The Euro-Gulf Monitor

8– 14 October 2021

by

Arnold Koka & Veronica Stigliani

5 Top Points

  1. US State Secretary, Israel’s Foreign Minister and UAE’s Crown Prince met in Washington to discuss Abraham Accords and Israel-Gulf relations.

  2. The UK launched consultations with the GCC to reach a Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

  3. Saudi Arabia announced a new strategy to attract over €88 billion (EUR) in foreign investment every year.

  4. The UAE announced plans become carbon neutral by 2050 and invest €140 billion (EUR) in the green energy sector.

  5. Kuwait will allow women to join the army in combat roles.

‘Round and About the Gulf

Kingdom of Bahrain

Sunday, 10 October–Bahrain's Gulf International Bank (GIB) secured a landmark sustainability-linked syndicated loan worth €538 million (EUR). The transaction involved about 20 financial institutions from Europe, the United States (US), the Middle East and Asia.

 

Tuesday, 12 October–Bahrain’s Authority for Sustainable Energy signed a cooperation deal with the Turkish energy company, Gitas. The agreement provisions the construction of a regional center for the production of systems for the solar energy industry, as well as coordinated research and development.

State of Kuwait

Tuesday, 12 October–Kuwait’s Army will allow women to join combat roles, including as officers. The move was already anticipated in an informal declaration made in early September 2021.

Sultanate of Oman

Wednesday, 13 October–A consortium of international energy companies signed a deal to develop a green hydrogen and green ammonia project ‘SalalaH2’ in the Omani Salalah Free Zone, which should produce up to 1,000 tons of green ammonia per day. The consortium consists of units of the Omani energy company OQ, the Japanese investment conglomerate Marubeni Corporation, the Irish-based chemical company Linde and the Emirati group Dutco.

State of Qatar

Monday, 11 October–Qatar’s national energy company, Qatar Petroleum, changed its name to Qatar Energy, in a bid to communicate its shift towards sustainable energy and energy efficiency technologies.

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Monday, 11 October–Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman Al-Saud, announced a new national strategy to attract about €88.7 billion (EUR) in foreign direct investment in the Kingdom every year. The plan also aims to increase local investment to €390 billion (EUR) by 2030.

United Arab Emirates

Thursday, 7 October–The UAE announced a strategy for net-zero emissions by 2050, which will include €140 billion (EUR) investments in green energy.

 

Sunday, 10 October–Dubai’s Department of Finance announced a new portfolio of investments into public-private partnerships, worth about €5.8 billion (EUR). Investments will include infrastructure projects as well as health and safety ones.

 

Tuesday, 12 October–The UAE approved its 2022-2026 budget, with expenditures amounting to about €70 billion (EUR). The 2022 spending is projected at €13 billion (EUR), of which 41 percent will be allocated to the development and social benefits sector.

The EU Corner

 

Thursday, 7 October‒The Head of the EU Delegation to Kuwait, Cristian Tudor, met with the Kuwaiti Assistant Minister for Arab Affairs, Nasser Al-Qahtani, to discuss EU-Kuwaiti regional development cooperation.

 

Sunday, 10 October‒The Head of the EU Delegation to Saudi Arabia, Patrick Simonnet, and the Saudi Minister of Economy and Planning, Faisal Al-Ibrahim, discussed common EU-Saudi economic challenges and opportunities for cooperation.

 

Sunday, 10 October‒The Deputy Head of Mission at the EU Delegation to Saudi Arabia, Jaap Ora, and the Saudi Chief of Tourism and Marketing Officer, Philip Jones, revised EU-Saudi cooperation in the promotion of tourist and cultural exchanges during their meeting in Al-‘Ula.

Key Official Visits

Friday, 8 October–The United Kingdom (UK) Trade Minister, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, launched 14-week consultations with the six GCC countries in preparation for a signing of a UK-GCC Free Trade Agreement (FTA). The official launch of talks was announced during a phone call between the British Trade Minister Trevelyan, Bahrain’s Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Zayed bin Rashid Al-Zayani, and the GCC Secretary-General, Nayef bin Falah Al-Hajraf.

Sunday, 10 October–British Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa, James Cleverly, visited Muscat, meeting with Omani Minister of the Royal Office, Mohammed Al-Nu'mani. They discussed opportunities to expand British-Omani relations in economy, regional security and the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26).

 

Monday, 11 October–Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, participated in the Non-Aligned Movement Summit, held in Belgrade, Serbia. He met with Serbian President, Aleksandar Vucic, to discus investments, particularly in the sustainable energy sector. On the sidelines of the event, the Saudi Minister also met with his Iraqi counterpart, Fuad Hussein, reviewing Saudi-Iraqi relations, and with Algeria’s Finance Minister, Ayman Ben Abdul Rahman.

Tuesday, 12 October–Jordan’s King Abdullah II held talks with Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani in Doha. They discussed cooperation in economy, investment, development and culture, as well as job opportunities for Jordanians in Qatar. Talks also covered regional developments, especially in Palestine and Syria.

Wednesday, 13 October–The US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, held a trilateral meeting with Israel’s Foreign Minister, Yair Lapid, and the UAE’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, in Washington. They reviewed Israeli-Gulf relations, opportunities of expanding the Abraham Accords to other countries, as well as setting up two working groups, one on religious tolerance, the other on water and energy cooperation. They also discussed the Palestinian issue, aspects of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and regional security.