Can Europe choreograph a Saudi-Iranian détente?
Geopolitical rivalries between the two shores of the Gulf are having a detrimental impact on the stability of the wider Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. European interests, such as the security of land and maritime routes, the rescue of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – a.k.a. the Iranian nuclear deal – and, crucially, the stabilisation of several regional crises – notably in Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon and the Horn of Africa – are severely affected. For this reason, working towards de-escalation in the Gulf has featured prominently of late in the foreign policy strategies of several European countries, including the European Union.The EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, received a specific mandate for mediating a dialogue on Gulf security in 2020.
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