EU opens new mission in Kuwait

Kuwait’s Foreign Affairs Minister Sabah Al Khalid Al Sabah meeting with European Union Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini in Kuwait City on July 13. (AFP)
Updated 14 July 2019

EU opens new mission in Kuwait

  • It is the third such EU mission in the Gulf, after Riyadh and Abu Dhabi
  • The opening, decided several months ago, comes amid a tense standoff between the US and Iran

KUWAIT CITY: The EU’s diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini said Sunday the bloc is increasing its engagement in the Middle East, as she opened a new mission in Kuwait City.
The office in Kuwait’s tallest skyscraper is the third such EU mission in the Gulf, after Riyadh and Abu Dhabi.
“This also sends a message to the whole region; the European Union is increasing its presence and engagement in the Middle East,” Mogherini said at the opening ceremony.
“What happens to the Gulf matters to Europe and what happens to Europe matters to the Gulf,” she added.
The ceremony in the Al Hamra Tower, which is also home to the French embassy, was attended by Kuwait’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Sabah.
The opening, decided several months ago, comes amid a tense standoff between the US and Iran which has affected the Gulf.
“In a moment of regional and global tensions, Kuwait is a voice of wisdom and force of peace and this is what made us natural partners,” Mogherini said.


Iraqi protesters block commercial ports, split capital

Updated 19 November 2019

Iraqi protesters block commercial ports, split capital

  • Iraqi civilians are increasingly relying on boats to ferry them across the Tigris River as ongoing standoffs shut key bridges in Baghdad
  • The Jumhuriya, Sinak and Ahrar bridges connect both sides of the city by passing over the river

BAGHDAD: Anti-government protesters blocked access to a second major commercial port in southern Iraq on Tuesday, as bridge closures effectively split the capital in half, causing citizens to rely on boats for transport to reach the other side of the city.
Since anti-government protests began Oct. 1, at least 320 people have been killed and thousands wounded in Baghdad and the mostly Shiite southern provinces. Demonstrators have taken to the streets in the tens of thousands over what they say is widespread corruption, lack of job opportunities and poor basic services, despite the country’s oil wealth.
Security forces have used live ammunition, tear gas and stun guns to repel protesters, tactics that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday would be punished with sanctions.
“We will not stand idle while the corrupt officials make the Iraqi people suffer. Today, I am affirming the United States will use our legal authorities to sanction corrupt individuals that are stealing Iraqis’ wealth and those killing and wounding peaceful protesters,” he said in remarks to reporters in Washington.
“Like the Iraqi people taking to the streets today, our sanctions will not discriminate between religious sect or ethnicity,” he added. “They will simply target those who do wrong to the Iraqi people, no matter who they are.”
Over a dozen protesters blocked the main entrance to Khor Al-Zubair port, halting trade activity as oil tankers and other trucks carrying goods were unable to enter or exit. The port imports commercial goods and materials as well as refined oil products.
Crude from Qayara oil field in Ninewa province, in northern Iraq, is also exported from the port.
Khor Al-Zubair is the second largest port in the country. Protesters had burned tires and cut access to the main Gulf commercial port in Umm Qasr on Monday and continued to block roads Tuesday.
Iraqi civilians are increasingly relying on boats to ferry them across the Tigris River as ongoing standoffs between demonstrators and Iraqi security forces on three key bridges has shut main thoroughfares connecting east and west Baghdad.
The Jumhuriya, Sinak and Ahrar bridges, which have been partially occupied by protesters following days of deadly clashes, connect both sides of the city by passing over the Tigris River. The blockages have left Iraqis who must make the daily commute for work, school and other day-to-day activities with no choice but to rely on river boats.
“After the bridges were cut, all the pressure is on us here,” said Hasan Lilo, a boat owner in the capital. “We offer a reasonable transportation means that helps the people.”