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The Euro-Gulf Monitor

22 - 28 March 2024

by Elen'Alba Vitiello

5 Top Points

  1. Oman and Germany signed several agreements on green hydrogen and LNG supply.

  2. Qatar’s Foreign Affairs Ministry dismissed claims that the negotiations between Israel and Hamas ended.

  3. The UAE’s Minister of Foreign Affairs went on an official visit to the Czech Republic.

  4. The EU Special Representative for the Gulf Region discussed ways to boost EU-Saudi Arabia cooperation with the Saudi Minister of Economy and Planning in Riyadh.

  5. The EU High Representative and Iran’s Foreign Minister discussed bilateral and regional issues over phone. 

‘Round and About the Gulf

Kingdom of Bahrain 

Sunday, 24 March–Bahrain’s Ministry of Transportation and Telecommunications signed two Memoranda of Understanding with Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Transport and Logistic Services on “Future of Transportation” aimed at advancing transportation infrastructure and safety, and facilitating joint work and development. 

State of Kuwait

Wednesday, 27 March–Italy’s Ministry of Defence confirmed the delivery of 13 additional Eurofighter aircraft to Kuwait within the next 18 months, as part of the Eurofighter Kuwait programme.

Sultanate of Oman

Saturday, 23 March–Following the visit of an Omani delegation, headed by Oman’s Minister of Energy and Minerals, Salim bin Naser Al-Aufi, to Berlin, Hydrogen Oman and German Verbundnetz Gas Agbo (VNG) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at studying commercial feasibility and establishing an Oman-Germany integrated supply chain for green hydrogen and ammonia. Moreover, Oman LNG signed an agreement with Germany’s Securing Energy for Europe (SEFE) Company on the sale and purchase of liquefied natural gas (LNG).

 

State of Qatar

Tuesday, 26 March–During the 55th session of UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Qatar’s Permanent Representative to the UN Office in Geneva, Hind bin Abdulrahman Al-Muftah, delivered a statement on behalf of the GCC states in her capacity as chair of the Gulf Group, calling on all countries to complete the measures in recognising the State of Palestine, and to take collective measures to reach an enduring solution that ensures the establishment of an independent Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Tuesday, 26 March–Qatar’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, Majed bin Mohammed Al-Ansari, dismissed claims that the negotiations between Israel and Hamas that are being facilitated by Egypt, Qatar and the US ended. The talks in Doha have been taking place for 10 days to reach a six-week truce in Gaza that would ultimately pave the way for a ceasefire.

 

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Tuesday, 26 March–Saudi Arabia's Communications, Space and Technology Commission launched the Madarik Programme in collaboration with international institutions, such as France’s International Space University and UK’s aerospace company BAE Systems, among others. The programme, which will run from 5 May to 15 August 2024, is designed to empower and develop national capabilities in the space sector.

United Arab Emirates

Wednesday, 27 March–The UAE’s Economic Integration Government Committee presented a proposal to introduce a 10-year golden visa for business and five-year silver licenses for trade to boost investments and growth, increase government revenue, as well as ensure business continuity. The UAE already provides golden visas to foreigners.

EU Corner

Friday, 22 March–During the European Council two-day summit in Brussels, the European leaders discussed the situation in the Middle East. They called for an immediate humanitarian pause in Gaza, leading to a sustainable ceasefire in the Hamas-Israel conflict, condemned Israel’s government for further expanding illegal settlements in the West Bank, and discussed a two-state solution.

Monday, 25 March–The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, held a phone call with Iran’s Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. They discussed bilateral issues, including the need to release detained EU citizens and to avoid nuclear escalation, the Gaza crisis and regional de-escalation, as well as the supply of Iranian missiles to Russia within the context of its war in Ukraine.

Thursday, 28 March–The EU Special Representative for the Gulf Region, Luigi di Maio, went on an official visit to Riyadh, where he met with Saudi Minister of Economy and Planning, Faisal bin Fadhil Alibrahim, to discuss ways to enhance EU-Saudi economic cooperation. Di Maio also met with the CEO of the European Chamber of Commerce in Saudi Arabia, Kristijonas Gidvillas, and the members of the Board of Directors to discuss the development of the new Chamber and its support for EU and Saudi businesses.

Key Official Visits

Friday, 22 March–Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister, Mohammed bin Salman Al-Saud, met with Kuwait’s Prime Minister, Mohammed Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah, in Jeddah. They discussed their bilateral ties and ways to enhance cooperation in various fields, as well as a number of issues of mutual interest.

Friday, 22 March–UAE’s Assistant Minister for Energy and Sustainable Affairs, Abdulla Ahmed Balalaa, led his delegation to the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue 2024 (BETD 2024). The delegation held meetings with Germany’s Special Envoy for International Climate Policy and State Secretary, Jennifer Morgan, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Action, Stefan Wenzel, Ministerial Envoy international Hydrogen Projects, Juergen Friedrich, Managing Director of the World Energy Council, Carsten Rolle. Furthermore, the delegation held meetings on renewable energy, hydrogen supply chains, carbon management, and charging infrastructure with leading companies in the industry field such as Siemens and Airbus. 

Saturday, 23 March–Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Defence, Khalid bin Salman Al-Saud, and his accompanying delegation went on an official visit to Islamabad, Pakistan. He separately met with the Pakistan’s President, Asif Ali Zardari, and Prime Minister, Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif, to discuss ways to enhance bilateral ties.

 

Saturday, 23 March–Cyprus’ Minister of Foreign Affairs, Konstantinos Kompos, met with UAE’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, in Abu Dhabi. The meeting discussed bilateral relations, the situation in the Middle East region and the latest developments regarding the “Amalthea” international maritime corridor initiative to deliver humanitarian aid to northern Gaza.

Monday, 25 March–Oman’s Foreign Minister, Badr bin Hamad Al-Busaidi, received the United Nations Special Envoy for Yemen, Hans Grundberg, in Muscat, to discuss the international efforts to reach a comprehensive reconciliation and peace in Yemen. 

Monday, 25 March–Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister, Mohammed bin Salman Al-Saud, met with the Chairman of the Armed Services Committee in the US House of Representatives, Mike Rogers, along with members of the Committee, Adam Smith, Salud Carbajal, and Veronica Escobar, in Jeddah. The officials reviewed bilateral relations and prospects of US-Saudi cooperation, as well as issues of mutual interest.

Monday, 25 March–Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister, Mohammed bin Salman Al-Saud, met with Iraq’s Head of the National Wisdom Movement, Ammar Al-Hakim, in Jeddah, to review bilateral ties. Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs, Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, also attended the meeting.

Tuesday, 26 March–UAE’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, and his accompanying delegation went on an official visit to Prague, Czech Republic, and separately met with the Prime Minister, Petr Fiala, and Foreign Affairs Minister, Jan Lipavský. The UAE and the Czech Republic are keen to strengthen cooperation in various fields, fostering their development goals and achieving sustainable economic prosperity.

Wednesday, 27 March–Bahrain’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani, held a phone call with Jordan’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, Ayman Al-Safadi. They reviewed bilateral relations, means to enhance cooperation in all fields, as well as joint political-level consultations on the changing security and political developments in the region.

 

Wednesday, 27 March–Qatar’s Emir, Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, received a phone call from Spain’s King, Felipe VI, and discussed bilateral relations and ways to develop and strengthen them. 

 

Wednesday, 27 March–Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, held separate phone calls with UK’s Foreign Secretary, David Cameron, and France’s Minister for European and Foreign Affairs, Stephane Sejourne. During both discussions, they discussed regional and international issues, as well as the latest developments in Gaza.

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