US, UK, France, Germany call for de-escalation in Gulf region

Foreign ministers of the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Germany have affirmed their resolve to “de-escalate tensions” in the Arabian Gulf region.

This came on Thursday in a joint statement following a meeting of US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, and UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.

The ministers held the virtual gathering for the second time in this format since Secretary Blinken took office to discuss determination to work toward de-escalating tensions in the Gulf region.

They stressed in particular the urgency of ending the war in Yemen, while reaffirming their steadfast commitment to the security of their regional partners.

On Yemen, the ministers agreed to work closely together to support United Nations Special Envoy Griffiths’ efforts to end the war and to address the humanitarian crisis, according to the joint statement.

They expressed concern about the recent Houthi offensive against Marib and strikes against civilian infrastructure in Saudi Arabia, calling upon the Houthis and all Yemeni parties to engage constructively in the political process.

Regarding Iran, the three European heavyweights and the United States expressed their shared fundamental security interest in upholding the nuclear non-proliferation regime and ensuring that Iran can never develop a nuclear weapon, it said.

The three European countries (E3) welcomed the United States’ stated intention to return to diplomacy with Iran as well as the resumption of a confident and in-depth dialogue between the E3 and the United States.

The ministers affirmed strong interest in continuing their consultations and coordination, including with China and Russia, on this key security issue, recognizing the role of the High Representative of the European Union as Coordinator of the Joint Commission.

The E3 and the United States affirmed their shared objective of Iran’s return to full compliance with its commitments under the JCPOA, it said.

Blinken reiterated that, as President Joe Biden has said, if Iran comes back into strict compliance with its commitments under the JCPOA, the United States will do the same and is prepared to engage in discussions with Iran toward that end, it noted.

The E3 welcomed the prospect of a US and Iranian return to compliance with the JCPOA. The E3 and the United States affirmed their determination to then strengthen the JCPOA and, together with regional parties and the wider international community, address broader security concerns related to Iran’s missile programs and regional activities. “We are committed to working together toward these goals”.

They also called on Iran to release all “our arbitrarily detained nationals and reunite them with their families. They also expressed deep concern about the continuing grave human rights violations in Iran”, it stated.

On Iraq, the ministers reiterated their condemnation of the February 15 rocket attack in Irbil.

They expressed their condolences for the victims, their families, and the Iraqi people and emphasized that attacks on US, Coalition and NATO personnel and facilities will not be tolerated. They reiterated their support for the Iraqi Government.

Discussing the evolving challenge posed by the so-called Islamic State group (ISIS), the conferees re-committed to continuing critical efforts to target and eliminate the ISIS threat in Iraq and Syria, including efforts via the 83-member Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS.

They also emphasized the growing importance of coordinating efforts to target the threat posed by ISIS branches and networks worldwide, it pointed out.

The agreed to closely coordinate to address the global challenges posed by China, as well as the need for cooperation across a range of issues, including climate change.

In addition, they agreed to work with urgency to address the climate crisis ahead of the 26th UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of the Parties in Glasgow in November.

They approved that significant collective action was needed to implement the Paris Agreement, including keeping a 1.5 degree Celsius temperature rise within reach. They look forward to the upcoming U.S.-hosted Leaders’ Climate Summit as an important forum to for enhanced climate ambition On Myanmar, they condemned the military coup and called on military leaders to immediately end the state of emergency, restore power to the democratically elected government, refrain from violence, release all those unjustly detained, and respect human rights and the rule of law.

The ministers agreed on the importance of further strengthening NATO and ensuring it is positioned to address today’s strategic realities building on the NATO Reflection Group’s Recommendations.

They agreed that strong international and multilateral cooperation was essential to ending the COVID 19 pandemic and building back better collectively.

Source: Kuwait News Agency