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Steinmeier and his Kuwaiti counterpart discuss situation in the Middle East Kuwait

Foreign Minister Steinmeier with his Kuwaiti counterpart Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah

Foreign Minister Steinmeier with his Kuwaiti counterpart Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, © AA

19.10.2016 - Article

Steinmeier met with his Kuwaiti counterpart on 19 October. They discussed bilateral relations and Kuwait’s important role in the region, as well as the situation in Yemen and in Ukraine.

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

Gateway in the old town of Sana'a. A 72-hour ceasefire is set to begin in Yemen on Wednesday
Gateway in the old town of Sana'a. A 72-hour ceasefire is set to begin in Yemen on Wednesday© dpa/picture-alliance

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

Continuing to seek a political solution: Steinmeier and Ayrault during their joint trip to eastern Ukraine in September 2016 (file photo)
Continuing to seek a political solution: Steinmeier and Ayrault during their joint trip to eastern Ukraine in September 2016 (file photo)© Florian Gaertner/photothek.de

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”.

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