The Euro-Gulf Monitor

14 - 20 January 2022

by

Arnold Koka & Veronica Stigliani

5 Top Points

  1. Yemen’s Houthi militia claimed a drone attack on Abu Dhabi.

  2. EU officials and GCC Secretary General discussed boosting EU-GCC cooperation.

  3. Three Iranian diplomats arrived to Jeddah as Tehran’s OIC representative office reopened after six years.

  4. Oman and the British energy company BP PLC will cooperate on green hydrogen projects.

  5. UAE inked a €3 billion deal to acquire missile defence system from South Korea during South Korean President’s tour to the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

‘Round and About the Gulf

Kingdom of Bahrain

Wednesday, 19 January–Aluminium Bahrain (Alba), one of the world’s largest aluminium smelters, signed a memorandum of understanding with Japanese Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. The two companies will cooperate in reducing Alba’s carbon emissions as part of Manama’s wider aim to expand sustainable technologies in the Kingdom.

State of Kuwait

Friday, 14 January–Kuwait received the final war reparation payment from Iraq, through an instalment of €567.7 million (EUR), a few days before the anniversary of the beginning of the Gulf War. The disbursement totalling €46.1 billion (EUR) was established by the United Nations Compensation Committee in 1991 as a result of Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait.

Sultanate of Oman

Monday, 17 January–Oman signed a strategic partnership agreement with British energy giant, BP PLC, for the development of renewable energy and green hydrogen in the Sultanate by 2030. The cooperation will mainly focus on training the local workforce, developing projects and collecting data in the energy sector. The deal came five days after the signing of the UK-Oman Sovereign Investment Partnership.

State of Qatar

Wednesday, 19 January–Qatar’s Shura Council and the Turkish Grand National Assembly will boost coordination in parliamentary affairs and positions assumed on international and regional events. The parliamentary cooperation deal was signed during the visit of the Turkish Parliament’s Speaker, Mustafa Sentop, to Doha, where he met with Qatar’s Emir, Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Saturday, 15 January–Saudi Arabia hosted the ‘Arab Gulf Security 3’, the 2022 edition of the joint tactical exercise of all six GCC countries’ security forces aimed at enhancing their coordination and interoperability in threat scenarios.

 

Sunday, 16 January–Three Iranian diplomats arrived to Jeddah as Tehran’s representative office at the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) was reopened after six years. The office had been closed since 2016 following the diplomatic rift between the two countries.

United Arab Emirates

Monday, 17 January–Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi militias claimed a drone and ballistic and cruise missile attack targeting three oil tankers and Abu Dhabi’s airport, killing three people. All six GCC countries condemned the attack as did the European Union. The US President, Joe Biden, announced Washington will consider the re-designation of the Houthi militia as a terrorist organisation. Israel also offered security and intelligence support to the UAE.

Wednesday, 19 January–The Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar), the government-owned renewable energy company, signed deals for cooperation in green hydrogen projects with four energy companies—French Engie, Fertiglobe, TotalEnergies and German Siemens. Engie and Fertiglobe will help with the development of the UAE’s new 200 megawatt green hydrogen plant. The collaboration with TotalEnergies and Siemens will focus on sustainable aviation fuel.

The EU Corner

Sunday, 16 January–The Head of the EU Mission to Kuwait, Cristian Tudor, met with Hamad Rashid Al-Marri, Kuwait’s Assistant Foreign Minister for GCC Affairs. The meeting came before the official visit of the GCC Secretary General to Brussels, and aimed at reaffirming EU-GCC commitments.

 

Monday, 17 January–The Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Nayef Al-Hajraf, and the GCC Chief Negotiator, Abdulrahman Al-Harbi, visited Brussels for talks with EU officials. During the visit, Secretary General Al-Hajraf met with the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, and with several EU Commissioners to discuss ways to boost EU-GCC cooperation in various fields. In particular, Secretary General held talks with EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Yilva Johansson, with EU Commissioner for Budget and Administration, Johannes Hahn, and with EU Commissioner for Trade, Valdis Dombrovskis.

 

Monday, 17 January–The Head of the EU Mission to Saudi Arabia, Patrick Simonnet, and the Saudi Deputy Minister for Multilateral International Affairs, Abdulrahman Al-Rassi, discussed EU-Saudi relations in the context of the regional situation and ways to enhance cooperation to address international challenges.

 

Wednesday, 19 January–The Ambassador of Qatar to the EU, Abdulaziz bin Ahmed Al-Malki, met with the EU Special Envoy for Afghanistan, Thomas Nicholson, to review EU-Qatar cooperation in addressing the situation in Afghanistan. Special Envoy Nicholson praised Qatar for its role during the crisis and expressed the EU’s continued desire to collaborate with Doha on the dossier.

Key Official Visits

Saturday, 15 January–South Korean President, Moon Jae-in, kicked off an eight-day tour of the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. In the Emirates, President Moon met with the UAE’s Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, and signed a €3 billion (EUR) deal for the sale of a mid-range surface-to-air missile defence system to the UAE. In Riyadh, the South Korean President met with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman Al-Saud, signing several cooperation deals on renewable energy, infrastructure and digitalisation. He also discussed prospects of a GCC-South Korean free trade agreement with GCC Secretary General, Nayef Al-Hajraf.

 

Monday, 17 January—Qatar’s Foreign Minister, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman, received the UN envoy to Syria, Geir Pedersen, during his visit to Doha, to discuss the Syrian crisis.

 

Wednesday 19 January–Qatar’s Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, met with Crown Prince of Kuwait, Mishaal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. They discussed bilateral cooperation and developments in the region. Qatar’s Foreign Minister delivered a written message  from Qatar’s Emir to his Kuwaiti counterpart.

 

Wednesday 19 January–The US Special Envoy to Yemen, Tim Lenderking, met with GCC Secretary General, Nayef Falah Mubarak Al-Hajraf, in Riyadh. They discussed developments in Yemen and international coordination to resolve the crisis.

 

Thursday, 20 January–Jordan’s Interior Minister, Mazin Abdellah Hilal Al-Farrayeh, travelled to Doha, where he was received by Qatar’s Prime Minister, Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al-Thani. They discussed Jordanian-Qatari relations, and cooperation in the security area.