The Euro-Gulf Monitor

23 - 29 July 2021

by

Arnold Koka & Veronica Stigliani

5 Top Points

  1. Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, met with Austrian Chancellor, Sebastian Kurz.

  2. Qatar approved the electoral law for its first legislative election in October 2021.

  3. Saudi Arabia unveiled the Fourth Industrial Revolution Center in collaboration with the World Economic Forum.

  4. The US and Kuwait discussed cooperation during the US State Secretary Blinken’s visit to Kuwait.

  5. Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister met with Iran’s President-elect Raisi in Tehran.

‘Round and About the Gulf

Kingdom of Bahrain

Wednesday, 28 July–Manama hosted the 2nd Bahrain-Pakistan Joint Ministerial Commission, co-chaired by the Kingdom’s Foreign Minister, Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani, and his Pakistani counterpart, Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi. The talks focused on enhancing cooperation in commerce, industry, technology and agriculture, among others. The Bahrain Development Board (EDB) and Board of Investment of Pakistan signed an investment promotion deal on the occasion.

State of Kuwait

Sunday, 25 July–The Kuwait Ports Authority announced that the country will build logistic cities to attract foreign investments, boost Kuwait’s economic diversification and help transform Kuwait into regional reexport and shipping hub. The smart projects, spanning across an area of 2 square kilometres, will be designed to support automation and innovative logistical technologies to attract more foreign companies to stock their products in Kuwait.

Sultanate of Oman

Monday, 26 July–Oman announced it will require all shops, businesses, and other commercial activities to offer digital payment options from January 2022. The move aims to boost the Sultanate’s efforts to digitalise its economy in line with the Oman Vision 2040.

State of Qatar

Thursday, 29 July–Qatar's Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani approved the country’s electoral law for its first legislative elections, scheduled for October 2021. Of the 45-seat Shura Council, 30 members will be elected, with citizens being eligible to vote if they are above 18 years old and have a grandfather born in Qatar. The country will be divided into 30 electoral districts, with each district electing one member of the Council.

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Wednesday, 28 July–Saudi Arabia kicked off its first Forum for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, jointly organised by the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology. The two-day event focused on the impact of emerging technologies on energy, smart cities, finance and healthcare. On the sidelines, the Kingdom announced the establishment of the Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in cooperation with the WEF.

United Arab Emirates

Wednesday, 28 July–Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund, the Mubadala Investment Company, announced a $250 million (USD) investment into US biosimulation company Certara. The move comes as part of Mubadala’s objective to expand its healthcare and life sciences investment portfolio.

The EU Corner

Thursday, 22 July‒The Executive Vice-President of the European Commission for the European Green Deal and European Commissioner for Climate Action, Frans Timmermans, met with Saudi  Arabia’s Minister of Energy, Abdulaziz bin Salman Al-Saud. The discussion, held on the sidelines of the G20 conference, focused on common goals in the environmental and energy fields, in view of the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference (COP26).

 

Friday, 23 July‒The Deputy Secretary-General of the European External Action Service (EEAS), Enrique Mora, held talks with the Head of Saudi Arabia’s Mission to the EU, Saad Alarify, and the Counsellor of the Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs, Manal Radwan, about ways to enhance collaboration in various fields and aimed at reviewing matters of common concern.

 

Wednesday, 28 July‒The European External Action Service (EEAS) Deputy Managing Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Carl Hallergard, met with Kuwait’s Ambassador to the EU, Jasem Albudaiwi. The meeting addressed topics of common interest in preparation for the upcoming third EU-Kuwait Senior Officials' Meeting and ways to enhance cooperation.

Key Official Visits

Sunday, 25 July–Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, visited Tehran, meeting with Iran’s President-elect, Ebrahim Raisi, and his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif. They discussed regional security and the prospects of a dialogue between the GCC countries and Iran.

Tuesday, 27 July–The US Deputy Secretary of State, Wendy Sherman, met with Omani Deputy Foreign Minister, Khalifa Al-Harthy, in Muscat. The two officials discussed US-Omani relations and cooperation in maintaining regional stability.

Wednesday, 28 July–During his visit to Kuwait, the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, met with the country’s Emir Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Crown Prince Mishal Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah. The talks focused on military cooperation, commerce and investment partnerships, as well as human rights issues.

Wednesday, 28 July—The Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, vowed to enhance health cooperation with Kuwait. He visited the WHO’s recently opened office in Kuwait and met with the country’s officials, notably Emir Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and Health Minister, Bassel Al-Sabah.

Wednesday, 28 July–Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, met in Paris with his French counterpart, Jean-Yves Le Drian. The two sides reviewed their strategic partnership in the Gulf, with particular reference to security aspects, and the progress of the Saudi Vision 2030.

Wednesday, 28 July—Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, held separate talks with Pakistan’s President, Arif Alvi, Prime Minister, Imran Khan, and Pakistani Army’s Chief of Staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, during his official visit to Islamabad.

Thursday, 29 July–The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, met with Austrian Chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, in Vienna. They discussed UAE-Austrian partnership in investments, trade, energy, countering terrorism and promoting regional stability.