15 October, 2017

GCC IN REVIEW: 9-13 October 2017

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A Weekly Publication of the main news surrounding the GCC States 

Kingdom of Bahrain

Tuesday, 10 October—Dr Abdulhussain Mirza, Bahrain’s Electricity and Water Affairs Minister, received a delegation from the South Korean company Gaya Steel Works. The company wishes to cooperate with the Kingdom’s Electricity and Water Authority and the Sustainable Energy Unit in existing and future projects. The company aims to promote its products related to the generation of solar energy.

Wednesday, 11 October—The King of Bahrain, Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, released of an official declaration calling for religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence. The King added that the declaration was the result of consultations with Bahrain’s Sunni and Shiite scholars.

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Monday, 9 October—The King Salman Center for Relief and Humanitarian Aid announced the provision of $8.2 billion in aid to Yemen since April 2015. In addition, the centre has recently provided $66.7 million to combat the spread of cholera in Yemen.

Tuesday, 10 October—Col, Turki bin Saleh Al-Malki, spokesmen of the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen which supports the restoration of the UN-recognised government, announced that Iran-backed Houthi militias fired a ground-to-ground missile targeted at a school in the village of Al-Jaradiyah in the Jizan region of Saudi Arabia.

Tuesday, 10 October—The Pentagon confirmed the US State Department approved the sale of a THAAD anti-missile defence system to Saudi Arabia at an estimated cost of $15 billion. This comes following Saudi Arabia’s King Salman signed  a memorandum of understanding on the purchase of the S-400s during his visit to Russia. The enhancement of the Kingdom’s missile defence capabilities are a direct result of the threat represented by Iran’s ballistic programme and by Yemen’s Houthi militias. 

Wednesday, 11 October—Saleh Al-Awaji, Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Electricity Minister, announced government plans to privatise the power sector including the unbundling of state-run Saudi Electricity (SEC). Privatisation is considered necessary by Saudi Arabia’s authorities as electricity tariffs still do not match the cost of producing electricity in the Kingdom.

Thursday, 12 October—Mohammed al-Jadaan, Saudi Arabia’s Finance Minister, said the Kingdom’s economic policy is ensuring modernisation and diversification of the economy in order to reduce dependence on oil in accordance to the Saudi Vision 2030 plan.

State of Kuwait

Thursday, 12 October—Kuwait’s government  reported a sharp increase in efforts to get the private sector involved in financing, building and operating public infrastructure projects in order to offset shrinking income from oil. 

State of Qatar 

Tuesday, 10 October—Qatar’s Foreign Minister, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani, released an official statement in which he related Doha’s hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup to the UAE’s decision to boycott Qatar.

Friday, 13 October—According to French media, following a direct order from Qatar’s leader, Shaikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, some 20 members of the Al Thani ruling family were jailed as punishment for supporting the four boycotting countries and publicly disagreeing with the Qatari government policy.

Sultanate of Oman

Tuesday, 10 October—Oman’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, met with Professor Norbert Lammert, President of the German Federal Parliament, and his accompanying delegation, currently visiting the Sultanate. During the meeting, they discussed Germany-Oman cooperation to enhance values of tolerance and coexistence. 

Wednesday, 11 October—Oman’s Sultan, Qaboos bin Said, sent a cable of congratulations to King Felipe VI of Spain on the occasion of his country's National Day. The Sultan wished prosperity to the people of Spain and to overcome the current Catalonia linked political crisis.

United Arab Emirates 

Monday, 9 October—Suhail bin Mohammed al-Mazroui, the Energy Minister of the United Arab Emirates, declared that he expected the oil market to recover in the second half of the year. The Minister added he is hopeful producers will reach a consensus on extending an oil output cut next month. 

Tuesday, 10 October—UAE’s Minister of state for Foreign Affairs, Dr Anwar Mohammed Gargash, declared that according to the Anti-Terror Quartet, comprising of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the UAE, Qatar’s hosting of the 2022 World Cup should depend on Doha rejecting extremism and terrorism.