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The Euro-Gulf Monitor

1 - 7 March 2024

by Elen'Alba Vitiello

5 Top Points

  1. Foreign Ministers of the GCC countries, Jordan, Morocco and Egypt held talks in Riyadh. 

  2. Kuwait’s Emir concluded his first tour of the GCC countries in the UAE.

  3. Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and EU Officials discussed cooperation in Brussels.

  4. Qatar’s Emir held talks with Iran’s President on the sidelines of the 7th Summit of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum in Algeria.

  5. Kuwait’s Minister of Finance inaugurated the Kuwait Investments Office in London

‘Round and About the Gulf

Kingdom of Bahrain 

Wednesday, 6 March–Bahrain’s sovereign wealth fund, Mumtalakat Holding Company, and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to expand cooperation, enable new investment opportunities in Bahrain and create opportunities for the private sector in both countries.

State of Kuwait

Tuesday, 5 March–The Kuwait Investments Office was inaugurated in London. The office is set to handle three main axes: finance and investments bolstering bilateral relations, 125 years of Kuwait-UK relations, and technological advancements and digital innovation. The launch of the Investment Office was attended by Kuwait’s Minister of Finance, State Minister for Economic and Investment Affairs, Anwar Ali Al-Mudhaf; Kuwait’s Assistant Foreign Minister for European Affairs, Sadiq Marafi; UK’s State Minister for Middle East and North Africa, Tariq Ahmad; UK’s State Minister for Business and Trade, Dominic Johnson, among others.

Sultanate of Oman

Thursday, 7 March–On the margins of the ITB Berlin, the world's largest tourism trade fair, hosted this year by Oman, Oman’s Minister of Heritage and Tourism, Salim bin Mohammed Al-Mahrouqi, launched a cooperation programme with Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Tourism, Ahmed bin Aqil Al-Khatib, following the signing of a bilateral strategic partnership agreement. The joint initiative aims at attracting tourists from global markets, in line with Saudi Vision 2030 and Oman Vision 2040. 

 

State of Qatar

Monday, 4 March–The 8th edition of the International Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference (DIMDEX) took place in Doha, under the patronage of Qatar’s Emir, Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani. With the participation of Qatar’s Armed Forces, Naval Forces, Air Forces, and Land Forces, over 200 companies attended the event, including international companies in the defence maritime sector from France, Germany, Italy, Oman, Pakistan, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, among others.

 

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Tuesday, 5 March–Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSrelief) sent the 12th plane to Poland to deliver aid to Ukraine.

 

Tuesday, 5 March–Saudi Arabia’s Qiddiya Investment Company (QIC) unveiled its plan to build one of the world’s most innovative motorsport tracks to stage the biggest international motorsport championships in Qiddiya City, called the Speed Park Track. The track was designed by Austrian former Formula One Driver, Alex Wurz, and German circuit designer, Hermann Tilke.

United Arab Emirates

Wednesday, 6 March–The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) is planning to invest in the US Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) projects. The company is in talks with NextDecade, US LNG firm, to purchase a fourth processing unit at NextDecade’s Rio Grande LNG export site, worth $18 billion (about €16.5 billion). Saudi Arabia’s oil company, Aramco, is looking to invest in US LNG gas projects as well.

EU Corner

Friday, 1 March–On the margins of the 3rd annual Antalya Diplomacy Forum in Turkey, the European Union Special Representative to the Gulf, Luigi Di Maio, met separately with Bahrain’s Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Political Affairs, Abdulla bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa, Qatar's Minister of State for International Cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Lolwah bint Rashid Al-Khater, and Saudi Arabia's Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Waleed bin Abdulkarim El-Khereiji. Di Maio discussed joint EU-Bahrain relations and ways to reinforce tolerance through dialogue with Bahrain's official; EU-Qatar relations and ways to strengthen strategic coordination, as well as the Gaza Strip crisis and the necessity to establish humanitarian corridors with Qatar's official; and EU-Saudi Arabia relations and ways to reinforce them.

Wednesday, 6 March–Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Member of the Council of Ministers, and Envoy for Climate, Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir, visited Brussels, where he separately met with Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Affairs, Foreign Trade and the Federal Cultural Institutions, Hadja Lahbib; EU Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius; and EU Special Representative to the Gulf, Luigi Di Maio. During the meeting with Belgium’s Foreign Minister, they discussed bilateral relations and cooperation in various fields. With the EU Commissioner, they discussed EU-Saudi cooperation in the field of environment, climate change, and Saudi Arabia’s Green Initiative and the Middle East Green Initiative. With Di Maio, ways to enhance EU-Saudi Arabia cooperation were discussed, as well as efforts to maintain security and stability in the Middle East.

Key Official Visits

Saturday, 2 March–Qatar’s Emir, Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, met with Iran’s President, Ebrahim Raisi, on the sidelines of the 7th Summit of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum in Algeria. They discussed ways to fortify the Qatar-Iran bilateral ties as well as the escalating crisis in Gaza.

Saturday, 2 March–Qatar’s Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, and Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sameh Shoukry, chaired the 5th Qatar-Egypt Joint Supreme Committee meeting, in Doha. The Committee discussed bilateral cooperation and ways to develop them, namely in trade, investment, diplomacy, social affairs, and education. Several Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) were signed, including between the Investment Promotion Agency Qatar (Invest Qatar) and Egypt’s General Authority for Investment and Free Zones to enhance bilateral investment relations.

Sunday, 3 March–The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries held a ministerial meeting with Egypt, Jordan and Morocco in Riyadh to discuss ways to strengthen relation and cooperation and review the situation in Gaza. The meeting was chaired by Qatar’s Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani. It coincided with the 159th meeting of Foreign Ministers of the GCC, where they demanded an immediate ceasefire and end to the Israeli military operations in the Gaza Strip and expressed support for Qatar’s and Egypt’s mediation efforts. 

 

Monday, 4 March–Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, held talks with French Vice-President of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Armed Forces Committee and President of the France-Gulf States Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group of the French Senate, Olivier Cadic, in Riyadh. The officials reviewed the Saudi-French relations and cooperation in various fields, and discussed international developments.

Tuesday, 5 March–Kuwait’s Emir, Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, met with UAE’s President, Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, in Abu Dhabi. They reviewed bilateral relations and exchanged views on a number of regional and international issues of shared interest. The visit concluded Kuwaiti Emir’s first tour of the GCC countries.

Tuesday, 5 March–Qatar’s Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, and US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, attended the 6th Strategic Dialogue in Washington, DC. The talks focused on strengthening cooperation in investment, economy, energy, defence and counter-terrorism, among others. In a joint statement, the US and Qatar announced several new milestones, including the amendment to the bilateral Defence Cooperation Agreement, and a Memorandum of Understanding on biometric data-sharing to enhance law enforcement and counterterrorism cooperation.

Tuesday, 5 March–On the sidelines of the extraordinary session of the Jeddah-hosted Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), focusing on the Israel-Palestine crisis, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saudi, held separate talks with his Algerian counterpart, Ahmed Attaf, and Iranian counterpart, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. During both meetings, bilateral relations and ways to develop them were reviewed, and the latest developments of the crisis in the Gaza Strip were discussed.

Tuesday, 5 March–Italy's Defence Minister, Guido Crosetto, went on an official visit to Kuwait where he met with Kuwait's Army Chief of the General Staff, Major General Bander Salem Abdullah Al-Muzain; Kuwait's Undersecretary of the Ministry of Defence, Abdullah Mishal Al-Sabah; and Kuwait's Deputy Defence Minister and Acting Interior Minister, Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah. Italy and Kuwait are working to renew the recently expired Memorandum of Intent on Cooperation on defence matters.

Wednesday, 6 March–Qatar’s Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, met with UK’s Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, David Cameron, in London. During the meeting, they discussed Qatar-UK cooperation and ways to develop it, as well as the latest developments in the Gaza Strip and efforts for reaching a ceasefire. The same day, Cameron also met with Israel’s Foreign Minister, Benny Gantz.

Wednesday, 6 March–Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Energy, Abdulaziz bin Salman Al-Saud, and France’s Minister of Foreign Trade, Economic Attractiveness, Francophonie, and French Nationals Abroad, Franck Riester, met in Riyadh to discuss opportunities to boost bilateral cooperation in the energy sector.

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