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The Euro-Gulf Monitor

14 - 20 July 2023

by Elen'Alba Vitiello

5 Top Points

  1. The first GCC-Central Asia Summit took place in Jeddah.

  2. Qatar is set to build the world’s largest blue ammonia plant in Mesaieed Industrial City.

  3. Saudi Arabia purchased Turkish drones.

  4. The EU and Qatar held their 2nd expert level Senior Officials’ meeting in Brussels.

  5. Egypt, France, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United States met in Doha to discuss Lebanon’s situation.

‘Round and About the Gulf

Kingdom of Bahrain  

Saturday, 15 July–Bahrain officially became a dialogue partner in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), signed by Bahrain’s Ambassador to China, Mohammed Ghassan Mohammed Adnan Sheikho, and SCO’s Secretary General, Zhang Ming, in Shanghai.

 

Sunday, 16 July–Bahrain’s Minister of Oil and Environment, Special Envoy for Climate Affairs and CEO of the Supreme Council for the Environment (SCE), Mohammed bin Mubarak bin Daina, in collaboration with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), organised the Biodiversity, Climate Change and Nature-Based Solution workshop in Manama. It was attended by 16 MENA countries and focused on how to develop cooperation among these countries to achieve mutual agreement related to nature-based solutions, ahead of the Climate Summit COP28 to be held in the United Arab Emirates from 30 November to 23 December 2023.

 

Thursday, 20 July–Bahrain will host the second Arab International Cybersecurity Conference and Exhibition (AICS) on 6-8 December 2023 at the Exhibition World Bahrain. The second edition aims to provide a platform for cybersecurity professionals, policymakers, researchers, and industry leaders to exchange knowledge and insights on cybersecurity. 

State of Kuwait

Monday, 17 July–Kuwait’s Special Naval forces and the Royal British Marines concluded the three-week joint drills, which encompassed anti-terrorism training, maritime piracy combat, and ship inspection operations.

Monday, 17 July—Kuwait plans to launch a new sovereign wealth fund, the Ciyada Development Fund, to boost its economy, attract foreign investments and develop megaprojects.

Sultanate of Oman

Tuesday, 18 July–The CEO of Oman Oil Marketing Company, Tariq bin Mohammed Al-Junaidi, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the CEO of the Excellence Fuel Company, a real estate investment and development company based in Saudi Arabia, Youssef bin Masoud Al-Saedi. Oman Oil Marketing Company sought to provide services and products beyond refuelling in the retail operations, and to expand by adding 14 new stations in Saudi Arabia, for a total of 26 stations, by the end of 2023.

Wednesday, 19 July—Oman's Ministry of Interior announced the final list of 843 candidates, including 32 women, for the country's next Consultative Council election to be held in October 2023. The candidates have until 3 September 2023 to withdraw their candidacy. 

State of Qatar

Tuesday, 18 July–QatarEnergy Renewable Solutions and Qatar Fertiliser Company unveiled their plan to build the world’s largest blue ammonia plant in Mesaieed Industrial City. The ammonia plant will have an annual production capacity of about 1.2 million tonnes, and is set to start production in 2026.

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Sunday, 16 July—Saudi Arabia unveiled a plan to establish 59 logistics zones by 2030. Saudi Arabia's Minister of Transport and Logistics Services, Rumaih bin Mohammed Al-Rumaih, stated that, as part of its Vision 2030, the country's aim is to be ranked among the world’s top ten countries in the Logistics Performance Index. 

Monday, 17 July–Saudi Arabia’s energy company, Acwa Power, signed a preliminary agreement with Egypt’s New and Renewable Energy Authority to allocate land for a 10-gigawatt wind project in Sohag, Egypt. The project is expected to generate about 50.000 gigawatt of clean energy annually.

United Arab Emirates

Tuesday, 18 July–The United Arab Emirates (UAE) signed a $1.9 billion (about €1.6 million) deal with the state mining company of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Sakima, which has mining concessions in South Kivu and Miena, DCR, to construct more than 4 industrial mines. The agreement comes after the DRC signed a 25-year contract in 2022 with UAE firm, Primera Group, over export rights for some mined ores.

Tuesday, 18 July—The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) signed a 14-years supply agreement with Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL) for the export of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to India’s largest integrated and diversified energy company, India LNG, valued between $7 billion to $9 billion (about €6 to €8 billion). 

 

EU Corner

Friday, 14 July–The European Council extended the duration of its humanitarian exemption from the EU’s sanctions on Syria until 24 February 2024, which was introduced in February 2023 in view of the Syrian situation and the earthquakes that hit Türkiye and Syria.

 

Tuesday, 18 July–The European Union and Qatar held their 2nd expert level Senior Officials’ meeting in Brussels to consolidate bilateral cooperation. Based on the Cooperation Arrangement between the European External Action Service (EEAS) and Qatar signed on 7 March 2018, and building on the outcomes of the first Senior Officials’ meeting on 4 July 2019 and the second Political Consultations in Doha on 28 September 2022, experts from both sides exchanged views on issues of common interest, such as trade and investment, economic diversification, development cooperation, education, humanitarian assistance, counter-terrorism, mediation and conflict resolution.

 

Wednesday, 19 July–The European Union Ambassador to Kuwait and Qatar, Anne Koistinen, met with Kuwait’s Foreign Minister Assistant for GCC Affairs, Salem Ghassab Al-Zamanan, to further discuss EU-GCC ties and the key areas outlined in their Strategic Partnership.

Key Official Visits

Friday, 15 July–UAE’s President, Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, met with Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, in Abu Dhabi, to discuss shared interest in sustainable growth, and ways to further boost collaboration between the two countries.

 

Sunday, 16 July–Kuwait’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, Ahmad Fahad Al-Sabah, met with Chargé d’Affaires of the US Embassy in Kuwait, James Holtsnider, to discuss mutual relations and latest regional and international developments. The direct contracting policy of Kuwait’s Defence Ministry, was a key issue discussed in the meeting. 

 

Monday, 17 July–The 2nd Quintet meeting to discuss Lebanon’s situation took place in Doha. Representatives from Egypt, France, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United States discussed the urgent the need for Lebanon’s leadership to expedite presidential elections and implement imperative economic reforms. After the Doha talks on Lebanon, French Special Presidential Envoy for Lebanon, Jean-Yves Le Drian, met Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, in Jeddah, to discuss bilateral ties and means to intensify joint coordination for the Lebanese situation, amongst others.

 

Monday, 17 July– French Minister of the Armed Forces, Sebastien Lecornu, met with Qatar’s Emir, Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, and Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defence Affairs, Khalid bin Mohammed Al-Attiyah, in Doha. They discussed bilateral defence cooperation and ways to develop it.

 

Monday, 17 July–Turkiye’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, toured three Gulf countries—Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. On the sidelines of the meeting between the Turkish President and Saudi Arabia’s King, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, and Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman Al-Saud, Saudi Arabia’s Defence Ministry signed a contract with Turkish Defence Firm, Baykar, to acquire Turkish drones, among other agreeements. In Abu Dhabi, Erdogan met with UAE’s President, Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, witnessing the signing of 13 deals worth nearly $51 billion (about €45 billion). In Qatar, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of bilateral relations, he met with Qatar’s Emir, Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, and signed a joint statement that underlines strategic partnership in the political, diplomatic, economic, and commercial sectors. 

 

Monday, 17 July–Japan’s Prime Minister, Kishida Fumio, accompanied by his delegation, went on a Gulf tour centred on energy security and cooperation. He met with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman Al-Saud, in Jeddah. Saudi Arabia (KSA) and Japan agreed to establish the KSA-Japan Lighthouse Initiative for Clean Energy Cooperation. In Doha, on the sidelines of his meeting with Qatar’s Emir, Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, the Investment Promotion Agency Qatar (IPA Qatar) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) to further develop investment and trade between the two countries. In Abu Dhabi, Kishida Fumio met with UAE’s President, Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, and participated in the UAE-Japan Business Forum, where 23 agreements and Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) have been signed to bolster economic, trade, and investment ties in the energy, the industry, the space, and the technology sector, amongst others.

 

Tuesday, 18 July–Oman’s Foreign Minister, Badr bin Hamad Al-Busaidi, met with Iran’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, in Tehran. They discussed means of bilateral cooperation, ways to promote Omani and Iranian interests as well as the Iran Nuclear Deal.

 

Tuesday, 18 July–Kuwait’s Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs for European Affairs, Sadeq Marafi, met with Dutch Director General for Political Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Marcel De Vink, in The Hague, Netherlands, during the 7th Kuwaiti-Dutch political consultation. The two sides discussed bilateral ties and ways to enhance them, as well as the latest regional and international developments.

 

Wednesday, 19 July–Saudi Arabia’s Prime Minister, Mohammed bin Salman Al-Saud, received a phone call from Italian Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, reviewing bilateral relations and joint cooperation on several issues of common interest.

 

Wednesday, 19 July–Qatar’s Minister of State for Energy Affairs, Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi,  attended the 12th LNG Producer-Consumer Conference, organised by the International Energy Agency (IEA) and Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), in Tokyo, where officials from the United States, South Korea, and the European Union, as well as European Commission Director-General for Energy, Ditte Juul Jorgensen, gathered to discuss development and stability of the natural gas and LNG markets. 

 

Wednesday, 19 July–The 1st GCC-Central Asia Summit took place in Jeddah, gathering the six GCC states, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, and the five Central Asian countries, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan. During the summit, a Joint Action Plan for Strategic Dialogue and Cooperation from 2023 to 2027 was approved to ensure economic expansion, boost investments, and strengthen bilateral relations between the two regions.

 

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