29 September, 2017

GCC IN REVIEW: 25-29 September 2017

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A Weekly Publication of the main news surrounding the GCC States

By Antonino Occhiuto

Kingdom of Bahrain

Tuesday, 26 September—Bahrain’s Crown Prince, Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, announced live ammunition exercises, conducted by the Bahrain Royal Navy Force, in response to the threat represented by Iranian latest missile tests.

Thursday, 28 September—Bahrain successfully climbed four points in the technological readiness index. This is the most significant increase among members of the GCC and points out the success of recent government investments.

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Tuesday, 26 September—Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Bin AbdulAziz has issued a historic royal decree granting driving licenses for women in the kingdom from next June. In a Tweet, United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, welcomed the decision.

Wednesday, 27 September—Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund has announced the renovation of Jeddah’s waterfront walkway to create a residential, touristic and commercial hub. This represents further evidence of the Kingdom ‘s efforts to invest oil revenues for long term economic diversification.

Thursday, 28 SeptemberMaj. Gen. Taher Ali al-Auqaili, Yemen’s Army Chief of Staff suggested that victory over Houthi and Saleh-backed militias was closer than ever thanks to the support of the Saudi-led coalition. Auqaili extended a message of appreciation to the leadership and people of Saudi Arabia due to their efforts to restore the legitimate government of President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

Thursday, 28 September—Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince and Defence Minister, Mohammed bin Salman, received Samir Geagea, leader of the Christian Lebanese Forces political party, to discuss the destabilising role of Hezbollah within Lebanon.

Thursday, 28 September—Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Bin AbdulAziz hosted the visit of Somalia’s president, Mohammed Abdullah Farmajo. Saudi Arabia’s financial and political support has been crucial in Farmajo’s attempts to restore a sable and functioning government in Mogadishu, despite the severe terrorist threat still affecting Somalia.

State of Kuwait

Wednesday, 27 September—Kuwait’s Emir, Sheikh Sabah Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, sent a cable to congratulate Angela Merkel’s successful re-election.  The Emir expressed his desire for the continuation of strong relations between Kuwait and Germany.

Thursday, 28 SeptemberKuwait’s Foreign Ministry reiterated support for the unity of Iraq and expressed the hope that the recent independence referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan would not impact Iraq's great efforts to liberate its territories from Daesh and other forms of terrorism.

State of Qatar

Monday, 25 September—Qatar's Foreign Minister, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, said the  current position of boycotting countries is pushing Qatar into closer economic ties with Iran. The minister hinted such relations could grow in the long term.

Tuesday, 26 September—Qatar’s Minister of State for Defence, Khalid bin Mohammed al-Attiyah, was quoted by Emirati media, as stating that “Qatar was made much stronger than before following the actions of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the UAE.”His statement contrasts with the speech delivered by the Emir of Qatar at the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly in which the Qatari Emir stressed the suffering currently endured by Qatari citizens.

Wednesday, 27 September—HRW urged Qatar’s authorities to take measures to safeguard the health of millions of workers employed for the 2022 World Cup projects. HRW claims that Qatar authorities have so far refused to make necessary information public or adequately investigate deaths, which may have been caused by labouring in the region’s fierce climate.

Sultanate of Oman

Monday, 25 September—The Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, Sher Bahadur Deuba, arrived in Muscat to start his official visit to Oman. Nepal’s Prime Minister attended an official session of talks with Sayyid Fahd bin Mahmoud Al Said, Oman’s Deputy Prime Minister. The talks focused on the conditions of Nepalese workers, mostly employed in Oman’s construction sector.

Thursday, 28 SeptemberOman’s Minister of Transport and Communications, Dr. Ahmed Mohammed Salem Al-Futaisi, announced the opening-for public traffic-of the Jibreen–Ibri dual-carriageway project. Such announcement offers the latest evidence of Oman’s government efforts in investing to improve the Sultanate’s infrastructure.

 

United Arab Emirates

 

Wednesday, 27 September— Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, launched the journey towards realising the UAE Centennial 2071 goal at the annual UAE Government meetings in Abu Dhabi. Al Maktoum has been quoted by Emirati media as stating that through education, UAE authorities aspire to build a global economic powerhouse.

 

Thursday, 28 September—UAE authorities announced a new excise tax to go into effect from 01 October, 2017. The new tax will be imposed on carbonated drinks, (50 %), tobacco products, (100%) and energy drinks,(100%). Fuel prices in the UAE will also increase in October, according to the UAE’s Ministry of Energy.