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Political talks in Kuwait Kuwait

07.10.2015 - Article

Bilateral and regional issues were the main topics on the agenda of Foreign Minister Steinmeier’s visit. His talks with the Crown Prince of Kuwait showed broad consensus on the current crises.

During his visit to Kuwait, bilateral and regional topics were the main topics on the agenda for Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his Kuwaiti interlocutors. His talks with Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Crown Prince of Kuwait, showed broad consensus on the current crises.

Sabah welcomes Steinmeier
Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Sabah, Kuwaiti First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, welcomes Foreign Minister Steinmeier.© Photothek/Imo

Focus on regional crises

After attending the Indo‑German intergovernmental consultations in New Delhi, Foreign Minister Steinmeier travelled on to the State of Kuwait on Monday afternoon (5 October). His last meeting with his Kuwaiti counterpart, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Sabah, who also serves as First Deputy Prime Minister, took place in Berlin in May 2014.

The main aim of Steinmeier’s visit was to discuss the conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya, which are also a pressing topic for Germany. The talks focused on the current intensive diplomatic endeavours. Kuwait frequently plays a mediating role in international cooperation and in the Gulf Cooperation Council. As a neighbouring country of Saudi Arabia and Iran, it is also a valuable interlocutor in the region.

Foreign Minister Steinmeier’s talks with Sheikh Nawaf, Crown Prince of Kuwait, on Tuesday morning (6 October) showed broad consensus on the current crises. Afterwards, Steinmeier met his Kuwaiti counterpart Sabah.

Steinmeier with Kuwaiti Crown Prince Nawaf
Steinmeier with Kuwaiti Crown Prince Nawaf© Photothek/Imo

Great humanitarian leadership by Kuwait

Speaking at a joint press conference, Steinmeier said that both Kuwait and Germany had taken on a leading humanitarian role in the conflict in Syria and paid tribute to Kuwait’s commitment and support. Since the start of the conflict, Kuwait had hosted three pledging conferences to raise funding for aid organisations from the international community. Germany is also lobbying for support for Syrian refugees. At Foreign Minister Steinmeier’s initiative, representatives of the G7 and other countries agreed in New York last week to provide a further 1.8 billion dollars for refugee aid.

Looking beyond humanitarian support, Steinmeier said it was vital that important partners in the region and the international community identify common interests in order to pave the way for a political settlement. “And a settlement will only be in reach if important international partners adopt more similar positions than is currently the case.” Different viewpoints should not “stand in the way of the compromises we need now”. He hoped that the talks between the United States and Russia that began during the week of the UN General Assembly would pave the way towards “resolving the differences of the past”. “I also hope that the conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran here in the region will not be a permanent obstacle to finding a solution for Syria.”

Pluralism as a source of strength and stability

During his visit to Kuwait, Foreign Minister Steinmeier also met Marzouk Al-Ghanim, President and Speaker of the Kuwaiti National Assembly, as well as business people. In an interview with the Kuwaiti news agency KUNA, Steinmeier said that the emirate could be an inspiration for the region because of its political experience – Kuwait proved that political and religious pluralism, the ability to tolerate divergent views and the spirit of compromise were not a sign of weakness, but on the contrary, a source of strength and stability.

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