Prince Mohammad bin Salman arrives on official visit to grand welcome
KUWAIT: HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah held official talks with visiting Saudi Crown Prince, Deputy Premier and Defense Minister Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz yesterday on efforts to support common Gulf action. HH the Amir, accompanied by HH the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, and Prince Mohammad bin Salman said support of common Gulf action was within the solid bonds among the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.
They also discussed ways of boosting bilateral relations in all domains, as well as regional and international developments. The meeting was attended by acting Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah and Minister of Amiri Diwan Sheikh Ali Jarrah Al-Sabah. Prince Mohammad was earlier received at the airport by HH the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf, Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled and senior state officials.
A Gulf Arab official told Reuters the conflict with Qatar will be on the agenda in the talks. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt have imposed sanctions on Qatar accusing it of cozying up to Iran – their arch regional rival – and supporting terrorism. Doha denies the accusations. Kuwaiti mediation efforts have failed so far to end the crisis.
Prince Mohammad is also expected to discuss the resumption of oil output from the Neutral Zone, which the kingdom shares with Kuwait, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters. Prince Mohammad is accompanied by Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih during his trip to Kuwait, two separate sources said. Senior officials have been trying for months to resolve the closure of the Neutral Zone’s jointly operated oilfields, mainly Khafji and Wafra. It was not clear whether the renewed talks on the Neutral Zone would result in the resumption of oil production from the area, one of the sources said.
Khafji was shut in Oct 2014 for environmental reasons and Wafra has been shut since May 2015 due to operating difficulties. Any restart would come at a sensitive time for the oil markets as Washington presses Riyadh to increase oil production to bring crude prices down. US President Donald Trump called Saudi Arabia’s King Salman on Saturday and they discussed efforts being made to maintain supplies to ensure oil market stability and global economic growth, Saudi state news agency SPA reported.
The call comes days after the US president called again on OPEC to boost crude output to cool the market ahead of midterm elections in November for US Congress members. Saudi Arabia is the world’s top oil exporter and OPEC’s de-facto leader. The kingdom, the only country with a significant spare capacity, is worried about the tight ability of other producers to raise output amid declining Iranian supplies. The resumption of the Neutral Zone’s oilfields could add up to 500,000 barrels per day of oil output capacity to both Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. – Agencies