At just under 18,000 square kilometres, the emirate of Kuwait is around the same size as Land Rhineland-Palatinate. Situated in the heart of a crisis-stricken region, the country plays an important role as a mediator. During his visit on Tuesday (18 April), Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel expressed his admiration for the untiring efforts of Kuwaiti diplomats.
No military solution for Syria
Following his talks with Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khalid Alhamad Alsabah, Gabriel said it was “amazing and extremely gratifying” to find that the countries were so united on the situation in Syria. Germany and Kuwait actually have very different social and political structures. However, they agree that there can be no military solution for Syria. For this reason, both countries want to continue doing everything in their power to bring all relevant countries, such as the United States, Russia and Syria’s neighbouring states, to talks headed by the United Nations.
Imminent humanitarian disaster in Yemen
With regard to the crisis in Yemen, Gabriel also spelt out Germany’s support for Kuwait’s endeavours to mediate. He expressed his particular admiration for its efforts “as a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council to achieve a new understanding and peaceful coexistence in the difficult relationship with Iran”. Kuwait is not only active as a mediator in this context. It also plays a key role in providing humanitarian aid to the suffering Yemeni population. Foreign Minister Gabriel said he wished many other countries would provide such generous support as Kuwait.
More small and medium-sized enterprises in the Gulf region
With regard to bilateral relations, Gabriel expressed a wish to expand economic cooperation even further. Germany is already Kuwait’s undisputed main trading partner in the European Union. A large number of German companies have invested in the Gulf state, while many Kuwaiti firms have invested in Germany. As a goal for the future, Gabriel also wants to encourage more small and medium-sized enterprises to invest in Kuwait in addition to well-known large companies. New Kuwait, an ambitious programme aimed at diversifying the Kuwaiti economy in order to reduce its dependence on oil exports, is currently underway. This is also creating valuable opportunities for German suppliers, for example in the renewable energies sector.