Welcome Address to the Amir of Kuwait
On Thursday 29 November 2012, the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow MP, welcomed the Amir of the State of Kuwait, His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, on the occasion of his address to Parliament.
"Your Highness it is my privilege to welcome you here to our Parliament for this important stage of your state visit.
"Your presence here today is a welcome reminder of the many intimate ties that exist between our nations and our peoples, born of history, tested in conflict after the outrageous invasion of your country in 1990 and continuing to this day in the realms of diplomacy, trade and cultural exchange.
"Kuwait has long been a nation of innovation in its region, the site of the oldest directly elected Parliament in its area, a long-standing and potent force within the Arab League, the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation and the Gulf Co-operation Council, and a pioneer in the political representation of women.
"You are one of the most experienced statesmen in the Middle East having served as Foreign Minister for an astonishing 40 years, followed by 3 years as Prime Minister before your elevation to be the Amir.
"It is a record of remarkable duration which many colleagues might wish to imitate, but probably should not!
"Your visit comes after two years of extraordinary turmoil across the Arab world. Change, as you have publicly recognised, is essential if the popular demand for representation is to be met, human rights entrenched and prosperity enhanced.
"Our two countries are signatories to a range of international human rights conventions and compliance with their letter and spirit is vital. Equality before the law, irrespective of race, gender, disability or orientation, is fundamental to our society here in the UK and we expect to be held to that standard.
"Naturally, we hope that that principle of equality will be practised and championed across the world. Rest assured there are many, many friends of your country both within this Parliament and Britain at large and we all stand ready to support Kuwait in exercising leadership in a modern, open and progressive direction.
"Your presence here can only encourage dialogue between us. I therefore invite you to address this audience and I look forward enormously to hearing what you have to say."
Images: Parliamentary copyright