Russia becomes most important actor in Middle East — Kuwaiti experts

Kuwait’s leading journalist Ahmad Al-Issa says the fact that the Emir of Kuwait has made a decision to visit Russia personally, and not dispatched some government official, proves that.

Russia has become the most important actor in the region of the Middle East, while Kuwait is well-known for its diplomatic approaches to settling crises and conflicts, Kuwaiti analysts and members of the country’s National Assembly (parliament) say in concert.

"Kuwait was the first of the Arabian monarchies of the Persian Gulf to have established diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union," commentator Kamel al-Harami has recalled. The embassies were opened in Moscow and Kuwait City in 1963. "Kuwait has always had keen diplomatic intuition," he told TASS.

Kuwait’s leading journalist Ahmad Al-Issa has said that the Emir of Kuwait has made a decision to visit Russia personally, and not dispatched some government official. "This confirms that Russia is an important player in the region. Russians have taken up the niche vacated by the United States to prove that they can take a seat at any negotiating table to discuss the crises in the region," he told TASS. "The Russian-Kuwaiti dialogue will proceed in a situation where the West has thrust the door open in front of Iran, the Syrian crisis is getting worse, and a war is raging in Yemen."

Al-Issa said that "if Kuwait sees it is beneficial to build relations with Russia, it will proceed along the path of cooperation."

"If Kuwait or any other state in the Persian Gulf takes a step towards Russia, Russia will take two," he said.

The National Assembly’s members, too, believe that a meeting of the two heads of state is of tremendous importance. "The Emir’s visit to Russia will cause a favourable effect on the restoration of balance in the region," the parliamentary newspaper Al-Dustour quotes two legislators Madi Al-Hadjri and Mansur Al-Zafari as saying. "A meeting at the summit level is to help resolve a number of regional problems," Al-Zafiri said. "In particular, this concerns the Syrian problem, because Russia has become the key player in settling the crisis."

Talks in Sochi

The Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah arrived in Sochi on Monday. It is expected that on Tuesday he will hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. A number of documents on bilateral cooperation will be signed. As the Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said, "This is Kuwaiti Emir’s first-ever visit to Russia in the post-Soviet period."

Of late, the Russian leader held a series of personal contacts and telephone conversations with the leaders of countries in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf to focus on the situation in Syria. In October, Putin held several telephone conversations with King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, of Saudi Arabia, had contacts with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and King Abdullah II, of Jordan. On October 11 Putin received Abu-Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed Al-Nahyan and on October 20 he met with Syria’s President Bashar Assad in Moscow.

First published by TASS.

All rights reserved by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

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