France’s Azoulay Wins UNESCO Director General’s Post

Azoulay

Paris – UNESCO’s executive board voted Friday to make a former French culture minister the UN cultural agency’s next chief for the four coming years after an unusually heated election.

UNESCO’s executive board voted 30 to 28 in favor of Audrey Azoulay against Qatar’s Hamad bin Abdulaziz al-Kawari.

The board’s selection of Azoulay over a Qatari candidate came the day after the United States announced that it intends to pull out of UNESCO because of its alleged anti-Israel bias.

Azoulay’s nomination was based on the request of former French President Francois Hollande, yet she received great support from President Emmanuel Macron and Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.

For this purpose, a diplomatic cell was set up to monitor the elections and provide the necessary votes to the former minister of culture, who previously worked as cultural adviser to Hollande at the Elysee Palace.

The Arab candidates dropped out of the race one after the other. The first was the Iraqi candidate, followed by Lebanon’s and finally Egypt’s, who left after losing against Azoulay in an extraordinary runoff on Friday.

Moushira Khattab of Egypt managed to secure 25 votes to Azoulay’s 31. Egypt immediately expressed its support for the French candidate.

Macron congratulated Azoulay on his twitter account, adding that France will continue to fight for education and culture in the world.

Azoulay, who is UNESCO’s 11th director, was born in Paris into a Moroccan-Jewish family.

Her father is Andre Azoulay, a banker and adviser to the Morocco’s King Mohammed VI, also served his father, the late King Hassan II. Her mother is writer Katia Brami.

Confronted with Arab divisions, France presented Azoulay as a consensus figure, who could mend fences within the organization and soothe tensions caused by recent resolutions against Israel.

“Now more than ever UNESCO needs a project… which restores confidence and overcomes political divisions,” the French foreign ministry said in a statement reacting to the US pullout.

According to diplomatic sources in Paris, Morocco supported the French candidate from the beginning and campaigned for her, especially among African countries close to it.

Erdogan Discusses with Macron Mediation Plan between Irbil, Baghdad

Kurdistan

Ankara, Irbil – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held telephone talks on Saturday with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on the latest developments in the aftermath of the Kurdish independence referendum.

Turkish sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the two officials addressed Macron’s initiative to mediate between Irbil and Baghdad.

For his part, Erdogan stressed Turkey’s commitment to the unity of Iraq and Syria.

Ankara had voiced its support for France’s initiative, saying however that it was not enough to resolve the crisis caused by the referendum.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu had held talks in Paris on Thursday with French FM Jean-Yves Le Drian on the Kurdish developments. He expressed Turkey’s support for all efforts that would resolve the problem, noting however that a single country alone cannot resolve this issue.

Baghdad and Ankara had openly rejected the referendum.

The problem should be resolved through the Iraqi constitution, added Cavusoglu.

He also demanded that the Kurdistan region set a deadline for backing down from the “erroneous” referendum.

Erdogan urged during a meeting for his Justice and Development Party Kurdistan President Masoud Barzani to also go back on the vote “otherwise you will be alone and isolated.”

He said that Turkey is determined to stand against all powers that are threatening its internal and external security.

Barzani meanwhile announced on Saturday that Irbil will not close the door against dialogue with Baghdad.

“Kurdistan always wants to resolve its differences with Baghdad through dialogue. We want to end problems with it through negotiations,” he added while placing a wreath of flowers on the tomb of late Iraqi President Jalal Talbani in the city of al-Suleimanieh.

Iraqi Vice President Iyad Allawi revealed that efforts are ongoing to resolve disputes between the two sides.

Barazani and Allawi had held a meeting in al-Suleimanieh to address the latest Iraqi developments. This marks that first meeting between an Iraqi and Kurdish official since the September 25 referendum.

An overwhelming majority of Kurds voted in favor of independence.

Why Macron Doesn’t Fear France’s Unions

France, Macron

The first street protests against Emmanuel Macron’s proposed labor-market reforms have been underwhelming. Several major unions stayed away. Estimates of the turnout varied — from 223,000, according to fairly reliable police figures, to 500,000, according to the CGT, France’s biggest union, which called for the march. Whatever the real number, French unions are divided, and this helps Macron’s reform efforts.

This is unusual. France’s unions are traditionally a united front against pro-market reforms of any kind, especially labor-market reforms. Despite a history of radicalism, Jean-Claude Mailly, secretary general of the Force Ouvriere (FO), has all but endorsed the bill, while criticizing it. The moderate CFDT union, which most observers expect to eventually support the bill, has not yet taken an official stance, saying it is still studying the matter. Meanwhile CFE-CGC, usually a moderate union, has denounced the bill in terms more fitting for a far-left tract. What’s going on?

Some of this is just habitual political squabbling: Mailly, traditionally allied with the bigger, formerly Communist Party-affiliated CGT, is said to be tired of playing second fiddle and is therefore looking for opportunities to distinguish his group from his senior partner. But there are structural factors at play: the fundamental realignment of French unions as they become more responsive to their members’ concerns.

French unions are famously radical and resistant to all reforms. After World War II, French leaders wanted to create a German-style “social market economy” whereby workers would be represented on boards and be key stakeholders in corporate decisions. A system of “representivity” was set up whereby a company, industry sector or government must negotiate labor rules with those unions that the law deems “representative” of the workers concerned. In sector-wide or national negotiations, any proposed reform must meet a certain threshold of approval by unions, and each union’s vote is weighted by its representivity.

The cardinal sin of the post-war system in France is that the law simply set out which unions were deemed “representative,” whatever their results in elections or their membership numbers, thereby giving them a legal lock on the process and freeing them from accountability to their own members and to employees. Most workers, employees and managers don’t actually want to strike and protest over every little thing — even in France. But unions were not accountable to them, and were not incentivized to cater to them.

Unions therefore became little more than political machines. With no incentive to provide services to workers, most of the people drawn to join them were either ideological radicals or civil servants, because civil service rules incentivize union membership, giving unions the ability to bring the whole country to a halt by triggering strikes in key public services. This led to an oft-noted paradox: France had extremely powerful unions, but also the lowest percentage of union membership of any major economy.

In 2008, a crucial reform changed the rules around representivity for unions so that election results were taken into account in the formula for their representivity. The consequences of this systemic shift have been slow in trickling through the system; participation in union elections slowly increased as everyday employees found out their vote actually matters. In March of this year, an earthquake happened: In professional elections, the centrist and moderate CFDT union came in first, ahead of the radical CGT. It was the first time since World War II that CGT didn’t come in first.

Unions have slowly begun to realize that they cannot represent only their ideological activist base but must also reflect a broader swathe of French workers, lest they become irrelevant. FO, usually a radical union, has been treading a fine line, denouncing the bill in press releases and holding a non-binding vote against it, but also refusing to call for strikes and protests; the union has generally been moving in a more conciliatory direction, voting in favor of a deal with bosses on unemployment insurance in March, for example. It is said to be trying to find a middle way between CFDT’s image as always saying yes to everything, and CGT’s as always saying no.

This alone has significantly altered the landscape. Macron’s labor-market reform is essentially tailor-made to squeak through without too much disruption and to be supported by at least a few unions. It might be a missed opportunity to push more radical reforms, but by capitalizing on the structural changes to the landscape of French unions, all the signs are there for relatively smooth sailing.

(Bloomberg)

Fate of Iran Nuclear Agreement Dominates New York UN Meetings

Iran

New York – The fate of the nuclear agreement with Iran is dominating this week’s United Nations General Assembly as European officials will attempt to persuade US President Donald Trump to maintain the agreement.

Trump is to meet a number of leaders who have opposing stances on the deal, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who backs annulling it, and French President Emmanuel Macron, who backs keeps it.

The US president pledged during his electoral campaign to abolish the Vienna agreement signed on July 14, 2015 between Tehran and six world powers (US, UK, France, China, Russia and Germany).

During Monday’s meeting between Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, the former highlighted the importance of fully implementing the agreement by all participants.

Washington and Tehran are exchanging accusations of violating the agreement, which was negotiated for ten years and came to effect in January 2016 to ensure the peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear program in return for the gradual lift of international sanctions on Iran.

Talks at the UN General Assembly coincide with Trump’s speech before US Congress in mid-October to affirm whether Tehran is abiding by its commitments. Should he say that it was violating its pledges, then sanctions would be in order.

“It’s essential to maintain the agreement,” said French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in New York, adding that France will try to persuade Trump that this is the right option.

Washington accuses Iran of breaking the spirit of the agreement and reinforcing its leverage that does not serve the region’s stability, especially in Yemen, Syria and Lebanon.

In this context, Nikki Haley, US ambassador to the UN, said in early September that Iran was using the deal to “hold the world hostage.”

North Korea Says Seeking Military ‘Equilibrium’ with US

North Korea

North Korea said Saturday it aims to reach military “equilibrium” with the United States which earlier hinted its patience for diplomacy is running out after Pyongyang fired a missile over Japan for the second time in under a month.

North Korea successfully fired a Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japan on Friday, responding to a new round of UN sanctions over its sixth nuclear test with its furthest-ever missile flight.

“Our final goal is to establish the equilibrium of real force with the US and make the US rulers dare not talk about military option for the DPRK,” North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, according to a report carried by the official KCNA news agency.

Kim said the country was close to the goal of completing its nuclear ambitions and should use all power at its disposal to finish the task, saying it had “nearly reached the terminal”, the official KCNA news agency reported.

“The combat efficiency and reliability of Hwasong-12 were thoroughly verified,” said Kim.

The UN Security Council condemned Friday’s launch as “highly provocative” and US President Donald Trump scheduled talks with the leaders of Japan and South Korea to address the crisis.

“We’ve been kicking the can down the road, and we’re out of road,” White House National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster told reporters, referring to Pyongyang’s repeated missile tests in defiance of international pressure.

Seoul’s defence ministry said it probably travelled around 3,700 kilometres (2,300 miles) and reached a maximum altitude of 770 kilometres.

Yang Uk, an analyst with the Korea Defence and Security Forum, told AFP that Kim’s stated ambition of achieving a military balance was some way off.

“It’s too unrealistic for North Korea to reach equilibrium in nuclear force with the US,” he said.

Also on Friday, the U.N. Security Council condemned the “highly provocative” missile launch by North Korea.

It had already stepped up sanctions against North Korea in response to a nuclear bomb test on Sept. 3, imposing a ban on North Korea’s textile exports and capping its imports of crude oil, according to Reuters.

France’s Macron Faces his First Social Challenges

Macron

Paris – Dark clouds have started to loom over the Elysee Palace as the French president and his government have to face the people’s discontent over the labor reform law, which its opponents deemed as a “step back” and “gift” to employers.

A number of protests, rallies and strikes were staged in France on Tuesday. They were called for the by the main federal labor union and with the support of the left and student bodies.

This served as the first warning for President Emmanuel Macron’s new term.

The president has however repeatedly said that he will not waiver in his reform process.

The French are gearing up for two more days of strikes, protests and rallies over social issues.

The first is set for September 21 and the other on September 23. The second rally was called for the undisputed leader of the far left Jean-Luc Melenchon, who urged for demonstrations in Paris and major cities against the “social coup” led by Macron and his government.

The trouble back home was accompanied by the catastrophe that befell the Caribbean islands of St. Martin and St. Barts, both of which are French territories, after they suffered major destruction from powerful Hurricane Irma.

The French government has been accused of failing to anticipate the catastrophe and of dealing with its aftermath. Macron visited the islands on Tuesday and Wednesday, offering support and solidarity with struggling residents.

Macron’s popularity has taken a hit in wake of the social protests and the Irma disaster. Doubts have now started to surround his economic and social policies, which many believe benefit the upper class at the expense of the middle and lower ones.

Protesters on Tuesday said Macron’s reforms will give employers new powers to dismiss them, bypass trade unions and reduce their ability to defend their rights.

The hard-line CGT union called for strikes and organized some 180 marches against the labor changes, unveiled last month by Macron’s government.

Union leader Philippe Martinez told the crowd in Paris that reforming labor rules was a futile effort to create jobs.

“No reform which has destroyed the labor law … has reversed the unemployment trend,” Martinez said at the Place de la Bastille, the starting point of the Paris march. Such reforms don’t lead to “a job with which one can build his life on.”

The hard-line CGT union said 60,000 people participated in the Paris protest. Police said 24,000 people marched and that some 300 black-clad and hooded youths who joined late in the day pelted security forces with objects, briefly halting the event.

Macron’s labor decrees are the first step in what he hopes will be deep economic changes. The decrees are to be finalized this month and ratified by year’s end.

Critics accuse the government of being undemocratic for using a special method to push the measures through parliament.

Companies argue that existing rules prevent them from hiring and contribute to France’s high unemployment rate, currently around 10 percent.

The protests come amid anger at a comment last week by Macron suggesting that opponents of labor reform are “lazy.”

Government spokesman Christophe Castaner said on RTL radio Tuesday that the president didn’t mean workers themselves but politicians who failed to update French labor rules for a globalized age.

Some unions refused to join the protests, preferring to negotiate with the government over upcoming changes to unemployment and retirement rules instead of taking their grievances to the street.

French President Meets Venezuela Opposition Leaders

Venezuela

French President Emmanuel Macron met on Monday with Venezuela opposition leaders in an effort to tackle the South American country’s dire humanitarian situation in wake of its ongoing political crisis.

Julio Borges, president of the National Assembly, and Freddy Guevara, the legislature’s first vice president, met the French leader in Paris. They are proceeding with meetings scheduled this week with European leaders aimed at increasing international pressure on President Nicolas Maduro to hold elections, respect a balance of power and allow humanitarian aid.

Borges and Guevara told Macron that Venezuelans are in dire need of basic necessities like food and medicine at the same time that Maduro’s government is stripping away basic civil rights. Borges said Macron asked “several times what he could do to relieve the crisis” and offered the possibility of providing humanitarian aid.

“Dozens of countries have offered free food and medicine and it’s unbelievable that the main obstacle is (the) government, the one which is supposed to defend the rights of the Venezuelan people,” Borges said.

“We want the government of Maduro to open the door to this humanitarian help.”

Hours after the meeting, Macron’s office issued a statement by the president indicating he was ready to push for European sanctions against Maduro’s administration.

Condemning what he called repression of the opposition, Macron said France was ready to launch European discussions “toward adopting measures targeting those responsible for this situation.” He did not elaborate on what he had in mind.

The situation in Venezuela has a particular resonance in France, where the far-left France Unbowed party, currently Macron’s most vocal opponent, backs Maduro.

Monday’s meeting took place two days after a leading activist was barred from leaving Venezuela in order to attend the Paris meeting.

Foreign nations including Spain and the United Kingdom, whose leaders are expected to meet with members of Venezuela’s opposition-controlled National Assembly this week, have decried the socialist government’s move to bar Lilian Tintori from leaving Venezuela.

Tintori, a prominent opposition activist, was scheduled to attend the meeting with Macron but Venezuelan immigration authorities seized her passport Saturday as she prepared to board her flight.

No official explanation has been given for why Tintori was barred from traveling, but it came a day after she was ordered to appear before a judge to answer questions about a large sum of cash found in her vehicle.

“They cannot silence the voice of 30 million Venezuelans,” Tintori said on her Twitter account, adding that Guevara had given Macron a letter from her.

Those who did make the Europe trip are also scheduled to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister Theresa May and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

In Caracas on Monday, Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza summoned ambassadors from Spain, Germany Italy and the United Kingdom to issue a note of protest accusing them of meddling in Venezuela’s internal affairs.

“These types of expressions are absurd and offensive to the functioning of Venezuelan democracy and its institutions,” Arreaza said.

Maduro’s government has been criticized by the United Nations, Washington and other governments for failing to allow the entry of foreign aid to ease a severe economic crisis, while it overrides Venezuela’s opposition-led congress and jails hundreds of opponents.

The opposition won control of congress in 2015. But Maduro’s loyalist Supreme Court has tossed out every major law it has passed as the oil-rich country slips deeper into a recession exacerbated by triple-digit inflation and acute shortages of food and medicines.

Hariri Concluding Paris Trip: Backing Army Strengthens Lebanon’s Institutions

Hariri

Beirut – Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri declared on Saturday that supporting the army strengthens the Lebanese state and “enables it to combat terrorism” that is threatening several countries.

He hoped at the end of his two-day visit to Paris where he met French President Emmanuel Macron that a scheduled conference aimed at backing the army would garner the required aid.

The conference is set to be held in Italy.

Hariri also met a number of French officials during his trip, including Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and Defense Minister Florence Parly.

The Lebanese PM said that Macron had asserted to him his country’s political, military and moral backing of Lebanon.

“Macron is assured of his steps and he is a man of vision,” stated Hariri in an interview with local television.

The French president will help encourage France and Europeans to attend conferences that support Lebanon, he continued in wake of the country’s hosting of 1.5 million Syrian refugees.

One such form of support is a Paris conference that will be held soon and which will encourage investment in Lebanon, revealed Hariri. Another conference, whose date is tentatively set for early 2018, will also be held in order to tackle the refugee file.

The Lebanese official also highlighted the military cooperation between Beirut and Paris, saying that the joint trainings are held between the two sides and that Lebanon’s army had received equipment from its French counterpart.

Hariri is scheduled to travel to Russia on September 13 where he will meet with President Vladimir Putin.

“Discussions between us are very frank. We will talks about stopping support to Syrian regime leader Bashar Assad,” said the Lebanese PM.

Hariri had kicked off his visit to Paris at the end of August. He concluded it on Friday by meeting Parly at his Paris residence. The two officials addressed strengthening cooperation between Lebanon and France, especially in regards to backing the army and Lebanese security forces.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun is meanwhile set to travel to Paris on September 25.

“Aoun’s visit will highlight the relationship between Lebanon and France,” stressed Hariri.

It will mark the first foreign trip Aoun makes since his election as president last fall.

Security, Independence, Bolstering Power at Core of Macron’s French Foreign Policy

Macron

Paris – In his first speech on France’s foreign policy, President Emmanual Macron paved the comprehensive and complete path of the diplomacy that Paris will follow over the next five years.

During his first annual address to France’s ambassadors, he covered world crises, ranging from the Middle East to North Korea, Africa and Venezuela and the fate of the European Union.

The foreign policy will be based on the France’s security and independence and various forms of influence throughout the world.

Macron indirectly implied that, since his election to office, France has restored its role in the world and its voice is once again being heard. He was making an indirect reference to his “successful” meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump and his initiative that brought together the rival forces in Libya.

The French leader declared that Paris wants to be the “bearer of solutions and initiatives upon the eruption of new crises.”

In addition, he revealed that a “work group” on Syria will meet after a few days in New York. He also told the ambassadors that Paris will host in early 2018 a conference on drying up terrorism financing and that he will pay a visit to the Middle East in spring of the same year.

Seeing as France and the French people top Macron’s concerns, terrorism took up most his speech that lasted over an hour. He stressed the need to combat terror that has been plaguing France since early 2015 and which has left 239 people dead and hundreds injured.

“Combating Islamist terrorism is at the top of our foreign policy priorities,” he stated, while acknowledging that labeling this terrorism as “Islamist” will incite criticism. He was therefore quick to clarify that he distinguishes between Islam and “Islamist” terrorism, rejecting that the millions of Muslims in Europe be blamed for this violence.

Echoing the words of his predecessor Francois Hollande, Macron declared ISIS as “the enemy of France.” He also made a link between destroying ISIS and terrorism to finding comprehensive political solutions in each of Syria and Iraq.

“Restoring peace and stability in Iraq and Syria are of vital importance to France,” he declared. To that end, he called for working towards a stage of political transition in both of the war-torn countries.

One of the ways to defeat “Islamist” terrorism lies in drying up its financing, explained the French president. He therefore stressed that any side funding terror should not be overlooked.

Macron avoided delving into the details of the Gulf crisis between Qatar on the one hand and Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt on the other. He also refused to view the conflicts in the region from a “Sunni-Shi’ite” perspective. The strength of French diplomacy lies in its ability to speak to all sides in order “to bring together the elements of stability and effectively combat all forms of terror financing.”

In addition, the French leader refused to follow the United States’ campaign to abandon the Iranian nuclear deal, saying that he is committed to its implementation to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

On Syria, Macron had in May spoken of a French “initiative” on the war-torn country that calls for forming a “contact group” comprised of the major powers and influential regional players. On Tuesday, he said that this group will become “active” in September and that it will meet on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly. He did not specify whether Syria will be represented by the regime or the opposition at the meeting.

French diplomatic sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that one of the difficulties Paris faced in coming up with the initiative was the mounting tensions between Tehran and the American administration, which refuses to sit at the same table with Iranian officials.

Macron said that it was “a given” that a state of law will once again be formed in Syria, which is what France and Europe are working towards. Furthermore, he added that this should be accompanied with the “trial of figures responsible for the crimes committed there, specifically its leaders.” This marks the first time that the new French president makes such a demand, which is significant since he had refrained in the past from calling for the ouster of regime head Bashar al-Assad.

On Lebanon, Macron said that Paris is “very aware” of the special ties it enjoys with Beirut, noting that the country is “bravely” confronting a critical situation.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun is scheduled to visit Paris in late September, while Prime Minister Saad Hariri is set to make a similar visit in the upcoming days.

Turning to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Macron expressed his commitment to the two-state solution and his country’s efforts to reaching that goal. He revealed that he will visit each of Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories in spring 2018.

As for Libya, the French president described it as a “safe haven for terrorists.” He also highlighted the agreement that he was able to mediate between rival leaders Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj and Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar in the Paris suburb of Saint Cloud on July 25.

Kuwait Maintains Qatar Crisis Resolution Efforts as Saudi, France Discuss Counter-Terrorism

Kuwait

Dammam – Saudi Arabia and France agreed to promote efforts to fight terrorism and extremism and counter-terrorist financing.

Vice Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz received a telephone call from French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday.

The two officials reviewed bilateral relations in various fields and means to fight terrorism and extremism, a statement by the Saudi Press Agency said.

It added that they both underlined the need to exert more efforts to dry up the sources of terrorism and stressed both countries’ keenness on the security and stability of the region.

Macron also held a telephone conversation with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, reported the Emirates News Agency (WAM).

WAM said the two leaders tackled cooperative relations and the latest developments in the region, as well as efforts exerted to combat terrorism and extremism. They also discussed the best means to support regional and international efforts to consolidate security and stability in the region.

Macron’s talks with Gulf leaders came at a time when Kuwait is leading diplomatic efforts to resolve the Gulf crisis, in the wake the Arab quartet’s insistence on Qatar’s need to comply with international efforts to prevent terrorism financing.

In this regard, Prince Mohammed received on Monday a written letter addressed to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz from the Kuwaiti Emir.

Kuwaiti Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al Sabah and State Minister Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah al-Mubarak Al Sabah delivered the message during a meeting with Prince Mohammed in Jeddah.

The Kuwaiti envoys conveyed a similar letter to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, before heading to the Sultanate of Oman, the UAE and later Bahrain.

Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) said that the letter to Sultan Qaboos of Oman covered the latest developments on the regional and international arenas and issues of common concern.

The Kuwaiti envoys also delivered a similar message to Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, KUNA reported.

In Manama, Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa received Kuwaiti envoys Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al Sabah and Sheikh Mohammed Al-Abdullah al-Mubarak Al Sabah, who delivered a written message to the Bahraini monarch.

In parallel, Kuwait’s cabinet announced on Tuesday that the Kuwaiti emir would visit Washington on September 6 on his first visit to the United States since President Donald Trump took office.