The Euro-Gulf Monitor

1 – 7 October 2021

by

Arnold Koka & Veronica Stigliani

5 Top Points

  1. Qatar held its first legislative elections.

  2. Libya’s Foreign Minister, Najla Mangoush, toured Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

  3. Saudi Arabia and Egypt inked a €1.5 billion (EUR) deal on electric grids’ connection.

  4. EU High Representative Borrell toured Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, announcing plans to establish new EU mission in Doha.

  5. The UAE Space Agency announced a new interplanetary mission.

‘Round and About the Gulf

Kingdom of Bahrain

Thursday, 30 September–The first direct commercial flight between Bahrain and Israel landed at Tel Aviv’s airport. The trip launched the new regular Tel Aviv-Manama route, with two flights per week in each direction, and came after the first official visit of Israeli Foreign Minister, Yair Lapid, to Bahrain.

State of Kuwait

Monday, 4 October–Kuwait’s Government kicked off the preliminary preparations for reforming the work permits’ system. The new system will increase visas’ fees by mid-2022, while also setting percentages for replacement of foreign workforce with Kuwaiti nationals (from 5 percent in 2022 toup to 20 percent by 2025).

Sultanate of Oman

Wednesday, 6 October–Omani tech company, Seeracom, inked a partnership agreement with French security and identity company, Idemia. They will jointly provide strategic solutions to projects concerning public security, border control, identity and law enforcement.

State of Qatar

Saturday, 2 October– Qatar held its first Shura Council elections, in which Qatari citizens chose 30 members of the 45-member legislative body. Turnout was 63.5 percent, and none of the 26 female candidates were elected out of the 233 total who ran for seats.

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Monday, 4 October– Saudi Arabia‘s Foreign Minister, Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, announced that the Kingdom held the first round of direct talks with Iran on 21 September.

 

Tuesday, 5 October–Saudi Arabia and Egypt inked a €1.5 billion (EUR) worth contract to connect their national electric grids. Three consortiums of international and national companies signed the deal, which aims to exchange electrical capacities of 3000 megawatts (MW), in a bid to expand energy partnerships and investments.

United Arab Emirates

Tuesday, 5 October– The UAE Space Agency announced a new space mission. The spacecraft should be launched in 2028 to orbit Venus and land five years later on an asteroid 560 million kilometers away from Earth. The UAE would become the fourth country in the world to land a spacecraft on an asteroid.

The EU Corner

 

Thursday, 30 September‒The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, travelled to Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. In Qatar, Josep Borrell met with the Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, and with Foreign Minister, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, announcing the opening of an EU Delegation in Doha. In the UAE, Borrell met with Minister of Interior, Saif bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, discussing cooperation in sustainability and modernisation. In Saudi Arabia, Borrell met with Saudi Foreign Minister, Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, and United Nations Special Envoy for Yemen, Hans Grundberg, and with the Yemeni President, Mansour Hadi. They discussed developments in the Yemen peace process.

 

Tuesday, 5 October‒The Head of the EU Delegation to Qatar, Cristian Tudor, and the EU Policy officer at European Commission, Cyril Loisel, participated in a dialogue on climate change at the Hamad Bin Khalifa University, in Doha. During the event, the role of the EU in environmental protection was discussed, together with the potential of EU-Qatar cooperation in this field, in view of the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow. 

Key Official Visits

Monday, 4 October–United Nations’ Special Envoy to Yemen, Hans Grundberg, met with Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, in Riyadh. They discussed developments in Yemen as well as actions to halt humanitarian violations by the Houthi militia.

Monday, 4 October–Libyan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Najla Mangoush, toured Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The Minister met with Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, Kuwait’s Crown Prince, Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, and Emirati Minister of Presidential Affairs, Mansour bin Zayed Al-Nahyan. Discussions focused on the “Libya Stability Initiative”, with Minister Mangoush announcing the plan to organise an international conference in October to discuss the Initiative’s implementation. All Gulf countries expressed their support for the initiative.

Wednesday, 6 October–Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister, Ali Bagheri, visited Muscat, meeting with Oman’s Foreign Minister, Badr Bin Hamad Al-Busaidi. They discussed Omani-Iranian relations as well as the need to ensure stability in the region.

Wednesday, 6 October–Qatar's Foreign Minister, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, met with Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince, Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, in the UAE. They discussed developments in Emirati-Qatari relations and ways to enhance them.