At the national days of the Kuwaiti State, which is held in 25th & 26th of February each year, the magazine is persevered to prepare a comprehensive file about the State of Kuwait, headed by a dialogue with HE the ambassador of Kuwait in Egypt to discuss the latest news in the Arab and international affairs in addition to the cooperation relations between Egypt and Kuwait.
Our dialogue in this magazine issue is with Dr. Rashid Al-Hamad, the Kuwaiti ambassador in Cairo and who is a distinguished Arab ambassador. Dr. Al Hamad had his university education in Alexandria before he completed his long scientific journey in the United Kingdom to get his PhD in the development of technical guidance and sciences in 1989. Dr. Al Hamad had worked for years in the education sector and served as the Minister of Education and Higher Education in Kuwait within the period from 2004 till 2006.
Dr. Hamad has a rich record in the membership of educational institutions, professional associations, committees, pedagogical and educational councils in the Gulf region, and he had a prominent role in building sciences’ curriculum and their development. Beside his several pedagogical writings, he is a lecturer and a key participant in international congregations and conferences.
He worked as the Kuwaiti ambassador in Egypt for many years, and this served the interests of both countries significantly; his personal capabilities helped him to conduct the relations between the two countries in the midst of the exceptional circumstances witnessed by Egypt, especially after the revolution of 25th January 2011. He considers Egypt as an extension to his homeland, Kuwait. He is sought by many people in Egypt to solve their problems, and therefore he enjoys the love and respect of all who dealt with or knew him. Accordingly, he does not feel alienated among Egyptians.
From the new headquarters of the Kuwaiti Embassy on the west bank of the NileRiver in Cairo, the magazine conducted the next dialogue with His Excellency:
From your experiencing the life conditions in Egypt, how do you see the conditions of Egypt in the post-revolution phase?
First, we congratulate the Egyptian people for the second anniversary of the 25th of January revolution, which represents a change will carried out by the Egyptian people who succeeded in changing the governing system and this is considered a great achievement under these circumstances. The Egyptian people, God willing, will soon complete its constitutional and parliamentary institutions so that Egypt can return to its formal status.
In Egypt, there are a lot of Kuwaiti citizens which include some students – whose number exceeds 18 thousand students in university and post graduate studies – and we pursue their own affairs together with the comer’s affairs either investors and tourists or people residing here. Everyone in Egypt lives safely despite the difficult living conditions, but we follow them up; everything continues and life is normal, thanks God.
We hope, God willing, that Egypt can pass this stage and restore its security and economic situation, and that the brotherly Arab countries support Egypt in these circumstances. Some states have already begun to support Egypt.
What are the areas of cooperation between Egypt and Kuwait? And how are they affected after the revolution?
The areas of cooperation, thanks God, are continuous despite the post-revolution conditions. The cooperation is continuous and never ceased to supply Kuwait with the Egyptian expertise and competencies in the areas of general education and university as well as legal advisors, accountants and skilled labor.
As for the Kuwaiti investments in Egypt, are they affected by the recent strikes and the security situation? What are your expectations for the next phase?
There is no doubt that every revolution has obstacles resulting from the process of change and this is normal, but we rely on the patience of the Egyptian people in such critical economic conditions that cast their shadows on many aspects, including the investment and tourism sectors.
However, the entry of new Kuwaiti investors to Egypt may have stopped, and this is normal in these circumstances. But the already present investments are continuous and were not affected.
I expect, God willing, that calmness and stability return to Egypt, and that the security situation restores its best status to stimulate investment, tourism and economy in general.
Egypt had recently received the Kuwaiti finance minister in Cairo along with the chairman of the Kuwaiti Fund for Development. What does this visit represent for the cooperation between both countries regarding the fields of trade and investment?
The Kuwaiti Fund for Development is continuing to perform its duty with Egypt even after the revolution. Four agreements have recently been signed in some areas of life such as gas, electricity, agriculture and railways. The value of each project reaches about $100 million. The Fund delegation recently met the Egyptian authorities to discuss the ways of supporting the abovementioned four areas. The Fund is continuing to perform its duty as required by the Egyptian authorities.
What about the aspects of cooperation between Egypt and Kuwait in the fields of oil and gas? Are they directed towards increasing?
Kuwaiti petroleum companies are working in Egypt such as the Kuwaiti Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company (KUFPEC) and Kuwait Energy Company. Both companies continue performing their work and aspire for new concessions in other areas inside Egypt which is being studied with the responsible authorities in the oil sector in Egypt. Moreover, Kuwait is sharing in supplying Egypt with its fuel requirements for the domestic market.
The Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC) recently held its ministerial meeting in Cairo and was attended by His Excellency the Kuwaiti oil minister Eng. Hani Hussein. Will these meetings result in a common Arab vision for oil and gas issues? How?
From my attending this meeting, it is a periodic annual meeting which discusses the achievements during the previous phase. The meeting reviewed the achievements of the organization institutions, and raised some issues which are not related to oil prices as it is of OPEC concern. Besides, the Arab oil ministers dealt with petroleum projects in common and talked about establishing a research center for oil studies. In addition, the annual OAPEC awards were presented, and some of the winners this year were from Egypt.
The Egyptian labor in the Gulf is subjected to demand and supply conditions and alternatives. How do you see the demand for Egyptian labor in Kuwait in the recent period?
In fact, the demand for Egyptian labor in Kuwait has not changed, and the number of visas for Kuwait is almost unaffected. There is a large construction renaissance now in Kuwait and the Egyptian labor is a good one, skilled in its work, enjoys comfortable behaviors and avoids problems, and this in itself ensures the continued demand for it.
Egypt has a pivotal Arabic role in the region. Do you think this role had changed as a result of the developments in the recent months, especially after the rapprochement steps between Egypt and Iran?
Egypt always works within an Arabic known framework, and always hosts the Arab issues. If any rapprochement takes place with Iran, this is political but surely, and according to the Egyptian officials’ statements, this rapprochement will not be at the detriment of other Arab countries in the Gulf region. Egypt has not changed its policy, and Egypt played the leadership role in the Arab countries; Egypt is strong and the Arab states grow stronger with Egypt.
How do you see the future of Egypt in the light of what is taking place now?
Recent circumstances require a lot of patience and wisdom so that the Egyptian people can reach the stage of stability and return to normal life. We rely on the Egyptian people keenness on their country to reach safety, but this will take some time. I see the future of Egypt a good one, God willing, and Egypt will gain experience in the future days from all the difficulties taking place now.