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Kuwait parliament endorses extradition treaty with Britain

Treaty consolidates Kuwait’s deep-rooted ties with the United Kingdom since 1775, says foreign minister

Gulf News

Manama: Kuwait’s parliament on Wednesday unanimously approved an extradition treaty with Britain that was signed in December and endorsed by the government last month.

The treaty was passed in the first reading by the 50 members who were present at the session and by the 49 lawmakers attending the second reading, Kuwait News Agency (Kuna) reported.

In his statement, Foreign Minister Shaikh Sabah Khalid Al Hamad stressed the significance of the treaty.

“We have had close relations with the United Kingdom since 1775, making them among the oldest we have with any country,” Shaikh Sabah said. “Today, we consolidate such deep-rooted ties with the treaty.”

The agreement was reached following several high-level contacts between the two countries, he added.

Shaikh Sabah thanked the parliament for approving the treaty.

“This treaty complements the accords that we have with the United Kingdom and other counties with which we have outstanding relations,” Shaikh Sabah said.

Kuwait has been actively seeking, for more than two years, to sign the treaty with the UK where some people on its wanted list have fled to avoid justice.

Reports in the Gulf state say the Kuwaiti government wanted to be able, through the treaty, to prosecute former state employees involved in financial irregularities and to reclaim embezzled funds.

Kuwait and Britain formally initialled the cooperation agreement on extradition in November 2015 during the seventh session of the Kuwaiti-British Steering Group held in Kuwait City.

In December last year, Shaikh Sabah and UK Minister for the Middle Eastern and North African Affairs Tobias Ellwood signed the agreement for criminals’ extradition in Kuwait City.

Kuwaiti Speaker Marzouq Al Ganem hailed the signing as a great breakthrough and predicted that the parliament would endorse it without delays.

“Kuwaitis will no longer see embezzlers of public funds roaming the streets of London and Britain,” he said.