Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 15 October 2019

Kuwaiti Emir to visit Iraq as US-Iran tensions escalate

Sheikh Sabah will meet officials in Baghdad to discuss recent attacks near the Strait of Hormuz

Kuwait’s Emir, Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad, is undergoing a series of medical examinations at a hospital in the US. AP
Kuwait’s Emir, Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad, is undergoing a series of medical examinations at a hospital in the US. AP

The Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah, is expected to visit Baghdad on Wednesday as relations between the US and Iran become ever more strained.

The two countries will discuss co-operation and the visit comes "amid unprecedented tensions and developments witnessed by the region", Kuwaiti news agency Kuna reported.

Kuna referred to the recent tanker attacks near the strategic Strait of Hormuz, which Washington has blamed on Tehran. Iran has denied any involvement.

A third of the world’s oil passes through the Strait of Hormuz.

Sheikh Sabah will hold talks with Iraq's President Barham Salih, Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi and parliamentary speaker Mohammed Al Halbousi.

Tension between the US and Iran have increased since President Donald Trump withdrew from a landmark multilateral nuclear deal a year ago.

Mr Trump’s administration has exerted mounting pressure on Iran that began with a war of words but quickly escalated towards confrontations that are more serious.

Sheikh Sabah, who is known in the Middle East as a mediator, called last month for the region to stand back, saying that “war is not easy and would harm everyone if it occurred”.

During a visit to Kuwait last month, Mr Abdul Mahdi vowed that Iraq would not "engage with policies of condemnations and accusations".

Baghdad will send delegations to the US and Iran to help end tension between the two countries, Mr Abdul Mahdi said, adding that Baghdad would remain neutral in the conflict.

Iraq, which has strong ties with Washington and Tehran, and traditional mediator Oman have said they are working to ease the situation.

Updated: June 19, 2019 04:18 AM

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