03 November, 2017

GCC IN REVIEW: 30 October – 2 November 2017

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Kingdom of Bahrain

Monday, 30 October—Bahrain’s King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa announced that Bahrain will not attend any Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit or meeting attended by Qatar until Doha accepts the demands of the Anti-Terror Quartet composed of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the UAE. Bahrain’s Foreign Minister, Khalid bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa, added that freezing Qatar’s GCC membership is the right step to resolving the crisis.

Wednesday, 1 November—Bahrain’s Minister of Interior, Rashid bin Abdullah Al-Khalifa, announced new measures for entry visas on Qatari nationals. This constitutes the first such move on citizens of GCC states.

Thursday, 2 NovemberBahrain's Chief Prosecutor, Advocate General Ahmed Al-Hammadi, charged Ali Salman, Secretary-General of the Al-Wefaq bloc of colluding with Qatar to promote regime change in Bahrain and for inciting violence during the 2011 unrest.

State of Kuwait

Wednesday, 1 November—The World Bank improved Kuwait’s position in the Ease of Doing Business Index. World Bank officials declared the institution rewarded Kuwait’s success in attracting new investments and in ensuring the country’s economic growth.

Thursday, 2 November—Kuwait's Emir, Sheikh Sabah Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, re-appointed Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah as the country’s Prime Minister. This follows the cabinet crisis which led to the resignation of the entire government last week.

Sultanate of Oman

Monday, 30 October—Oman's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, received Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu. The two discussed Oman-Turkey bilateral relations as well as areas of common concern such as terrorism and intra-GCC tensions.

Wednesday, 1 November—Muscat’s stock exchange rose following the oil price recovery. In particular, a total number of 628 trades were executed this Wednesday, generating turnover of OMR1.32 million with 9.47 million shares changing hands.

 

State of Qatar

Tuesday, 31 October—The International Monetary Fund (IMF), warned about the economic impact of the diplomatic rift between Qatar and its Gulf neighbours. A prolonged crisis could have severe impacts on Doha’s economy.

Wednesday, 1 November—Qatar’s Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, met with the Prime Minister of the Republic of Italy, Paolo Gentiloni. The talks dealt with reviewing bilateral ties and also touched on the GCC crisis and developments in Libya.

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Monday, 30 October—Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State for Gulf Affairs, Thamer al-Sabhan, warned Iraq’s authorities that Iran is undertaking a media propaganda to stop the recent rapprochement between Riyadh and Baghdad. Sabhan’s statement came as Saudi Arabian Airlines set to launch its first flight to Baghdad in 27 years.

Tuesday, 31 October—Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Head of General Intelligence, Ahmed Asiri, pointed out that the coalition which supports the legitimate Hadi government in Yemen has contributed to maintaining the identity of the Yemeni state by enabling the legitimate government to communicate with the international community through its embassies around the world.

Tuesday, 31 October—Saudi Arabia’s UN envoy, Abdullah al-Maalami, said that the Arab coalition forces have been able to eliminate more than 500 Houthi fighters during the latest operations while taking specific measures to avoid injuring civilians in Yemen. In addition, al-Maalami said that the Yemeni militias fired about 30 ballistic missiles towards the Saudi borders.

Wednesday, 1 November—Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz, sent a message of condolences  to the US President, Donald Trump, on the truck-ramming attack in New York resulting in casualties and injuries. The King expressed strong condemnation for an act which he regarded as “condemned by all religions and norms.”

Thursday, 2 November—Russia’s Energy Minister, Alexander Novak, confirmed that The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) plans to participate in building NEOM, the new $500 billion mega-city, patronised by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed Bin Salman, in ventures worth several billion dollars.

United Arab Emirates

Tuesday, 31 October—Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, received the President of Lithuania, Dalia Grybauskait, who is on an official visit to the UAE. Sheikh Mohammad held talks with the Lithuanian president on ways to strengthen bilateral cooperation in various domains, especially in economy, commerce and investment in renewable energy, advanced technology, innovation and agriculture.

Thursday, 2 November—UAE authorities announced the start of the excise tax levying. The UAE imposed 50% excise tax for carbonated drinks and 100% for both tobacco products and energy drinks.

 

By Antonino Occhiuto