The Euro-Gulf Monitor

1 - 7 April 2022

by

Arnold Koka & Veronica Stigliani

5 Top Points

  1. Saudi Arabia pledged €2.7 billion (EUR) in aid to Yemen as warring parties reached a two-month ceasefire and a new Presidential Leadership Council was formed.

  2. The UAE and Israel signed a free trade agreement.

  3. Kuwait’s government resigned for the fourth time in the last two years.

  4. EU and Bahrain discussed cooperation in education.

  5. Oman partnered with Australian and German energy firms to expand its hydrogen sector.

‘Round and About the Gulf

Kingdom of Bahrain

Wednesday, 6 March–Italian defence firm, Leonardo, completed the delivery of six naval vessels upgraded with the new Leonardo Combat Management System (CMS) to the Royal Bahrain Navy. The contract was originally signed in 2015 between the Kingdom’s Defence Forces and the Italian company, and it included a new weapon control system, enhanced operational planning and logistic support.  

State of Kuwait

Tuesday, 5 April–Kuwait’s government submitted its resignation to Crown Prince, Meshal Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah. The decision came ahead of a no confidence vote against the Prime Minister, Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Sabah, amid an ongoing parliamentary stand-off.

Sultanate of Oman

Tuesday, 5 April–Oman signed partnership deals with Australian and German energy firms,  Hydrogen Rise and Worley, to develop its renewable energy sector. The Australian firm, Worley, will support the development of a €27.5 billion (EUR) worth, 25-Gigawatt wind and solar facility that will enable production of green hydrogen. The German company, Hydrogen Rise, will develop a green hydrogen plant which will decarbonize the steel production process at Jindal Shadeed, Hydrogen Rise and Sohar Port and Freezone (SOHAR) area.

State of Qatar

Wednesday, 6 April–Qatar’s national energy company, QatarEnergy, delivered its first shipment of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the Eastern Chinese terminal of Qingdao, operated by China’s energy state-owned company, Sinopec Corp. The shipment is part of a ten-year supply contract, consisting of two million tonnes of LNG per year. The deal was the first long-term partnership between the companies.

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Monday, 4 April–Saudi Arabia launched a €825 million (EUR) worth project for the construction of the largest green hydrogen plant in NEOM. The plant will be constructed by Saudi energy company, ACWA Power, and will require over 4.3 Gigawatt of clean energy to produce hydrogen. The project is part of the NEOM Green Hydrogen Project, a €4.5 billion (EUR) worth complex that will convert hydrogen into ammonia, which is scheduled to start production in 2026.

United Arab Emirates

Friday, 1 April–The UAE and Israel signed a free trade agreement. The deal was signed by Emirati Minister of State for Foreign Trade, Thani bin Ahmed Al-Zeyoudi, and Israeli Economy Minister, Orna Barbivai, in Jerusalem. The deal will cover exemption of customs duty, regulation, services, government procurement, e-commerce and intellectual property rights.

The EU Corner

Friday, 1 April‒The European External Action Service (EEAS) Deputy Managing Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Carl Hallergard, met with the Secretary General of Bahrain’s Higher Education Council, Rana bint Isa Al-Khalifa, to explore ways to boost cooperation in the field of education. In particular, they discussed students’ international mobility in the context of the EU Erasmus Plus Programme.

 

Saturday, 2 April‒The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, welcomed the two-month ceasefire agreed agreed between the warring parties in  Yemen. The truce, mediated by the UN Special Envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg, coincides with the Ramadan period, and includes a series of measures such as the entrance of fuel in the country via Hodeidah, and the assurance of weekly commercial flights from Sanaa to Jordan and Egypt.

 

Wednesday, 6 April‒The Head of the EU Delegation to Kuwait, Cristian Tudor, attended an official meeting with the Kuwaiti Assistant Minister for International Organizations Affairs, Abdulaziz Al-Jarallah, aiming to discuss the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. The meeting was attended by the G7 Ambassasors and by other 16 representatives of EU countries. 

Key Official Visits

Friday, 1 April–Spain’s Senate President, Ander Gil García, visited the UAE, meeting with the Emirati President of the Global Council for Tolerance and Peace, Ahmed bin Mohammed Al-Jarwan. They discussed political and parliamentary cooperation between Spain and the Emirates, as well as Madrid’s efforts to support security and tolerance in the Gulf region.

 

Saturday, 4 April–Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Idan Roll, visited Manama, meeting with Bahrain’s Minister of Electricity and Water Affairs, Wael bin Nasser Al-Mubarak. The talks focused on bilateral cooperation in water security and energy. The meeting comes a week after Bahrain's Electricity and Water Authority (EWA), signed a €2.7 million (EUR) worth deal with Israeli company, Mekorot, for water technology sharing.

 

Tuesday, 5 April–Morocco’s Foreign Minister, Nasser Bourita, travelled to Riyadh, where he co-chaired the first session of the Morroco-Saudi Arabia political consultations. The talks focused on bilateral cooperation and coordination in international matters, as well as preparations for the upcoming meeting of the joint Moroccan-Saudi committee, which will be held in June in Rabat.  

 

Tuesday, 5 April–A parliamentary delegation from the UK Abraham Accords Group, led by member of the House of Commons, Liam Fox, travelled to Manama, meeting with Bahrain’s Foreign Minister, Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani. They discussed the Abraham Accords’ relevance for securing peace and tolerance in the region, and opportunities for enhancing cooperation among the countries involved.

 

Thursday, 7 April–Saudi Arabia pledged €2.7 billion (EUR) in economic support to Yemen. The announcement came during a meeting of Yemen’s President, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, along with the newly formed Presidential Leadership Council, and Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman Al-Saud, in Riyadh. The Saudi Crown Prince welcomed the two-month nation-wide truce reached between the warring parties, as well as the decision of President Hadi to transfer his powers to the new Council. The Crown Prince also urged the Council to start peace talks with the Iran-aligned Houthis.