IOC officials have held talks with counterparts from Kuwait ©IOC

A tentative step has been taken towards ending Kuwait's isolation from international sport after a meeting took place between Government representatives and the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

An IOC announcement explained that the discussions took place in Lausanne with the aim of finding a "favourable and mutually acceptable solution" in the interest of the Olympic Movement in Kuwait.

Kuwait were suspended by the IOC in 2015 for Government interference following the introduction of a new Sports Law earlier that year.

Athletes from the country were forced to participate neutrally and under the IOC flag at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, where shooter Fehaid Al-Deehani won a gold medal as an Independent Olympic Athlete in the double trap.

No specific criteria or timeframes towards lifting the ban were cited during the meeting, but it was hinted that they are progressing towards a resolution.

"We are working in a close relationship and in the right direction," said Pere Miró, the IOC's deputy director general. 

“The outcome of the meeting was very positive and forward-looking enough to consider a satisfactory solution if we continue in the same positive way."

Humood Fleteh Alshammari, the director general of the Public Authority for Sports in Kuwait, was quoted in a similarly positive manner following the meeting.

"Both parties understood the exchanged points of view in a very positive atmosphere and reached an initial solution to resolve the situation of the Olympic Movement in Kuwait," he said.

IOC deputy director general Pere Miró is the main official involved in the Kuwait negotiations ©Getty Images
IOC deputy director general Pere Miró is the main official involved in the Kuwait negotiations ©Getty Images

Discussions between the IOC and the Kuwaiti sports authorities will continue "over the next few weeks", the statement concluded, and the IOC will "communicate in due course".

The Arab Times Kuwait reported last year that Miró had laid out conditions to the Kuwaitis that all laws should be changed to be in line with the Olympic Charter and that all Board changes imposed on bodies such as the Kuwait Olympic Committee should be revoked.

All ongoing legal cases inside and outside of Kuwait against the IOC and other international sporting bodies should also be dropped, he said.

It is not yet clear how much success there has been with meeting these objectives. 

No Kuwaiti athletes appeared at Pyeongchang 2018.

If the suspension does remain in place at Tokyo 2020, it would trigger a debate over whether they would participate once again as "Independent Olympic Athletes" or whether they would be called "Olympic Athletes from Kuwait" as the neutral Russian team were in South Korea.

It is likely the matter could be discussed further at an IOC Executive Board meeting in Lausanne on May 2 and 3.

Kuwait's Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah remains the President of the Association of National Olympic Committees and the Olympic Council of Asia despite the suspension.