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FTA between Singapore and Kuwait "a matter of time" — Tarmugi

Kuwait News Agency

FTA between Singapore and Kuwait "a matter of time" — Tarmugi

17 November 2005

By Talal Al-Ghannam KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 17 (KUNA) — The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Singapore and Kuwait is "a matter of time" as there are some outstanding issues surrounding such agreements that would have to be resolved, a senior Singaporean official revealed on Thursday.

Singapore Parliament Speaker Abdullah Tarmugi told Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) in a telephone interview after the conclusion of his visit to Kuwait recently that he was informed by His Highness the Prime Minister of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah that he was confident that these issues would be resolved soon.

Tarmugi added that "Sheikh Sabah and I agreed that ties between Singapore and Kuwait are warm and friendly and that we should enhance the already-good relationship." Tarmugi pointed out that he reiterated with his Kuwaiti counterpart Jasem Al-Khorafi the need for the parliamentarians from both countries to increase their interaction and dialogue and this is especially for the younger and new MPs so that they will be able to understand issues and concerns of the legislators of these two countries and forge closer ties between them.

He said that he also discussed with Al-Khorafi to increase mutual visits among both countries parliamentarians as well as coordinating their positions and responses on various issues in the international parliamentary forums. Tarmugi said that Al-Khorafi also emphasized the need for the businessmen of the two countries to interact more in order to identify potential business between them.

"Business opportunities and collaborations between the countries should be enhanced.

"Generally, both Al-Khorafi and I saw the desirability of deepening and widening the areas of cooperation between the two countries not only in the political field but also in the economic, parliamentary and social spheres.

Tarmugi told KUNA that at the moment there little interaction between the two parliaments and "this is precisely the reason why Speaker Al-Khorafi and I saw the need for out two parliaments to increase our interaction with each other.

"I am confident that the future cooperation between the parliaments will increase. I have invited Al-Khorafi to lead a parliamentary delegation to visit Singapore and this can be the start of future interactions between the two parliaments," he added.

"From our dialogues and discussions, we could perhaps come up with proposals or projects which the two Parliaments can undertake together," he said.

Tarmugi described his visit to Kuwait as a "success" even though it was a short one.

"Kuwait and Singapore share some similarities: We are small countries surrounded by big neighbors; we have small populations and depend a lot on foreign labor," he added.

He said that the Singapore delegation was very well received by the Kuwaiti leadership and officials and provided with excellent and generous hospitality. "It was an opportunity to get closer to the Kuwaiti Leadership and Parliamentarians and to know them better," he concluded.