Kuwait ‘is very keen to resolve the dispute within the framework of the Gulf’
Kuwait is reportedly launching a new initiative to break the stalemate in the Qatar crisis through focusing on specific measures that would “facilitate the start of an open dialogue”.
The stalemate has prevailed since June 5 when Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt severed their diplomatic and trade relations with Qatar over supporting extremists and terror groups.
Kuwait’s First Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Shaikh Sabah Al Khalid Al Hamad Al Sabah and State Minister for Cabinet Affairs and Acting Information Minister Shaikh Mohammad Al Abdullah on Monday visited Saudi Arabia and Egypt as envoys of Kuwaiti Emir Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah.
In Saudi Arabia, the two envoys held a meeting with Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman and presented a written message from Shaikh Sabah on the latest regional and international developments and issues of common interest. Later in the evening, they held a meeting with Egyptian President Abdul Fattah El Sissi and presented the Emir’s letter, state media reported.
The Kuwaiti envoys on Tuesday are flying to Oman, the UAE and Bahrain.
“Despite the scepticism, confusion and media clamour, Kuwait’s principled position is to mediate to resolve the dispute within the Gulf framework and not to open the doors to gaps that could facilitate regional interference,” the sources said.
“Kuwait is very keen to resolve the dispute within the framework of the Gulf, especially that all parties have stressed on more than one occasion that Kuwait’s mediation is the only one that is internationally recognized and that can achieve the desired results and lead to direct dialogue between the states involved in the crisis.”
The latest Kuwaiti move coincides with a new US drive to “maintain a constant pressure on the ground” by sending a diplomat and a retired general to the Arabian Gulf.
Tim Lenderking, deputy assistant secretary for Arabian Gulf Affairs in the Near East Bureau, and Retired General Anthony Charles Zinni arrived on Monday evening to Kuwait to spearhead the drive and push for a dialogue.
Sources told Al Rai that the US bid was as a consolidation of the Kuwaiti efforts to resolve the crisis, and not a substitute for them.
The new US attempt comes less than one month after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made field trips to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar in his bid to bring the parties involved in the standoff to sit together and start a dialogue.
Tillerson came up short in his attempt and made no announcement of any incremental progress at the end of his shuttle diplomacy efforts.
Kuwait’s Emir launched an initiative supported by the international community to help defuse the tension, but the mediation efforts were stalled.
No breakthroughs have been made by any of the countries that have tried to address the issue since June.
Gulf sources told Kuwaiti daily Al Rai that the intensive efforts led by Kuwait aim to focus on “a set of measures that facilitate the start of a direct dialogue” between all parties.