President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.
President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.

The European Union Friday called for new ties between the EU and the Gulf region for mutual benefit and for world security at large.

“The world needs a stronger security architecture, against the spread of chaos. We know this in Europe and it matters also here in the Gulf. Europe is willing to do its part. We want to strengthen our engagement with the region – both economically but also in terms of security,” President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, told the International Institute for Strategic Studies Manama Dialogue hosted by Bahrain today.

“We want closer cooperation on maritime security – for instance to ensure safe shipping lanes. And I am also convinced that we should work on a coordinated approach to Iran – with a broader focus than nuclear,” said von der Leyen, a former German defence minister.

“Gulf security matters to Europe, as Europe’s security matters to the Gulf. Therefore, we will appoint a Special Representative to the Gulf. Let us join forces for our collective security,” she said.

“I believe we face a historic opportunity to build new ties between our regions. For our mutual benefit. For today and for the long run,” stressed the head of the EU’s executive body.

Von der Leyen said “several Gulf countries have been warning for years about the risk that Iran feeds rogue nations around the world with drones. It took us too long to understand a very simple fact that while we work to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, we must also focus on other forms of weapons proliferation, from drones to ballistic missiles.” “It is a security risk, not just for the Middle East but for us all,” warned von der Leyen.

She continued that “in energy, no one knows better than you in the Gulf that it is all about trust and reliability. For many years, you have supplied energy to the world to support its economic and social development. This has been transformative for many lives and livelihoods.” – KUNA

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