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Mon 26 Nov 2012 11:56 AM

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Kuwait Emir in UK as home tensions grow

Sheikh Sabah to meet PM David Cameron, talks on political instability in region

Kuwait Emir in UK as home tensions grow
Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah.

Kuwait's Emir will meet with several British officials including Prime Minister David Cameron to discuss “commercial, financial, defence and educational” matters on his three-day trip to the UK this week.

Talks following his arrival in the country on Tuesday are also expected to include rising political tensions in Syria, Palestine and Iran.

Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah will stay at Windsor Castle as a guest of Queen Elizabeth and The Duke of Edinburgh for the duration of his stay, the palace said in a statement.

The UK has deep ties with Gulf Arab states, some of them former British protectorates, whose citizens often travel to Britain to buy homes, shop and study. Bilateral trade between Kuwait and the UK was valued at GBP£1.95bn (US$3.1bn) in 2009.

The two countries signed a deal in 2011 to double bilateral trade and investment from GBP£2bn to GBP£4bn by 2015. Under the agreement the two governments established a new Kuwait-UK Trade & Investment Task Force.

Although Kuwait, which has the most open political system in the Gulf, has been spared the kind of mass uprisings seen in Arab Spring movements elsewhere, political tensions have intensified in recent weeks.

Recent demonstrations against an emergency decree that reduces the number of votes allowed per citizen from four to one for the sake of Kuwait’s “security and stability” have prompted clashes across the Gulf state.

Sheikh Al Sabah last week urged citizens to express their demands in a parliamentary election on December 1.

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