The EU’s envoy to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday conveyed the bloc’s understanding of the concern Gulf States have towards Iranian activity in the region, clarifying that the situation today differs from what it was back in 2015 and holds many issues that need resolution.
“We understand the concerns and reservations of the Gulf states regarding Iranian activities in the region,” Patrick Simonnet told Asharq Al-Awsat.
“We are trying to achieve stability, peace, and security in the region,” he pointed out.
Simonnet said Iran needs to comply and implement the 2015 nuclear deal fully.
“As you know, the EU is coordinating the Vienna talks on the JCPOA agreement with Iran. We need the United States to return the agreement and to ensure that Iran fully implements it,” he said.
As for the Kingdom’s national plan for transformation, dubbed Vision 2030, Simonnet affirmed that the EU follows Saudi social and economic reforms with great admiration.
“What makes us enthusiastic about relations with Saudi Arabia is the social, economic, and political reforms that have been achieved during the past five years,” he told Asharq Al-Awsat.
He noted that the reform agenda undertaken by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is “progressive, comprehensive and highly effective.”
“We also support all initiatives,” said Simonnet.
It is noteworthy that Simonnet pointed out that the EU was the no.1 provider of foreign direct investments to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GGC) and the second-largest trading partner in the region after China.
The EU diplomat also pointed out the Kingdom’s leading role in the war against terrorism.
“We support the efforts of Saudi Arabia because it is the backbone of the war against terrorism,” he said, adding that the EU backs all of the Kingdom’s efforts on promoting and presenting a new vision of moderate Islam in the region.
“This is very important for us in Europe, and we have a common interest in the field of counter-terrorism and cyber security,” said Simonnet.