfort in 1265. Since those early beginnings, the Mother of Parliament's has challenged arbitrary power, established and defended the rights of ordinary citizens, and built a modern representative democracy.

A few weeks ago, the State of Kuwait celebrated the 50th anniversary of the ratification of its constitution.

This marked the culmination of a process of political and social development over four centuries. As in the UK, over that time the nature between the ruler and his people has changed. today, that relationship is securely established within the framework of an active constitutional democracy.

We Kuwaitis share your sense of democracy. Our constitution is the beacon that guides our government and people in leading a good and fulfilling way of life, based on well-defined rights and duties for all. It regulates the relations between the three main sources of authority : legislative, executive and judicial. The Kuwaiti constitution aims at ensuring fundamental freedoms for our people and defined and clear functions for the State. It also provides the basis for the conduct of Kuwait's foreign affairs – respecting the sovereignty of the State of Kuwait on the one hand; and enshrining the principle of non-interference with the internal affairs of other states on the other. It also makes clear Kuwait's desire to develop and strengthen its relations with all countries, at both regional and international levels, in accordance with the principles of mutual respect and common interest.

In summary, it is a constitution which embodies the rights, duties and aspirations of the Kuwaiti people in securing a future of peace, progress and prosperity.

The parliaments of the United Kingdom and of Kuwait may be very different in age but we share a common endeavor. We seek for our two nations a modern, representative and responsive democracy. our task is an unending one, of course, but we constantly strive to improve. in that respect the parliaments of Kuwait and the United Kingdom co-operate in sharing our experiences, and learning from each other. This is only part of our mutual desire to develop the strong and warm bilateral relations which exist between our two countries.

In this regard, I would like to pay tribute to the British Kuwait Friendship Society. Through its program of meetings and its exchange visits, aimed at developing British-Kuwaiti relations, it has achieved much. It provides a valuable reminder that relations between countries are as much about people as they are about governments.

We in Kuwait believe in working in accordance with democratic principles, inspired by the reality of what Kuwait has now become, and its history of promoting freedom, equality and social justice. Like the UK, we aspire to a better future for present and future generations. And democracy remains a vital component of that equitable and sustainable national development we all wish to see.

I thank you.

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