This Wednesday (19 October), Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier met with the Foreign Minister of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, at the Federal Foreign Office. Their talks focused on bilateral relations, the situation in Yemen, and in particular on joint efforts to provide humanitarian aid to, and to stabilise, the region. The ministers also discussed the situation in Ukraine. On that topic, the German Foreign Minister said it was now important “to revitalise both the talks and ongoing negotiations”.
An important and highly committed partner in the region
Following Foreign Minister Steinmeier’s last visit to Kuwait in October 2015, he today met with his Kuwaiti counterpart for talks in Berlin. They discussed the good and friendly relations between Germany and Kuwait, as well as the crises in the Middle East.
“Particularly in times like these, it is good to have partners at your side that are equally committed to improving the fate of people in the region,” Steinmeier said after the meeting. As the fourth-largest bilateral donor of aid in the Syria crisis, and as host and co-host of donor conferences for crises in the region, Kuwait “has demonstrated more humanity and leadership than hardly any other country”.
Joint efforts to achieve a peaceful solution to the conflict in Yemen
Steinmeier particularly emphasised his guest’s efforts with regard to Yemen. No country in the region has done more to pursue a peaceful solution to the conflict in Yemen, he said. Kuwait is “an important voice of reason and reconciliation”.
In Yemen, thanks to mediation efforts by the United Nations, a 72-hour ceasefire was at least negotiated that is due to begin today. Steinmeier and Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah agreed during their meeting that they would urge the parties to the conflict to respect the ceasefire. The suspension of fighting must be the first step of a road map that leads to a sustained ceasefire and, ultimately, a political settlement, the German Foreign Minister said.
Talks also addressed Ukraine
Looking ahead to the Normandy meeting that will be held this evening in Berlin, which will bring together Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine, Steinmeier and his Kuwaiti counterpart also addressed the conflict in Ukraine. “We are not out of the woods yet by a long stretch,” the German Foreign Minister said. “We must not let up in our efforts” to achieve a solution to the conflict, based on the Minsk agreements. He went on to say that progress had been far too slow, and talks had in part been tedious. However, some small steps have been taken in the right direction with regard to the disengagement of forces. Steinmeier said he was pleased about the Normandy meeting, “which could serve to revitalise, through discussions at the highest political level, both the talks and ongoing negotiations”.