EU backs Gulf mediation by Kuwait – NATO, Qatar sign pact

Amir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani with EU High Representative Federica Mogherini

BRUSSELS, March 8, (Agencies): EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/ Vice-President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini, met in Brussels late Wednesday with Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Amir of Qatar, and discussed bilateral and regional issues as well as the Gulf crisis. A press release issued by Mogherini’s office said the two sides exchanged views on the ongoing situation within the Gulf Cooperation Council and prospects for a resolution of the crisis.

“Mogherini reiterated the European Union’s support for the Kuwaiti mediation to achieve Gulf reconciliation and its readiness to assist,” it said. They also discussed counterterrorism as well as several regional issues, including Syria, the Middle East Peace Process, Iran and Libya.

On the sidelines of the meeting, Mogherini and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Qatar, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, signed a Cooperation Arrangement between the European External Action Service and the Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

This Cooperation Arrangement will serve as basis for an enhanced political dialogue and strengthened cooperation on sectoral areas of mutual interest, notably private sector development and research and innovation, it said. It is to be noted that Kuwait and the EU signed a cooperation agreement back in July 2016.

Mogherini and Kuwaiti Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Khalid Al-Jarallah signed the comprehensive Cooperation Arrangement in Brussels which aims to increase the number of exchanges between officials and promote regular political dialogue and concrete cooperation initiatives. Earlier, the Amir of Qatar met the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker.

The Amir of Qatar began his official visit to Belgium Tuesday with a meeting with King Philippe of Belgians. Later yesterday, he held talks with the Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel during which Qatar and Belgium signed two cooperation agreements including an air services agreement and another academic and research cooperation.

The Qatari Amir also met the President of the Senate of Belgium Christine Defraigne and Speaker of the House of Representatives Jifred Prabki, as well as a number of members of the Belgian Parliament on Tuesday. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed the Amir of Qatar to NATO Headquarters on Wednesday where the two leaders discussed the security situation in the Gulf region and the partnership between NATO and Qatar.

The Amir was accompanied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Bin Jassim Al- Thani. He and the NATO Deputy Secretary General, Gottemoeller jointly signed an agreement between the Government of the State of Qatar and NATO regarding the presence of NATO Personnel and Forces in Qatar and cooperation on military and security issues. The agreement allows NATO forces and personnel to enter and transit Qatar, and to use the Al-Udeid Air Base.

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