Diplomatic DiaryFeaturedRamadan 2024

EU ambassador hosts Ramadan Ghabqa with media representatives

The event served as an occasion to express appreciation for the strong cooperation between the EU delegation in Kuwait and the local media, as well as to discuss the deepening partnership between the bloc and Kuwait.

  • H.E. Anne Koistinen, Ambassador of the European Union to the State of Kuwait praised Kuwait’s ongoing humanitarian support for Palestinians and UNRWA, which remains a top priority for the European Union.

On March 18, H.E. Anne Koistinen, Ambassador of the European Union (EU) to the State of Kuwait, hosted a Ramadan Ghabqa with journalists and media representatives. The event served as an occasion to express appreciation for the strong cooperation between the EU delegation in Kuwait and the local media, as well as to discuss the deepening partnership between the EU and Kuwait.

In her welcoming remarks, Ambassador Koistinen highlighted her commitment to fostering dialogue and collaboration between the EU and Kuwait, building on the already excellent and strong EU-Kuwait partnership.

Ambassador Koistinen said, “On the occasion of the Holy Month of Ramadan, I would like to send my warmest greetings to H.H. the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Mishal Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah and to Muslims inside and outside Kuwait.”

She added, “Ramadan this year is rather different as people in the region and beyond are concerned about the suffering of the Palestinians in Gaza. My thoughts are with the people of Gaza, who are suffering from hunger, bombing, and displacement. But I also don’t forget the Muslims suffering in other places in this region during this Holy Month, such as Sudan, Yemen, and Syria. I sincerely hope that this Holy Month of Ramadan brings lasting peace in the Middle East and across the world, including in Europe, where Ukraine continues to fight for its freedom and independence.”

Ambassador Koistinen praised Kuwait’s ongoing humanitarian support for Palestinians and UNRWA, which remains a top priority for the European Union. She highlighted that the EU is the leading donor to Palestinians globally, with €225 million mobilized for humanitarian aid since October 7.

Furthermore, the EU has increased its financial contributions to UNRWA, transferring €50 million in early March and planning to boost emergency aid to Palestinians by €68 million in 2024.

Humanitarian aid to Gaza

Ambassador Koistinen said, “We believe that there is no substitute for UNRWA and for the provision of services to Gaza and its twomillion inhabitants.”

Ambassador Koistinen highlighted the joint statement between the European Commission and other countries on the opening of a maritime corridor to deliver additional humanitarian aid to Gaza alongside plans for a temporary pier.

Ambassador Koistinen noted that financial and humanitarian support alone is not sufficient, and reiterated the EU’s commitment to addressing the root causes of the conflict and advocating for the Two-State Solution. “I am pleased that the EU agrees with Kuwait on the utmost importance of finding a way out of the conflict, and we both support the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, which is an excellent proposal to build on,” she added.

She highlighted that the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, shares concerns beyond Gaza, as he has condemned Israeli provocative announcements to expand illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank. “The EU has clearly stated that it will not recognize any changes to the pre-1967 borders, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed upon by the parties,” Ambassador Koistinen added.

Ambassador Koistinen also noted the EU’s concerns regarding regional escalation and its potential impact on global trade, including trade between the Gulf and Europe. She mentioned the new EU defensive naval operation, EUNAVFOR ASPIDES, aimed at safeguarding the freedom of navigation and merchant shipping in the Red Sea and the Gulf.

Ambassador Koistinen expressed her excitement about experiencing Ramadan traditions in Kuwait for the first time, including ghabqas and diwaniyas. She emphasized the importance of these gatherings in strengthening family bonds, fostering community spirit, encouraging reflection, and promoting generosity, all of which are central to the essence of Ramadan.

She mentioned that millions of EU Muslim citizens and residents from diverse backgrounds come together during this Holy Month, hosting various events such as iftars and interfaith initiatives. She noted that these celebrations exemplify the EU’s motto of “united in diversity.”

Milestones and achievements in EU-Kuwait ties

Ambassador Koistinen highlighted significant milestones and achievements in EU-Kuwait relations. These include the adoption of more favorable Schengen visa rules for Kuwaiti citizens in September 2023, allowing them to obtain multiple-entry visas with a validity of up to 5 years from the first application. She also pointed out the successful rounds of Senior Officials Meetings and Human Rights Dialogues between the EU and Kuwait in December 2023, along with the robust trade and investment relations.

Schengen visa waiver

Regarding the Schengen visa waiver, Ambassador Koistinen made it clear that advancing visa-free travel for Kuwaitis remains one of her priorities during her mandate. She expressed hope that the new European Parliament, following the elections in June, will view the Schengen visa waiver proposal for Kuwaiti citizens favorably.

Ambassador Koistinen underscored the commitment of both the EU and Kuwait to promoting prosperity, stability, and peace in the region. This commitment is evidenced by fruitful cooperation in various areas, including women’s empowerment, the green transition, and climate change initiatives. These efforts will continue to build on the strong EU-Kuwait relations within the framework of the EU’s Joint Communication on a Strategic Partnership with the Gulf.

Ambassador Koistinen concluded by stating that the EU Delegation in Kuwait has plans to celebrate Europe Month in Kuwait this May.



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