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Press release from Ministry for Foreign Affairs

Focus on climate issues and support to Ukraine when foreign minister Tobias Billstrom visits Gulf countries


On 9–10 October, Minister for Foreign Affairs Tobias Billstrom is taking part in a joint meeting of foreign ministers from EU Member States and Gulf Cooperation Council Member States (GCC) in Oman’s capital, Muscat. In connection with this, Mr Billström will also visit Riyadh for bilateral discussions with his Saudi colleague.

The meeting agenda includes a comprehensive discussion about increased strategic cooperation between the EU and the GCC on regional peace and security and on humanitarian issues. In addition, focus will be on enhanced economic exchange and climate issues, where the Gulf countries’ green transition is a central part of the global climate agenda.

“The Gulf region is of strategic importance to the EU. I welcome the steps now being taken to further enhance cooperation between the EU and the GCC on matters such as regional security, strengthened cooperation to save lives and alleviate suffering in humanitarian crises, and joint efforts ahead of COP28 in Dubai later this year. The fact that the EU is expanding its relations with the Gulf region is positive for the global climate agenda. The EU is a leading global actor in promoting decarbonisation and driving the green transition, which several of my counterparts in the Gulf have expressed appreciation for and interest in,” says Mr Billström. 

Another key agenda item is the international support for Ukraine.

“It is important that the countries of the Gulf region, and all other countries, stand up for international law and Ukraine’s right to defend itself against Russia’s full-scale invasion. This includes the initiatives adopted to support Ukraine and condemn Russia’s actions in multilateral forums. The Gulf countries are also major humanitarian donors, and it is important that they continue to provide support to Ukraine.” 

In connection with the EU-GCC foreign ministers meeting – which is the 27th of its kind – Mr Billström will also visit Saudi Arabia for bilateral meetings. Saudi Arabia is Sweden’s largest export market in the Middle East and an important dialogue partner on regional and international issues.