The Euro-Gulf Monitor

10 - 16 June 2022

by Arnold Koka & Veronica Stigliani

5 Top Points

  1. US President, Joe Biden, will attend the GCC+3 Summit in Saudi Arabia in mid-July.

  2. Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa ordered the largest Cabinet reshuffle in the country’s history.

  3. Israeli nationals will be allowed to travel to Qatar during the FIFA World Cup.

  4. Senior EU officials travelled to Saudi Arabia to discuss cooperation.

  5. Israel’s Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett, travelled to Abu Dhabi.

سيحضر الرئيس الأمريكي، جو بايدن ، قمة دول مجلس التعاون الخليجي +  في المملكة العربية السعودية في منتصف شهر يوليو

أمر ملك البحرين حمد بن عيسى بإجراء أكبر تعديل وزاري في تاريخ البلاد.

سيسمح للمواطنين الإسرائيليين بالسفر إلى قطر خلال كأس العالم لكرة القدم.

وسافر كبار مسؤولي الاتحاد الأوروبي إلى المملكة العربية السعودية لمناقشة التعاون.

سافر رئيس الوزراء الإسرائيلي نفتالين بينيت إلى أبو ظبي.

‘Round and About the Gulf

Kingdom of Bahrain

Monday, 13 June–Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa ordered the largest government reshuffle in the Kingdom’s history, replacing 17 out of 22 ministers. The reshuffle included the appointment of four new female ministers, including Fatima bint Jaafer Al-Sairafi as new Tourism Minister, and the naming of Bahrain’s former Envoy for Climate Affairs, Mohammed bin Mubarak Bin Dainah, as new Minister of Oil and Environment.

State of Kuwait

Wednesday, 15 June–Kuwaiti Authorities approved to tender a €938 million (EUR) worth project for a new passenger terminal deal for the country’s international airport. The project will seek to enhance Kuwait’s transports sector and increase private investment in Kuwait.

Sultanate of Oman

Sunday, 12 June–The Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI) held the first Muscat Real Estate Development Forum in a bid to bolster business opportunities in the Sultanate and attract foreign investment as part of the country’s Vision 2040 objectives. During the event, Oman’s Ministry of Housing and Urban Planning signed 13 usufruct deals with private firms from the industrial, agricultural and commercial sectors.

 

Wednesday, 15 June–Oman inaugurated the primary project office for the Sandy Valley Robotics Park, the first of its kind in the Middle East, located at the Al-Rusayl Industrial City. The 3.2 km2 park will require an initial investment of €1.9 billion (EUR) and is expected to generate over 15,000 jobs.

State of Qatar

Friday, 10 June–Qatar and Israel reached a deal to allow Israeli nationals to travel to the Gulf state for the FIFA World Cup in November and December 2022, despite the absence of diplomatic relations among the countries. As part of the deal, Israel will also allow overflights to and from Qatar during the event.​

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Wednesday, 15 June–Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Culture announced that the Kingdom will hold its first International Opera Festival on 18-20 June 2022 in a bid to enhance the Kingdom’s entertainment and cultural sectors as part of the Saudi Vision 2030 strategy.

 

Wednesday, 15 June–Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet approved an agreement with Iraq to connect their electricity grids, thus kicking off the establishment of interconnection projects between the two countries. The deal was signed in January 2022 and is part of Iraq’s efforts to reduce its energy dependence on Iran and increase the stability of its electrical network.

United Arab Emirates

Wednesday, 15 June–The UAE’s Ministry of Economy halted all exports and re-exports of Indian wheat for four months amid the global food crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The Ministry also added that India approved wheat exports to the Emirates for domestic consumption only, despite New Delhi’s ban on wheat exports in May 2022.​​

The EU Corner

Monday, 13 June‒The European Union (EU) Special Envoy for Afghanistan, Tomas Niklasson, paid an official visit to Riyadh, where he was received by the Saudi Minister for Foreign Affairs and Climate Envoy, Adel Al-Jubeir. The EU Ambassador held separate meetings with the Saudi Minister of Islamic Affairs, Abdullatif bin Abdulaziz Al-Sheikh, and with the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s Assistant Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan, Tarig Ali Bakheet, to discuss the regional situation, as well as cooperation in human rights protection and religious tolerance.

 

Thursday, 16 June‒The European Parliament’s Delegation for relations with the Arab Peninsula (DARP), chaired by Hannah Neumann, organised a working lunch with the Saudi Shura Council, to review EU-Saudi Arabia relations and areas of cooperation to address regional and international challenges.

 

Friday, 10 June‒The Deputy Secretary General and Political Director of the European External Action Service (EEAS), Enrique Mora, continued his visit to the Arab Gulf, moving from Oman to Saudi Arabia. In Riyadh, he met with the Saudi Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Waleed Abdulkarim El-Khereiji, and with the Saudi Minister for Foreign Affairs and Climate Envoy, Adel Al-Jubeir, to discuss EU-Saudi common challenges and ways to address them.

Key Official Visits

Thursday, 9 June–Israel’s Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett, travelled to Abu Dhabi, where he met with the UAE’s President and Abu Dhabi’s Ruler, Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan. They discussed Emirati-Israeli economic relations, the Iranian nuclear file and regional security cooperation.

 

Thursday, 9 June–London hosted talks between Kuwait’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Majdy Al-Thafeiri, and the UK’s Minister of State for Europe and North America, James Cleverly, to discuss bilateral cooperation.

 

Thursday, 9 June–The UAE’s Economy Minister, Abdullah bin Touq Al-Marri, announced that the Emirates aim to increase trade with Morocco by nearly nine times — from €760 million (EUR) to €6.7 billion (EUR) — within 10 years. The announcement was made during Al-Marri’s visit to Rabat, where he met with his Moroccan counterpart, Nadia Fattah Alaoui. The two ministers also discussed a trilateral deal between Morocco, the UAE and Israel to expand trade relations.

 

Thursday, 9 June–Kuwait’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Majdy Al-Thafeiri, and the UK’s Minister of State for Europe and North America, James Cleverly, discussed bilateral cooperation.

Monday, 13 June—During his visit to Madrid, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, met with his Spanish counterpart, Jose Manuel Albares, and King Felipe VI of Spain to discuss ways to strengthen Saudi-Spanish relations and cooperation.

Wednesday, 14 June–The UAE’s Minister of Climate Change and Environment, Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, led an Emirati business delegation to the Netherlands on the occasion of the Greentech Week, an international event dedicated to agri-tech and food security. During the visit, the UAE and the Netherlands agreed to cooperate on food security and exchange knowledge through joint research and development projects, as well as to increase agribusiness trade.

 

Wednesday, 15 June–Venezuelan President, Nicolas Maduro, travelled to Kuwait and Qatar during a regional tour that included visits to Turkey, Algeria and Iran. In Kuwait, President Maduro met with Kuwait’s Prime Minister, Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Sabah, to discuss cooperation within the OPEC framework, the Palestinian issue, and agreed to establish a Joint Commission to develop partnership in energy, agriculture, tourism and commerce. In Doha, President Maduro met with Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani to review strategic cooperation on energy and global security developments.

 

Wednesday, 15 June–Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, met with Senegalese President, Macky Sall, in Dakar. The talks focused on bilateral cooperation in countering terrorism and opportunities to boost economic relations.

 

Wednesday, 15 June–US President, Joe Biden, plans his first official visit to Saudi Arabia on 15-16 July 2022. During the trip, he is expected to participate in a GCC Summit in Jeddah, which will also include Egypt, Jordan and Iraq (GCC+3). The talks will cover Saudi-US efforts to end the Yemen crisis, the Iranian nuclear file as well as regional economic and security cooperation.

 

Thursday, 16 June–Russia kicked off the 2022 St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, a three-days event that will cover global economic and business issues. Attendees include Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister, Abdulaziz bin Salman Al-Saud, the UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Trade, Thani bin Ahmed Al-Zeyoudi, as well as representatives of Qatar’s Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

 

Thursday, 16 June–The UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Shakhbut bin Nahyan Al-Nahyan, travelled to Tunis, where he met with Tunisian Premier, Najla Bouden, and Tunisian Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Finance, Industries, Energy, Agriculture and Transports. They discussed cooperation in desalination projects and in the sectors of renewable energies, infrastructure and industry.