Jarallah welcomes Iraqi statements, warns against interference in Yemen

KUWAIT: Kuwait has welcomed Iran’s willingness for dialogue with its Gulf Arab neighbors, saying any talks are likely to help resolve civil wars in Syria and Yemen. Iran and US ally Saudi Arabia, which dominates the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), back opposite sides in Syria and Yemen. US President Donald Trump has added extra strain by ratcheting up pressure on Iran over its missile program.

Saudi Arabia and other members of the GCC accuse Iran of using sectarianism to interfere in Arab countries and expand its sphere of influence in the Middle East. Kuwaiti Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Al-Jarallah, responding to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s comments that his country was ready for dialogue with the GCC, said: “It’s what we’re looking for”.

Such a dialogue would “contribute effectively to containment of many areas of tension in the region, whether in Yemen or in Syria or anywhere else in our region,” KUNA quoted Jarallah as saying at a national day reception at the Iranian Embassy. Referring to a letter sent in January to Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani by HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah on the “basis for dialogue” between the six-member GCC and Iran, Zarif said Tehran hoped the message would show that Gulf states were willing “to resolve the issues”. “In that case, Iran is also ready. We should all look forward and agree that we should aim together for a future that looks different,” Iran’s Ettelaat newspaper quoted Zarif as saying on Tuesday.
Jarallah also said Kuwait welcomes statements of Iraqi government officials aimed at dismissing false claims over the Khor Abdullah water inlet between Kuwait and Iraq. “We welcome the statements that aim at calming the situation down, and we care less about other statements that are wrong and aim at escalation,” Jarallah told reporters on sidelines of the reception. “We look at the positive side. The positive statements of Iraqi officials including Prime Minister Haidar Al-Abadi and Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Jaafari are what matters,” he added.

Kuwait and Iraq have agreed to organize navigation in Khor Abdullah, he said. “This is not a border demarcation because this issue was settled by UN resolution 833.” The two countries are in the process of implementing an agreement signed in 2012, which organized navigation in Khor Abdullah.

The 2012 agreement, deposited at the UN following its signing, calls for formation of a joint commission to organize navigation, guarantee safety of the inlet, protect environment, maintenance and expansion of the inlet, and handling fishing boats. Abadi, in a statement on Jan 31, termed as “unjustified” some parties’ raising the issues of Khor Abdullah and the border demarcation with Kuwait. “The aim of raising these issues at this time is to deflect attention from victory achieved in the city of Mosul,” Abadi told a news conference. “Unjustified media frenzy has been created over Khor Abdullah,” he added.
Jarallah also reaffirmed that any foreign interference in Yemeni affairs could only prolong the crisis and suffering of the Yemeni people. “The interferences by foreign powers could further worsen the already complicated situation in sisterly Yemen,” he said, commenting on a recent statement by Yemeni President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi on Iranian interference in Yemen.

Commenting on the call by the Russian ambassador to Kuwait for a Russian-Gulf strategic security partnership, Jarallah said the GCC and Russia already have a strategic dialogue that could provide ground for taking into account new initiatives. The coming round of the Russian-GCC strategic dialogue may discuss the viability of the Russian-Gulf partnership and its possible impacts on the interests of both sides, he added. Regarding relations with Iran, Jarallah noted that Kuwait and Iran enjoy special relationships that are deeply-rooted in history. – Agencies