Kuwait plans to reconsider policy of providing aid to Arab and developing countries

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Kuwait intends to reconsider its policy of providing aid to Arab and developing countries through the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, its foreign minister said on Thursday.

“There are developments at the international level that require us to reconsider the mechanisms of the fund’s work and harness the fund’s work to preserve our national interests,” Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah said in a video sent by the foreign ministry.

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The minister did not specify what the changes will be and the ministry did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for further details.

Kuwait’s policy change follows an announcement last month from Saudi Arabia’s finance minister, who said the kingdom was changing the way it helps allies, and would make aid conditional on reforms rather than give direct grants and deposits unconditionally.

Earlier this week, Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Qabas said that the Kuwaiti fund’s new policy would offer loans to states in exchange for “voting before the (UN) Security Council or political support (for Kuwait) on specific issues.”

The report also quoted unnamed sources as saying that “free loans will be reviewed, in addition to reviewing purely humanitarian actions that do not contain any agenda.”

Established in 1961, the fund provides soft loans, guarantees, grants and technical aid, but it does not give financial assistance to support budgets.

It has provided more than 1,000 loans to 105 countries, with a total value of $21.9 billion, according to its website.

The foreign minister also said that Kuwait wanted to preserve its “human legacy” built over 60 years.

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