The Euro-Gulf Monitor
1 - 7 September 2023
by Elen'Alba Vitiello
5 Top Points
Israel officially opened its embassy in Bahrain.
The European Commission’s President met with UAE’s President in Abu Dhabi.
The UAE, Qatar and Oman further enhance cooperation with the EU.
The 3rd Arab-Japan Political Dialogue Forum took place in Cairo.
Saudi Arabia launched the international “Global Water Organisation” based in Riyadh.
‘Round and About the Gulf
Kingdom of Bahrain
Wednesday, 6 September–Bahrain hosted the Global Water Energy and Climate Change Congress (GWECCC) focusing on investments in water sustainability in the GCC region. The event was held under the patronage of Bahrain’s Deputy Prime Minister, Khalid bin Abdulla Al-Khalifa. On the occasion, Bapco Energies, Bahrain’s national energy company, announced plans to introduce three new ventures to expand the country’s energy sector by investing in technology and renewable energy, in line with Bahrain’s Economic Vision 2030.
State of Kuwait
Sunday, 3 September–Adel Al-Manea has been appointed as Kuwait’s Minister of Education, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, and Fahad Al-Jarallah as Minister of Finance.
Monday, 4 September–On the sidelines of the 43rd ASEAN Foreign Minister’s Meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia, Kuwait’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Jarrah Jaber Al-Sabah, signed a Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC), as the first step to partner with ASEAN as a non-member state. This comes ahead of the first meeting of the GCC-ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting later in September in New York, and the GCC-ASEAN leaders’ summit in October 2023 in Riyadh. Saudi Arabia signed TAC as well in July 2023.
Sultanate of Oman
Wednesday, 6 September–The Oman Investment Authority (OIA) invested in a US-based electric vehicle battery company, Our Next Energy (One), and signed a strategic cooperation agreement to identify potential areas of partnership in energy and battery storage in Oman. The investment is in line with Oman’s net-zero emission by 2050 strategy.
State of Qatar
Thursday, 7 September–Qatar’s Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohamed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al-Thani, approved a draft law on the control of precious metals and valuable stones, and several agreements between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, including a MoU in sports and youth as well as on legal and judicial cooperation in criminal matters, among others.
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Monday, 4 September–Saudi Arabia’s private utility developer, Acwa Power, signed partnership agreements with six Italian companies—Confindustria, Eni, A2A, De Nora, Italmatch Chemicals, and Rina—to explore green hydrogen and water desalination projects, at the Saudi-Italian Investment Forum in Milan.
Monday, 4 September–Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman Al-Saud, launched the international “Global Water Organisation”, based in Riyadh, to establish projects and facilitate their financing in order to ensure sustainability of water resources. The organisation aims to assist countries that face water scarcity as well.
Tuesday, 5 September–Saudi Telecom Company (STC), Saudi Arabia’s biggest mobile operator, acquired a 9.9% stake in Spain’s Telefonica, one of the largest telecoms companies in the world with a presence in Brazil, Germany, Spain and the UK for $2.27 billion (about €2 billion).
United Arab Emirates
Wednesday, 6 September–Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) will develop the largest integrated carbon capture project in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region with the Habshan carbon capture project, an accelerated decarbonisation plan. The project is to be built by ADNOC in the south of Abu Dhabi, and completed by 2026. The plant will include carbon capture units, gas processing plant, pipeline infrastructure, and a network of wells for CO2 injection.
Monday, 4 September–The European Union Special Representative for the Gulf Region, Luigi Di Maio, met with Oman’s Foreign Minister, Badr Albusaidi, in Oman, to discuss ways to enhance EU-Oman Cooperation and EU-GCC relations. Di Maio also expressed his support for a free visa regime between the EU and Oman.
Tuesday, 5 September–The Managing Director of the Middle East and North Africa at the European External Action Service (EEAS), Helene Le Gal, went on an official visit to Qatar. She met with Qatar’s Director of the Arab Affairs Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nayef bin Abdullah Al-Emadi, and Minister of State for International Cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Lolwah bint Rashid Al-Khater, to discuss EU-Qatar cooperation, particularly in the energy and climate change field, as well as the developments in Ukraine and Afghanistan.
Wednesday, 6 September–The European Union Special Representative for the Gulf Region, Luigi Di Maio, met with UAE’s Foreign Minister, Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, in the UAE. They reviewed EU-UAE relations in the economic, trade, investment, energy and climate sector, and ways to further develop them. They also discussed UAE’s preparations to host the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP28.
Thursday, 7 September–The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, met with UAE’s President, Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, in the UAE. They discussed various aspects of EU-UAE cooperation and opportunities for further collaboration, as well as UAE’s preparation to host COP28.
Key Official Visits
Friday, 1 September–Bahrain’s Minister of Oil and Environment, Mohammed bin Mubarak bin Daina, attended the Tatarstan Oil and Gas Conference, which was held under the patronage of the Head of the Russian Republic of Tatarstan, Rustam Minnikhanov, in Kazan, Russia. The conference brought together senior officials, leading business and economic stakeholders to build political, economic, cultural, and social bridges between the Russia and the Arab and Islamic Worlds. On the sidelines, Bahrain’s Minister of Oil met with Belarus’ Deputy Prime Minister, Petr Parkhomchyk.
Friday, 1 September–UAE’s President, Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, received Kuwait’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, Ahmad Fahad Al-Sabah. They reviewed ways to enhance their bilateral relations in various fields, and they exchanged views on a number of regional and international issues of mutual interest.
Sunday, 3 September–Israel’s Foreign Minister, Eli Cohen, travelled with a delegation, to Bahrain, where he held talks with numerous Bahraini officials, notably the Crown Prince and Prime Minister, Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, Foreign Minister, Abdullatif Al-Zayani, Minister of Finance and National Economy, Salman bin Khalifa Al-Khalifa, in Manama, and with Bahrain’s Minister of Industry and Commerce, Abdulla bin Adel Fakhro. The two countries signed Memoranda of Understanding in the field of cultural cooperation as well as banking and finance, a joint declaration on Bahrain-Israel Internship Programme in software engineering and science, and cooperation in the youth and communication field.
Tuesday, 5 September–Qatar’s Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al-Thani, met with Somalia’s Prime Minister, Hamza Abdi Barre, in Doha, to discuss the latest developments in Somalia and bilateral cooperation.
Tuesday, 5 September–UAE’s President, Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, received a letter from the President of Poland, Andrzej Duda, in which he tackles UAE-Poland bilateral relations and ways of enhancing them. The letter was delivered during a meeting between the UAE President’s Diplomatic Advisor, Anwar Gargash, and the Polish Ambassador to the UAE, Jakub Sławek.
Wednesday, 6 September–The 160th Ministerial Session of the Council of the League of Arab States in Cairo, discussed the situation in Lebanon, Libya, Yemen, Sudan, and Somalia, the issue of the Emirati islands occupied by Iran, maritime security and energy supplies in the Gulf region.
Wednesday, 6 September–Qatar’s Director of the Media and Communication Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ibrahim bin Sultan Al-Hashmi, separately met with German Spokesperson of the Federal Foreign Office in the Middle East and North Africa, Dennis Kumetat, the Head of the Culture and Communications Department at the German Federal Foreign Office, Ralf Beste, and the Head of the Middle East Division at the German Federal Foreign Office, Gregory Bledjian, in Berlin. They discussed bilateral cooperation and how to enhance them and expertise exchange in the media field.
Wednesday, 6 September–A senior United States’ delegation involving the US President’s Advisor on Middle East Affairs, Brett McGurk, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, Barbara Leaf, and US Special Envoy for Yemen, Tim Lenderking, flew to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the war in Yemen, and to meet with a Palestinian delegation, led by Palestine’s Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organisation Executive Committee, Hussein Al-Sheikh, to discuss the Middle East Peace Process.
Thursday, 7 September–UAE’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, received the Greek Minister of Defence, Nikos Dendias. They discussed strategic partnership in the defence field and ways to further develop them.
Thursday, 7 September–The GCC countries’ Foreign Ministers and the GCC Secretary General, Jasem Al-Budaiwi, met with Japan’s Foreign Minister, Yoshimasa Hayashi, in Riyadh. They discussed free trade agreement and energy cooperation. This comes two days after the 3rd Arab-Japan Political Dialogue Forum, jointly hosted by the Secretary General of the Arab League, Ahmed Abou Gheit, Japan’s Foreign Minister and Egypt’s Foreign Minister, Sameh Shoukry, that took place in Cairo.
Thursday, 7 September–Qatar’s Emir, Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, held talks with the Sudan’s Chairman of Transitional Sovereign Council, Abdul Fattah Al-Burhan, and with Sudan’s army chief, Abdel-Fattah Burhan, in Doha, Qatar.