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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
08AMMAN565 2008-02-21 16:35:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Amman
Cable title:  

JORDAN-KUWAIT WARMING TREND CONTINUES WITH VISIT

Tags:   PREL EINV JO KU ETRD 
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VZCZCXYZ0021
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHAM #0565 0521635
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 211635Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY AMMAN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1863
INFO RUEHKU/AMEMBASSY KUWAIT 0856
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L AMMAN 000565 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR NEA/ELA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/21/2018
TAGS: PREL EINV ETRDA JO KU
SUBJECT: JORDAN-KUWAIT WARMING TREND CONTINUES WITH VISIT
OF KUWAITI PM


Classified By: Ambassador David Hale for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)



1. (C) The mid-February visit to Jordan of Kuwaiti Prime
Minister Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammad al-Ahmad al-Sabah (and
several other ministers) is the latest public sign of healing
- at the government/royal family level, at least - of
relations strained throughout the 1990s because of Kuwait's
lingering ire at the GOJ's lack of support for Kuwait during
the Gulf crisis of 1990-91. Improving these ties has been a
priority for King Abdullah since he ascended to the throne in
early 1999; Kuwait reopened its embassy in Amman soon
thereafter, and in September that year the King made the
first visit by a Jordanian ruler to Kuwait since the Gulf
War. While the King has made several short trips to Kuwait,
PM Sheikh Nasser was the most senior Kuwaiti official to come
to Jordan in many years.



2. (C) The visit was heavily reported by Jordan's state-run
news agency Petra, which highlighted the importance of the
strong relationship between the King and the Amir of Kuwait
in bringing the two nations closer together. On February 20,
the pro-government daily al-Dustour published a long
interview with PM Sheikh Nasser in which he glossed over past
tensions - "relations between Kuwait and Jordan have always
been characterized by trust, joint coordination, and the
strength derived from the deep-rooted fraternal ties" - and
highlighted Kuwaiti investments in Jordan (totaling more than
USD 6.5 billion, he said), development projects, and loans.
Jordan and Kuwait are also reportedly considering a debt swap
whereby Jordanian debt would be lowered in exchange for
Kuwaiti interest in local real estate development projects.
Sheikh Nasser added that Kuwait is interested in increasing
the number of Kuwaiti students at Jordanian universities
currently at 2,200, and raised the possibility of the Kuwait
Fund for Arab Economic Development financing several projects
here.



3. (U) The PM's trip was followed this week by a visit of
Kuwaiti parliamentarians lead by MP Marzouq al-Hebaini.
Jordanian Minister of State for Media Affairs and
Communications Nasser Joudeh touted the high volume of
Kuwaiti investments in Jordan, and said the GOJ was committed
to attracting more. For its part, the Kuwaiti
parliamentarians attributed the high level of investment in
the Kingdom to Kuwaiti faith in the Hashemite leadership and
Jordan's stability. Jordanian legislators met with the
delegation, after which Speaker of the Lower House of
Parliament Abdelhadi al-Majali hailed bilateral relations,
and Senate Speaker Zeid Rifa'i said Jordan valued the aid
provided by Kuwait.



4. (SBU) The warm language used by Kuwaitis and Jordanians
reflects the reality of closer economic ties between the two
countries. In 2007, Jordan imported goods valued at USD 136
million from Kuwait, including manufacturing parts and
materials, polyethelene, and seafood. Jordan exported
produce, air-conditioning equipment, and medication to
Kuwait. Total trade between the two countries increased 64
percent between 2006 and 2007, to USD 210 million. According
to the Companies Controller Directorate at the Ministry of
Industry and Trade, Kuwait had USD 583 million in registered
capital stock at the end of 2007, second only to Iraq. The
Jordan Investment Board reports Kuwait is the third-largest
source of foreign investment, at 8 percent.

Visit Amman's Classified Web Site at
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/nea/amman/
HALE