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Zarif Meets New Kuwaiti Emir

Zarif Meets New Kuwaiti EmirZarif Meets New Kuwaiti Emir

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif traveled to Kuwait on Sunday to meet the Arab country’s new Emir Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah and his counterpart, Sheikh Ahmad Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Sabah.
He congratulated Sheikh Nawaf on his appointment and reiterated Iran’s continued support for its friendly neighbor, IRNA reported.   
The new emir assumed power after the death of his half-brother Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad last Tuesday.
He now has up to a year to name a crown prince, but analysts expect a decision in the coming weeks. The Kuwaiti Parliament must approve the choice.
The former ruler died at the age of 91 in the United States where he had been hospitalized since July after undergoing surgery in Kuwait that month.  
Zarif also paid Iran’s respect on behalf of President Hassan Rouhani over the demise of Sheikh Sabah. 
He had earlier lauded the Arab ruler in a tweet for “painting an image of moderation and balance for Kuwait and the region”.
The late Kuwaiti leader was regarded by many Persian Gulf Arabs as a savvy diplomatic operator and a humanitarian champion.
He sought to balance relations with Kuwait’s bigger neighbors, forging close ties with Saudi Arabia, rebuilding links with former occupier Iraq and keeping open dialogue with Iran.
Sheikh Sabah tried to mediate in a dispute in which Riyadh and its allies imposed a boycott on Qatar, and made fundraising for humanitarian aid in war-torn Syria one of Kuwait’s priorities.
Addressing the latest United Nations General Assembly late last month, Kuwait’s Prime Minister Sabah al-Khalid al-Sabah urged Iran and Arab countries to engage in dialogue to end tensions in the region.
Iran welcomed the proposal, hoping Kuwait could eventually convince reluctant countries to engage in talks. 
“We think we’d be able to hold inclusive dialogue as soon as possible in the Persian Gulf region among the regional countries for stability and peace in the region,” Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said. 
Iran has already proposed initiatives for regional dialogue mechanisms, including the Hormuz Peace Endeavour (aka HOPE) put forward by President Rouhani. 
“Iran has always favored plans for regional dialogue and will continue to do so,” he emphasized.
Historically, Kuwait has had close political, economic and cultural ties with Iran, despite the latter’s disputes with Kuwait’s Arab allies.  
After US President Donald Trump announced Washington’s withdrawal from Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, Kuwait opted to maintain formal ties with Iran while Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE voiced strong support for the withdrawal.

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