EU lauds Kuwait’s middle-ground policy

Helga Schmid, Director, Policy Planning and Early Warning Unit, General Secreteriat of the Council of the European Union, Hotel Charles.

The European Union (EU) last week commended Kuwait on its neutral stance and its role in supporting peace and stability in the region.

Speaking during an interview before her visit to the UAE, Oman, Qatar and Iran,  Helga Maria Schmid, the Secretary-General of European External Action Service (EEAS), the diplomatic service and the foreign and defense ministry of the EU said, “Kuwait’s stance is deeply appreciated by the European Union. His Highness the Amir’s commitment to peace and stability stands out as a bulwark in the Gulf region and we regard Kuwait as a natural ally in promoting regional cooperation.”

The “EU knows that it can count on Kuwait to work towards the promotion of a rules-based order, built on mutual respect and the defense of human rights and principles,” she said. “We have valued Kuwait’s presidency of the UN Security Council and its leading role in the stabilization of Iraq. Kuwait’s generous contributions to UNRWA in Palestine, to Syrian refugees in Jordan or to children in Yemen are remarkable examples of its humanitarianism”, said the senior EU diplomat.

Though she is not slated to visit Kuwait during her current trip to the region, Ms. Schmid said she planned to visit the country in the future and added that the EU and Kuwait were working together on the opening of an EU Delegation in Kuwait in the near future.

She added that the EU, along with its international and regional partners, had for years been attempting to address the multiple challenges faced by the region. “During the past few weeks, we have seen a worrying trend towards escalation. We are concerned about this period of intensified hostility, which, in the absence of any form of structured cooperation or regular dialogue, maybe very risky for the stability of the region.

“Although there is no one single set of solution, the goal is to promote dialogue as an antidote to confrontation. I am going there to express the EU’s concern about the rise of tensions, listen to our partners’ views and share our assessment, she said. “I will also stress our support for the opening of channels of dialogue and reflect how the EU could be useful in helping to de-escalate,” she added.

Saying that she would use the trip to Iran to share the ongoing European efforts for the preservation of the nuclear deal with Iran (JCPOA), Ms. Schmid noted that it is the “key to the stability and security in the Middle East and beyond as well as a crucial element of the international non-proliferation architecture.”

“In Iran, where I will travel to after my visit to UAE, Oman and Qatar, I will of course also discuss the state of play regarding the implementation of the JCPOA, including the operationalization of the Instrument in support of trade exchanges (INSTEX), aiming to provide a mechanism for legitimate trade with Iran. All actors should take a constructive approach in order to preserve regional stability,” she stressed.

Her trip to the region would also focus on discussions about the latest regional developments and on the situation in the region more broadly, including issues of common concern, such as the conflicts in Yemen and Syria, the Middle East Peace Process, and the situation in Libya and in Sudan”, said the EU diplomat.

The visit will also be an opportunity to talk about bilateral relations. “We are keen to continue deepening our relations on an individual basis as well as through the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)”, said Ms. Schmid adding, “It is our firm belief that by strengthening our ties we will be able to better appreciate each others’ concerns and develop a relationship that is not only mutually beneficial but one that serves the stability and prosperity of the EU and the Gulf region,” she said.