A bid farewell to H.E. Mr. Hafeez Mohammed Salem Al-Ajmi Ambassador of the State of Kuwait
His Excellency Mr. Hafeez Mohammed Salem Al-Ajmi looks back on a vibrant 6 year posting
After achieving Independence in 1960, The Kingdom of the Netherlands was one of the first countries to establish Diplomatic Relations with the State of Kuwait (1964) and since then both countries have maintained their strong bilateral relations at a high level.
2014 saw the 50th Anniversary of the Diplomatic Relations between the two countries. To commemorate this milestone and further enhance and deepen the mutual cooperation, the First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Kuwait, His Excellency Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah visited the Netherlands and met his counterpart, the Netherlands Minister of Foreign Affairs followed by a tête a tête with HE Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
The excellent ties are maintained, both directly with the political leadership and through the annual joint ministerial meetings of the EU and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
Key issues include stimulating trade and cooperating on education and human rights. Economic relations centre on energy, infrastructure, construction, transport, health care and reciprocal investment.
Kuwait runs an impressive investment programme. It has earmarked around $108 billion over the next few years for energy projects and improvements to its infrastructure. Plans include a deep-sea port, renovation and expansion of the airport, a new railway and metro line and construction of several hospitals and a new university. These government projects present outstanding opportunities for the Dutch business community. In the past few years, several trade missions have visited Kuwait to promote Dutch businesses as participants in these projects. One of the most important megaprojects is the construction of a new deep seaport on Boubyan Island, which will have an expected annual capacity of 2.5 million containers. There are opportunities here for Dutch dredging companies and, at a later stage, Dutch suppliers. Dutch engineering firms are also working on projects to expand the capacity of Kuwait’s ports and airports.
The team of Diplomat Affairs Magazine was delighted to be received with such warmth and hospitality by His Excellency, in his stunning Residence in Wassenaar to answer a few questions:
- Excellency, you have already mentioned a lot of high profile achievements during your mandate, Are there any other particular professional highlights you would like to mention?
Apart from the previously mentioned mutual visits of our Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Economic Affairs, Oil, Justice, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, in consultation with the Kingdom of the Netherlands as well as UN Organizations, the State of Kuwait has been the seat of various Conferences and International Forums related to Environment, Energy Donations etc. and with fruitful outcome.
Within the European Union, the Netherlands is the biggest trade partner exporting about 2.5 billion euros worth of oil including other products, and the Netherlands exports about 500 million Euros worth of products to Kuwait every year.
The common interest of both countries keeps growing in various aspects. Kuwait Petroleum has also opened its new European Headquarters in the Hague, a location of International headquarters. KPI is the third largest oil company in the World with its refinery in Holland. The parent Company of Q8 is also a home of many international employees.
Kuwaiti Nationals also come often to the Netherlands to participate in courses offered by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague and similar institutions. This year Kuwait donated 1000 books to the Perm. Court of Arbitration. In order to assist Arab speaking countries at the court, these books are an Arabic translation on “Arbitration Rules”.
Maastricht School of Business and Economics also attracts a lot of Kuwaiti students to the Netherlands, they attend and go back home after their graduation.
- After being Ambassador of the State of Kuwait to the Kingdom of The Netherlands since 2010, we understand your mandate is drawing to an end. At Diplomat Affairs Magazine we would be delighted to hear your thoughts on your posting.
My stay as an Ambassador of the State of Kuwait to the Kingdom of the Netherlands since 2010 till date, will always be one of my best memories on professional and personal bases.
The close Diplomatic and bilateral Relations between the State of Kuwait and the Kingdom of the Netherlands which has been going on for the last 52 years is growing on all levels.
In addition, the common things between our two countries be it strategic, geographical location, long term maritime tradition or trade etc. has always been the driving factor to enhance and further strengthen the economic, social and cultural ties between both our countries.
- What will you miss most about The Netherlands and what do you take with you?
I deeply appreciate the open mindedness and friendliness of the Dutch society, the harmonious and multicultural way of living in the Netherlands.
My appreciation also goes to the hard working people of the Netherlands. It is more than amazing to see the effort of the people to reclaim land from the sea (Flevoland) to the extent of making it one of their 12 provinces.
Walking along the beach at Noordwijk and watching the sun set, especially in the summer time, will also be one of the things I will miss the most.
After 6 years as Ambassador of the State of Kuwait to the Kingdom of The Netherlands, H.E Mr. Hafeez Mohammed Salem Al-Ajmi is leaving for his new posting in Qatar. We wish him all the best.
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