The first talks between Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his Kuwaiti counterpart, Sheikh Sabah Khalid Al‑Hamad Al‑Sabah, focused on bilateral relations and regional topics.
50 years of diplomatic relations
A special occasion for a meeting – 50 years ago, Germany and Kuwait established diplomatic relations. In his meeting with his counterpart Sabah Khalid Al‑Sabah in Berlin today (21 May), Foreign Minister Steinmeier made it clear that these were “outstandingly good relations”, in terms of both economic and political exchange.
Alongside bilateral topics, in their first meeting the two Foreign Ministers addressed regional topics such as the Syria conflict and Iran’s nuclear programme. At the subsequent press conference Foreign Minister Steinmeier commented on Iran, stating that he was still hoping to resolve the years-long dispute by the middle of the year. Iran was still obliged to adhere to the agreed timeframe and to help reach solutions, he added.
Kuwait’s role as a mediator
The German Foreign Minister said that the situation regarding the conflict in Syria, ongoing since 2011, was “highly concerning” and “far from a political settlement”. Following the resignation of UN Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi, the position as mediator needed to be taken up by someone new in order to seek a political settlement with “a new and broader approach”. Steinmeier stressed that the situation of Syrian refugees in the neighbouring countries Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan had to be improved. In recent months, Germany and Kuwait had worked “in close cooperation” to provide humanitarian assistance to the refugees, according to Steinmeier.
Foreign Minister Steinmeier praised the country’s “role as a mediator” within international cooperation and with regard to Kuwait’s work on the Gulf Cooperation Council. In many conflicts in the region, Kuwait had adopted a position which was very reasonable and geared towards understanding, highlighted Steinmeier at the press conference.