The Euro-Gulf Monitor
1 - 10 August 2023
by Elen'Alba Vitiello
5 Top Points
Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah hosted a meeting regarding the Ukrainian conflict.
The UAE and the Republic of Korea discuss nuclear cooperation.
Bahrain will host the 1st Global Water, Energy, and Climate Change Congress (GWECCC).
Oman is set to develop its first hydrogen refueling station.
The EU-Saudi second High-Level Political Dialogue took place in Brussels.
‘Round and About the Gulf
Kingdom of Bahrain
Tuesday, 8 August–Bahrain will host the first Global Water, Energy, and Climate Change Congress (GWECCC) from 5 to 7 September. The GWECCC is a focused environmental event which aims to consolidate efforts to enhance sustainability, security of water and energy resources and offers a platform to exchange ideas on development and utilisation of water and energy among the Gulf countries, Asia and the Middle East.
State of Kuwait
Saturday, 5 August–Kuwait’s Foreign Minister, Salem Abdullah Al-Sabah, condemned the terms used by Lebanon’s Economy and Commerce Minister, Amin Salam, in a statement urging Kuwait to rebuild Lebanon’s wheat silos, destroyed in 2020, stating that the decision could be made with ‘the stroke of a pen’. Salem Abdullah Al-Sabah said that Salam’s statement demonstrated a misunderstanding of how decisions are made in Kuwait, including those regarding humanitarian grants and loans. Kuwait’s Foreign Minister called on Lebanon’s Minister to withdraw his statement to protect their bilateral ties.
Sultanate of Oman
Tuesday, 8 August–Shell Development Oman signed a contract with Hydrogen Systems, a Saudi Arabian company that delivers hydrogen gas solutions to develop Oman’s first hydrogen refueling station in Muscat. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), Oman could become one of the largest global exporters of hydrogen by 2030, offering renewable hydrogen.
State of Qatar
Wednesday, 9 August–The relevant departments of Qatar and Russia have been working on switching the use of national currencies to facilitate trade between the two countries. The Qatari-Russian trade increased since 2022. In the first quarter of 2023, the volume of trade exchange between Qatar and Russia amounted to nearly QR 70 million (about €17.5 million).
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Sunday, 6 August–From 5 to 6 August, Saudi Arabia hosted a meeting for National Security Advisors and Representatives, in Jeddah, regarding the Ukrainian conflict. Over 40 countries and international organisations were present, including the United Nations and the European Commission. The participants agreed on the importance of continuing international consultations and exchanging opinions to pave the way for peace.
Sunday, 6 August–The Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (PIF) announced the creation of a new sports investment company, SRJ Sports Investments, to attract major global events to the country, targeting businesses specialised in offering fan engagement activities and transformative sports technology across the industry. Sports have been a major focus of Saudi Arabia’s effort to rebrand as a global business and tourism destination.
United Arab Emirates
Sunday, 6 August–Following the signing of a military cooperation between the UAE and Chad in June, the UAE sent military vehicles and other security gear to Chad to support its capabilities in combating terrorism and enhancing border protection, as it borders Niger. The UAE has been developing its own defence industry and increased its engagement with African countries.
Monday, 7 August–Daikin UAE, UAE’s main Air-Conditioning company, signed the Climate-Responsible Companies Pledge, launched by UAE’s Ministry of Climate Change and Environment in support of UAE’s initiative to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 and ahead of COP28 in Dubai. The pledge affirms the need for collaboration between the public and private sectors.
Monday, 7 August–UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs banned UAE citizens from traveling to Lebanon, following the heavy armed fighting in a Palestinian refugee camp. Other Gulf countries, such as Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, Germany, and the United Kingdom also urged their citizens against flying to Lebanon.
Monday, 1 August–The 2nd High-Level Political Dialogue between the European Union and Saudi Arabia was held in Brussels, co-chaired by Deputy Secretary-General of the European External Action Service (EEAS), Enrique Mora, and the Head of the Policy Planning of the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Rayed Khalid A. Krimly. They explored ways to further strengthen the EU-Saudi bilateral relationship and discussed common challenges, such as Iran, Palestine, Yemen, and the global consequences of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. This comes after the first meeting that took place in Riyadh, in June 2022, and launched the implementation of the Cooperation Arrangement between the EEAS and Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry. The next day, Krimly met with the European Union Special Representative for the Gulf Region, Luigi Di Maio, to reviewed EU-Saudi bilateral cooperation, as well as regional and international developments.
Thursday, 3 August–The Secretary-General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Hissein Brahim Taha, met the European Union Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Oman, Patrick Simonnet, at the end of his tenure, in Saudi Arabia. They dealt with prospects for OIC-EU cooperation and the issue of repeated burning of the Quran. Both sides stressed on the importance of continuing dialogue.
Monday, 7 August–The European Union Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) invited two junior officers of Oman’s Royal Navy to the EU NAVFOR flagship, ITS DURAND DE LA PENNE, as an opportunity to grow professionally. It is the first of a series of rotations of Omani officers aboard the EU NAVFOR flagship. Oman and the European Union share common interests and continue to work together in maintaining maritime security.
Key Official Visits
Wednesday, 2 August–The 5th Joint High-Level Consultations Committee on Nuclear Cooperation between the UAE and the Republic of Korea, took place in Seoul. During the meeting, chaired by UAE’s Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, Suhail bin Mohammed Al-Mazrouei, and Korean Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Oh Young-ju, in the presence of several leaders of nuclear energy sector from both countries, the two sides agreed to enhance their cooperation and explore investment opportunities, as well as achieving nuclear energy safety by collaborating with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and organise a joint event during the IAEA General Conference in September 2023.
Wednesday, 2 August–UAE’s President, Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, met with Jordanian King, Abdullah II, in Amman, to review bilateral ties and explore opportunities to further strengthen them. They shared common vision to achieve sustainable development, stability, and economic growth.
Thursday, 3 August–GCC Secretary General, Jasem Mohamed Al-Budaiwi, met with US commander of Naval Forces Central Command, Brad Cooper, in Riyadh. They discussed a number of issues related to maritime security in the Arabian Gulf region, promotion of Gulf-US cooperation, and coordination with international and regional partners.
Saturday, 5 August–Bahrain’s King, Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, met with Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, in Egypt. They discussed bilateral relations, particularly in the economic and development fields, as well as the need to intensify joint Arab action to address the regional and international challenges.
Saturday, 5 August–UAE’s President, Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, met with Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, in Egypt, to discuss joint economic and investment cooperation and ways to develop them. They also reviewed regional and international developments and they stressed on the importance of joint Arab action to ensure security and peace in the region.
Sunday, 6 August–The GCC Secretary General, Jasem Mohammed Al-Budaiwi, visited Bahrain and Kuwait. In Bahrain, the GCC Secretary General met with Bahrain’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister, Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, Foreign Minister, Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani, and Minister of Cabinet Affairs, Hamad bin Faisal Al-Malki. In Kuwait, he met with Kuwait’s Crown Prince, Meshal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. They discussed ways to strengthen joint GCC action and ways to advance them.
Monday, 7 August–Qatar’s Minister of State for International Cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Lolwah bint Rashid Al-Khater, met with Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights, Dmytro Lubinets, in Doha. During the meeting they discussed the outcome of the visit of Qatar’s Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammed bin Jassim Al-Thani, to Ukraine in July 2023. They also reviewed ways to enhance bilateral cooperation in the field of human rights and the Black Sea Grain Initiative.
Tuesday, 8 August–Bahrain’s Social Development Minister, Osama bin Ahmed Al-Asfoor, flew to Saudi Arabia with his delegation, and met with Saudi Minister of Human Resources and Social Development, Ahmed bin Suleiman Al-Rajhi, to enhance Bahrain-Saudi joint cooperation. They discussed projects and initiatives being implemented in both countries, in addition to partnership between civil society institutions and government entities.
Tuesday, 8 August–The Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) took place virtually in Manama, chaired by Bahrain’s Chief of Afro-Asian Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Fatima Abdullah Fares Al-Dhaen, as Bahrain is on a leading term of the ACD. She underlined the importance of developing Asian cooperation in all fields.
Wednesday, 9 August–UAE’s President, Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, met with US national Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, in Abu Dhabi. They discussed the strategic ties between the two countries and stressed the importance of joint action for stability in the region.
Wednesday, 9 August–Saudi Arabian Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Waleed El-Khereiji, met with Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif, in Islamabad. They reviewed bilateral relations and ways to enhance and develop them in various fields.