The second Senior Officials’ Meeting between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Kuwait and the European External Action Service (EEAS) was held virtually on 16 July 2020. The meeting was held in a positive atmosphere, allowing both sides to engage in a strategic review of different aspects of the bilateral relationship, in light of the profound global impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. It was also an opportunity to continue the long-standing political dialogue between the EU and Kuwait on issues of common interest and concern.
The two sides welcomed progress in the implementation of the Cooperation Arrangement signed between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Kuwait and the EEAS in 2016. The Cooperation Arrangement paved the way to boosting cooperation in a number of policy areas, culminating in the opening by the European Union of a new Delegation in Kuwait City in July 2019, a milestone highlighting the importance of this partnership.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Kuwait affirmed its intention to continue developing its close relationship and further enhance cooperation with the EU.
Political consultations covered the situation in the Gulf, with the EEAS commending and expressing support to the Kuwaiti regional mediation efforts overseen by His Highness the Emir, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah; highlighting, at the same time, the overall moderating and dialogue-based approach Kuwait promotes in the region. The two sides also discussed regional and international issues of common concern, including the situation in Yemen, Syria, Libya, and the challenges faced by the Middle East Peace Process. Both sides expressed the importance of supporting the new Iraqi government as it presses ahead with long-standing reforms. Consultations also tackled the situation in parts of Africa, including in Somalia and Sudan.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Kuwait and the EEAS took note of the first ad hoc informal Human Rights Dialogue between the two sides that took place on 4 February 2020 in Brussels. They reiterated their satisfaction with the results and commended the openness of the dialogue on all issues related to human rights. Furthermore, both sides welcomed the outcome of the webinar titled “Horizons for women’s political participation in Kuwait” that took place 13 to 15 July 2020 as a follow up to the human rights dialogue. Both sides are looking forward to holding the second ad hoc informal Human Rights Dialogue at a mutually convenient time in Kuwait.
In addition to political consultations, the EEAS and European Commission services engaged in exchanges with a number of line ministries and governmental bodies from Kuwait. The topics covered included Covid-19 response, development cooperation and humanitarian assistance.
The State of Kuwait and the European Union reiterated the importance of joint efforts in facing the challenges posed by the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. The State of Kuwait commended the European Union for organizing the virtual pledging conference Coronavirus Global Response on 4 May 2020, which raised over €9 billion for universal access to vaccines. The European Union also recognized Kuwait’s rapid response in offering aid to other countries and the World Health Organization in order to fight this pandemic. Both sides expressed an interest to collaborate on Covid-19 response
Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Assistance
The two sides also exchanged information on their respective work in the fields of development cooperation and humanitarian assistance, in particular in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, in light of the impact of the Covid-19 impact. The exchanges sought ways to enhance policy dialogue and explore possible cooperation.
It was agreed that the next meeting of the Senior Officials Meeting between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kuwait and the EEAS would take place in 2021, the venue to be determined.
The meeting was co-chaired by Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Kuwait, Ambassador Waleed Al-Khubaizi, and Managing Director for Middle East and North Africa in the EEAS, Ambassador Fernando Gentilini.