Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel met his counterpart from Muscat on Tuesday evening (17 October) in order to discuss how these tensions can be resolved.
Forty five years of good relations
Prior to his meeting with Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, Gabriel said that the longest-serving Foreign Minister in the Middle East was a good source of advice for the Gulf region. “Balancing and constructive” – Gabriel said that Oman was playing an important role in what was currently a difficult situation in the Middle East. Germany has long enjoyed good bilateral relations with the Gulf state. The two countries have engaged in friendly cooperation since establishing diplomatic relations 45 years ago. They are united by common values in the area of foreign policy. “We are guided by the principles of equality, mutual respect and dialogue, and, above all, by the peaceful resolution of conflicts. We are also committed to respecting international law. We have common goals with respect to the fight against extremism and terrorism”, Gabriel stated.
An important source of advice in current crises
The Foreign Ministers are particularly concerned about the humanitarian disaster in Yemen. Aid organisations have now recorded hundreds of thousands of suspected cases of cholera and the situation is becoming increasingly dramatic. Germany is contributing 125 million euros for humanitarian assistance this year. Gabriel stated that an end to the hostilities was the only way to improve people’s lives. “And this is why we are calling on all sides to ensure a lasting ceasefire, as well as guarantee access for humanitarian assistance in order to alleviate people’s suffering.” He said that a political solution was required, however, preferably one brought about by negotiations under the aegis of the United Nations. Oman could play an important advisory role here, he said.
A joint challenge
Oman’s advice is also needed in other areas of conflict. These include the crisis over Qatar, which has yet to be resolved, efforts to preserve the nuclear agreement with Iran and, last but not least, the increasingly complex situation in Iraq. Frank discussions on the situation in the vicinity of Kirkuk were high up on the meeting’s agenda. Foreign Minister Gabriel said he was concerned by military confrontations in the region: “An escalation in the region weakens all sides and, above all, threatens to destabilise Iraq and the region in the long term. We call on all parties to exercise restraint and to engage in direct talks. All parties have a responsibility to work to facilitate the path back to constructive dialogue and to ensure that the joint fight against Islamic State continues to be the number one priority.”
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Foreign Minister Gabriel on the situation in Kirkuk