The Euro-Gulf Monitor
16 - 22 June 2023
by Elen'Alba Vitiello
5 Top Points
EU and Iranian officials held talks in Qatar.
Iran’s Foreign Minister tours the Gulf countries following a meeting with his Saudi counterpart in Tehran.
Qatar and the UAE reopened their diplomatic missions after an agreement to restore ties.
The French President met with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince in Paris.
UAE President visited Serbia and Russia, where he met with the countries’ leaders.
‘Round and About the Gulf
Kingdom of Bahrain
Sunday, 18 June–Bahrain will host the 11th edition of the international airshow between 13 and 15 November 2024, which will contribute to its strategic development in the sector and will attract key players for investments. Bahrain expanded its aircraft fleet with Lockheed Martin, an American aerospace company, and Bell Textron, an American aerospace manufacturer.
State of Kuwait
Sunday, 18 June–Following Kuwait’s parliamentary elections held on 6 June 2023, the re-appointed Prime Minister, Ahmad Nawaf Al-Sabah, formed a new Cabinet, the 5th in less than a year. Nine Ministers from the previous cabinet retained their posts, including Minister of Interior, Talal Al-Sabah, and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Salem Al-Sabah. Newcomers are Saad Al-Barrak, former CEO of Zain Telecom, who was appointed as Minister of Oil and for Economic Affairs and Investment ; Jassem Al-Ostad, former director of HIE_Kuwait, who was appointed as Minister of Electricity and Water ; and Faleh Al-Rqubah as Minister of Justice.
Sultanate of Oman
Thursday, 22 June–Hydrogen Oman (Hydrom), an Energy Development Oman subsidiary, signed two agreements with international consortium to develop two green hydrogen projects in Al Wusta, for a total investment value of $10 billion (about €9 million). The first agreement was signed with the POSCO-ENGIE consortium, including Samsung Engeneering, FutureTech Energy Ventures, the Thai national petroleum company, Korea Est West Power Co, and Korea Southern Power Co. The second agreement was signed with the Hyport Duqm consortium, including Belgium-based international contractor, DEME, and Oman-based energy company, OQ.
State of Qatar
Monday, 19 June–Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced the restoration of diplomatic ties between the two countries and the reopening of Qatar’s Embassy in Abu Dhabi and its Consulate in Dubai, as well as the UAE’s Embassy in Doha, Qatar, based on the 2021 Al-Ula Agreement.
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Monday, 19 June–Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, led the Kingdom’s delegation to the General Assembly of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) in Paris, as part of Riyadh’s bid to host World Expo 2030. Ahead of a General Assembly vote in November 2023 to pick a host country, Saudi Arabia revealed its plan through a virtual journey, “Riyadh in 2030”, showcasing major projects in the city such as Riyadh Sports Boulevard, King Salman Park, Diriyah Gate and Qiddiya. The event was also attended by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman Al-Saud.
Tuesday, 20 June–During the French-Saudi Investment Forum in Paris, which brought together policymakers, business leaders and entrepreneurs from both countries, France and Saudi Arabia signed 24 investment accords worth $2.9 billion (about €2.6 million), covering sectors such as clean energy, tourism, manufacturing, defence, health and education. Among the agreements signed is a deal between Saudi Arabia’s Military Industries Company (SAMI), Industrial Investments Company (Dussur) and France’s Figeac Aero to manufacture aircraft parts and components to supply global markets.
United Arab Emirates
Wednesday, 21 June–On 27 June 2023, the UAE and the UN are expected to launch a 20kg satellite, the PHI-Demo CubeSat, aboard a Russian Soyuz-2 rocket, to help start-ups and countries develop their own space programmes. It is the first mission under the Payload Hosting Initiative, a platform of the UAE’s Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre and the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs.
Thursday, 22 June–The $3 billion (about €2.7 billion) construction of the Al-Habtoor Tower in Dubai, which is will become UAE’s next world-famous tower and will rank as the world’s 11th tallest building, has begun.
Sunday, 18 June–The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, met with the Secretary General of the League of Arab States (LAS), Ahmed Aboul Gheit, at LAS headquarters in Cairo. They reconfirmed the importance of the LAS-EU partnership. They also discussed the recent ceasefire in Sudan, Syria’s readmission to the League of Arab States, and the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, highlighting their commitment to continue to work towards peace based on the two-state solution.
Monday, 19 June–During the Donor Conference in Geneva, which was co-chaired by the European Union, Egypt, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the European Commission pledged €190 million in humanitarian and development assistance for Sudan. The pledging event aims not only to help the people of Sudan, but also the neighbouring countries hosting thousands of returnees and Sudanese refugees.
Wednesday, 21 June–The Deputy Secretary-General of the European External Action Service (EEAS), Enrique Mora, represented HR/VP Josep Borrell in a meeting with Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister and Iran’s Chief Nuclear Negotiator, Ali Bagheri Kani, in Doha, Qatar. They discussed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), sanctions, Iran’s support for Russia’s war against Ukraine, the EU’s strategy for the Gulf region and the recent appointment of its first Special Envoy to the Gulf, and the Saudi-Iranian agreement to restore ties.
Key Official Visits
Friday, 16 June–Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman Al-Saud, met with France’s President, Emmanuel Macron, in Paris. They both called for a rapid end to the institutional political vacuum in Lebanon. They also discussed France’s support for strengthening Saudi Arabia’s defence capabilities and implementing its Vision 2030, as well as their shared commitment to security in the Middle East.
Friday, 16 June–UAE’s President, Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, met with Russian President, Vladimir Putin, in Saint Petersburg, Russia, to discuss the Russian-Ukrainian conflict and ways to enhance their diplomatic ties. UAE’s President stated that his country will continue to support all efforts aimed at reaching a political solution through dialogue and diplomacy, maintaining a neutral stance towards Russia. Mohamed bin Zayed travelled to Russia after a stop in Belgrade, where he discussed the security situation in the Balkans with Serbia’s President, Alexander Vucic.
Friday, 16 June–Oman’s Foreign Ministry’s Undersecretary for Political Affairs, Khalifa Alharthy, and Hungary’s Deputy Minister of Defence, Tamas Vargha, met in Budapest, on the occasion of the first Omani-Hungarian Joint Committee meeting, to discuss cooperation between the two countries in the economy, trade, agriculture, water management, science and technology development as well as joint investment.
Friday, 16 June–Bahrain’s Minister of Oil and Environment, Special Envoy for Climate Affairs, Mohammed bin Mubarak bin Daina, Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister, Abulaziz bin Salman Al-Saud, and Kuwait’s Oil Minister, Bader Al-Mulla, participated in the celebration of the 63rd anniversary of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), in Iraq, under the patronage of Iraq’s Prime Minister, Mohammed Shayya Al-Sudani. Iraq’s Oil Minister, Hayan Abdel-Ghani, also announced the intention of OPEC members to sign a memorandum declaring ‘the establishment of OPEC in Baghdad’ on the occasion.
Friday, 16 June–Qatar’s Emir, Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, met with Iraq’s Prime Minister, Mohammed Shia' Al-Sudani, in Baghdad, to discuss expanding cooperation in investment, energy and infrastructure. Qatar vowed to invest $5 billion in Iraq in the coming years. The two countries inked agreements on oil and gas supply to Iraq, the establishment of a joint oil company and the construction of a refinery. Iraq’s National Investment Authority signed agreements with Qatari firms working in the property and construction sectors.
Saturday, 17 June–Bahrain’s King, Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, met with UAE’s President, Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, at his residence in Abu Dhabi. They reiterated joint commitment and exchanged views regarding issues of common interest.
Saturday, 17 June–Saudi Arabian Health Minister, Fahad bin Abdulrahman Al-Jalajel, met with British private-sector CEOs during his visit to the United Kingdom, to discuss strategic healthcare partnerships, digital transformation and biotechnology. The Saudi Minister also reviewed the Saudi digital transformation program and progress achieved, such as the Seha Virtual Hospital, which was launched in February 2022 as part of the Kingdom’s efforts to digitise its healthcare sector and is connected to over 150 hospitals in Saudi Arabia.
Sunday, 18 June–Qatar’s Minister of State for International Cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Lolwah bint Rashid Al-Khater, met with Italian Special Envoy for Afghanistan, Natalia Quintavalle, in Doha. They discussed the latest developments in Afghanistan and ways to strengthen cooperation in the fields of health and education.
Monday, 19 June–Bahrain’s Foreign Ministry Undersecretary for Political Affairs, Abdulla bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa, received Political Director at Israel’s Foreign Ministry, Aliza Bin Noun, in Manama. They reviewed political and economic cooperation and ways to further enhance joint ties in a way that supports comprehensive peace in the Middle East.
Tuesday, 20 June—During his visit to the UAE, Speaker of Qatar’s Shura Council, Hassan bin Abdullah Al-Ghanim, was received by UAE President, Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, and Saqr Ghobash, Speaker of the UAE Federal National Council.
Thursday, 22 June–Following the first visit of Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, to Tehran on 17 June, where he met with his Iranian counterpart, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, to discuss the restoration of bilateral ties, the Iranian Foreign Minister embarked on a tour of the Gulf countries. In Doha, he met with Qatar’s Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani. In Muscat, he held talks with his Omani counterpart, Badr bin Hamad Al-Busaidi. In Kuwait, he met with Prime Minister, Ahmad Al-Nawaf Al-Sabah and Foreign Minister, Salem Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah. In Abu Dhabi, he was received by UAE’s President, Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.