Speech by Dr. Mohammad Sabah AlSalem AlSabah at the Ninth Ministerial Meeting of the Asian Cooperation Dialogue

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful,

Your Excellency, esteemed brother Mr. Manouchehr Mottaki, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the friendly Islamic Republic of Iran,

Honorable Ministers and Heads of Delegations,

Distinguished attendees,

Peace be upon you and the mercy of Allah and His blessings,

Today, we gather in the Iranian capital Tehran, welcomed by our host rich in its historic legacy, civilizations, and cultures, fostering a magnificent human interaction of intellectual heritage from which societies draw, with their harmonious diversity and cohesive variety. Thus, the friendly Islamic Republic of Iran's hosting of the ninth ministerial meeting of the Asian Cooperation Dialogue (ACD), with its Asian countries that have contributed concepts of wisdom, philosophy, and thought to the world and represent the largest human bloc in achievements and contributions to shaping the future with effectiveness and confidence, resonates with those values and principles we have come together to reaffirm and build upon. We extend our sincere gratitude and appreciation for your generous hospitality and warm reception, invoking Almighty Allah's guidance for us towards what is good and righteous.

Esteemed attendees,

It is incumbent upon us and our efforts to focus on highlighting what unites and harmonizes, as its undoubtedly numerous and diverse aspects, rather than displaying differences, divisiveness, discord, and divergence. It is also incumbent upon us to communicate and act collectively as one unit, not working individually, lest we diverge from the noble objectives of our blessed assembly and fall short of reaching them. We have in the teachings of Allah - glorified and exalted be He - in His noble book, valuable lessons and examples. In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful, "And do not dispute and [thus] lose courage and [then] your strength would depart; and be patient. Indeed, Allah is with the patient." (Quran, Surah Al-Anfal 8:46)

Brothers and sisters,

The State of Kuwait's commitment to dialogue stems from its deep belief that areas of convergence and the language of consensus are far greater than the narrowness of factionalism and the tones of discord, with calls for conflict, antagonism, and hatred of the other, whether intellectually excluding or spiritually eliminating. Therefore, our collective need for more dialogues promoting dialogue represents another opportunity to listen to the voice of reason and respond to calls for solidarity and progress, seeking ways to consolidate and act upon them in line with the imperatives of advancing them.

Distinguished attendees,

The challenges facing the ACD countries require us to join efforts and deal with their effects economically. We have all faced the collapse of financial markets and its repercussions and the continuous wars affecting exchange rates, which have constituted and still constitute a challenge for ACD countries, necessitating concerted efforts to adjust the structure of global economic institutions.

Politically, the Asian representation in the Security Council does not match the continent's potential or align with what it presents to the world at all levels and dimensions. Therefore, the issue of reforming the United Nations, in line with the significant roles played by the continent's countries, requires us to coordinate efforts to preserve fair representation for Asia and its right to express itself and protect its interests environmentally. Humanitarian and environmental disasters in Asia, from sandstorms in the Middle East region to earthquakes and floods in the Indian subcontinent, and the tsunami disasters in East Asia pose a threat to some ACD countries and necessitate the establishment of effective Asian institutions with rapid deployment to respond to developments and events commensurate with their humanitarian and environmental dimensions.

Moreover, the challenges posed by climate change and the dangers of global warming have reached a point where they threaten islands and their sustainability. The conferences held in this regard, such as the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (Copenhagen December 2009) and the Conference on the Cooperation Perspectives between Arab Countries and the Pacific Islands, held in Abu Dhabi in December 2010, are merely indicative of the level of threat and the impetus to address them through consultation, planning, and action.

Distinguished attendees,

Our dialogue today focuses on the aspirations of the promising Asian peoples represented here by one-third of their countries in the largest regional grouping. The sense of cooperation at the national and regional levels, and beyond, is much more than that. We find in our solid economies, with a national output of 22 trillion over the important geographical area that brings us together, inhabited by approximately four billion people from 21 Asian countries, achieving the hopes and aspirations of individuals. The economy certainly plays roles that, if not parallel to all our common values and principles, have a greater impact due to its inclusiveness and direct attachment to the living standards of our citizens. It has a common influence in which countries interact with their various components—people, governments, and institutions. Therefore, our investment in the human element is fundamental, our efforts to enhance our mutual investments are logical, and our launch to accomplish this is pivotal, hoping that our gathering in the ACD dialogue will create an atmosphere for our societies to reap the desired benefits, with the availability of intentions and strong determination to achieve that.

Distinguished attendees,

The State of Kuwait's genuine interest in cooperation with the Asian continent, as it represents a nurturing ground for food security, was expressed by His Highness the Amir of the State of Kuwait, Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber AlSabah, may Allah protect and preserve him, during his visit to several Asian countries. Practically, the strong and growing Kuwaiti cooperation with friendly Asian countries is evident. It is my pleasure to say that the State of Kuwait has a presence that it takes pride in through its embassies and diplomatic missions in 32 Asian countries, accounting for about a third of its missions worldwide, indicating the great importance of Asia to the State of Kuwait.

Distinguished attendees,

The State of Kuwait, through the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, has supported various development projects in cooperation with the governments of friendly Asian countries, amounting to more than $3 billion. The State also supports Asian cooperation through key partnerships, the latest of which is, for example, a giant refining project in Zhangjiang City in Guangdong Province, People's Republic of China, valued at about $11 billion. Additionally, another giant project for the NGISON Petrochemicals Complex and Refinery, in collaboration with two Japanese companies in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, will commence, God willing, in the first quarter of 2011.

Honorable Ministers and Heads of Delegations,

In conclusion, I affirm the State of Kuwait's solidarity with all your esteemed endeavors, ideas, appeals, and applications, for optimal cooperation between our countries with enriched presentations, deepened participation, with sincere invitations and wishes for a fruitful convening of the ninth Asian Cooperation Dialogue in the friendly Islamic Republic of Iran. We extend a warm welcome and look forward to hosting you all as dear brothers in the State of Kuwait next year to complete what we are about. It is a significant year for us, as we celebrate our national holidays and mark fifty years of independence and twenty years since liberation. We are honored by your presence on this momentous occasion, to celebrate in the dialogue of our Asian cooperation in Kuwait, expressing our friendship and deep appreciation for the meaning of cooperation and the honorable positions of friendly Asian countries, beseeching Almighty Allah, the Mighty, the Majestic, to make our meetings always gatherings of goodness and love.

And peace be upon you, the mercy of Allah, and His blessings.

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