The recent suspension of certain work visas for overseas hires will not have a significant impact on applicants from Kuwait since very few people in Kuwait apply for these types of visas. The tourist, business, exchange, and student visas most people use to travel to the U.S. are not affected.
Although the Embassy is not open to in-person interviews right now, the consular section has resumed visa operations. The consular section is renewing some student and tourist visas without the in-person interviews. Check out ustraveldocs.com for more details on this.
Travel between the US and Kuwait
There are indirect flights right now between Kuwait and the United States, including on Qatar Airways. The Kuwaiti government has the ultimate decision on opening the international airport.
The United States is prepared to receive students and visitors. Most universities are still operating virtually and will likely decide on reopening as we get closer to the fall. Returning students should be in touch with their respective International Student Offices to get the latest on university reopening plans and any possible restrictions. We keep in constant touch with the Kuwaiti government on these and other issues. We also stay in touch with NUKS to make sure they have update to date information from the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait.
Religious Freedoms/Human Rights in Kuwait
Religious freedom is a value that we hold dear in the United States and I know that it is also important in Kuwait. During the virtual roundtable with members of Kuwait’s religious groups, we talked about the challenges of practicing one’s faith during COVID-19 and the difficulties that some religious groups face, including finding adequate worship space.
Kuwait has a long history of religious tolerance and acceptance. I congratulate Kuwait on the 2019 registration of a previously unregistered religion – the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I hope the government will take the same step with other religious groups that wish to register in Kuwait.
The U.S.-Kuwait Strategic Dialogue is an important framework to set our vision and expand our cooperation. The fourth meeting scheduled in April was postponed it in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are exploring with the Government of Kuwait when to reschedule the dialogue. The dialogue will cover a broad range of issues, including increasing our collaboration on health care, security, educational exchanges, and more. The theme of the next dialogue will be education and training, and I expect we will include other issues such as COVID-19 and cooperation on health issues when we reschedule the dialogue.
Since the beginning of the Gulf dispute over three years ago, Kuwait, under HH the Amir’s leadership, has demonstrated thoughtful and sustained leadership in working towards unity among all GCC countries. The United States appreciates Kuwait’s efforts to find a solution to the rift.
Not much progress has been made toward reconciliation since the Gulf dispute began in June 2017, despite continued attempts by Kuwait and the United States at mediation. However, we are encouraged by recent signs on all sides to look for a way forward to resolve the dispute.
Secretary of State Pompeo has said this many times, and it bears repeating: the Gulf dispute has lasted far too long. This dispute only serves our adversaries in the region and harms our mutual interests.
Gulf unity is essential to our common interests of confronting Iran’s malign influence, countering terrorism, and ensuring a prosperous future for all our Gulf partners. With the threats of Iran and COVID-19, it is imperative that the GCC be united.
An immediate ceasefire by all parties is imperative. We urge all parties to commit to a ceasefire and resume negotiations immediately. We must build on progress made through the UN’s 5+5 talks and the Berlin process.
A return to UN-led ceasefire and political talks is the only way to resolve the core issues that are driving this conflict.
Our sanctions under the Caesar Act and Executive Order 13894 are not intended to harm the Syrian people, but rather to promote accountability for the Assad regime’s violence and destruction that has killed hundreds of thousands of civilians; subjected thousands of Syrians to arbitrary detention, and devastated the country’s civilian infrastructure. This Act sends a clear signal that no foreign business should enter into business with or otherwise enrich such a regime.
Mandatory sanctions under the Caesar Act target foreign persons who facilitate the Assad regime’s acquisition of goods, services, or technologies that support the regime’s military activities as well as its aviation and oil and gas production industries. The Caesar Act also mandates sanctions on those profiting from the Syrian conflict.
The Syrian conflict has been a tragedy for the Syrian people and endangered our partners across the region. The United States supports the Syrian people’s demand for change and is working for a political solution to the conflict in Syria as called for in UNSCR 2254. This needless, brutal war against the Syrian people must end.
On June 17, the Treasury and State Departments released 39 designations under the Caesar Act and Executive Order 13894 as the beginning of a sustained campaign of economic and political pressure to deny the Assad regime money it uses to wage war and commit atrocities against the Syrian people. We designated the architect of this suffering Bashar Al-Assad and his wife Asma al-Assad as well as funders and facilitators of these atrocities.
The Caesar Act does not impact the delivery of humanitarian assistance, and the United States will continue to provide life-saving assistance. We are the single largest humanitarian donor for the Syrian people. Since the start of the conflict we have provided over $10.6 billion in humanitarian assistance and over $1.6 billion in non-humanitarian and stabilization assistance across Syria. Kuwait is the second largest donor to humanitarian assistance in Syria, and we are thankful to Kuwait for stepping up with us to support the humanitarian needs of people of Syria.
Ambassador Twitter Account
First of all, a big thank you to everyone who is following my account. I’m delighted to have joined the twitter world! I received so many kind expressions of support in just my first week on twitter. I was touched by this warm welcome and have enjoyed reading the wide range of views expressed. This has made me feel closer to people in Kuwait even though we are continuing to practice social distancing and many activities are not allowed. I’m looking forward to continuing my conversation with Kuwaitis over twitter and hope to be meeting with them in person soon!