The Euro-Gulf Monitor

16 - 22 July 2021

by Brazilian Navy Retired Captain Leonardo Mattos and Melissa Rossi*

by

Arnold Koka & Veronica Stigliani

5 Top Points

  1. Kuwait allocated $65 billion (USD) to strategic infrastructure projects in 2021-22.

  2. The UAE purchased a drone security system for Expo 2020 from Israel.

  3. Qatar’s Foreign Minister discussed climate change and regional issues with US officials in Washington.

  4. Saudi Arabia will ban unvaccinated citizens from public places, starting from 1 August 2021.

  5. The EU and Saudi Arabia discussed energy transition, digital transformation and environment.

‘Round and About the Gulf

Kingdom of Bahrain

Sunday, 18 July–The Bahrain Telecommunication Company (Batelco), the Kingdom’s main telecom company, announced its expansion into the fin-tech sector, after obtaining the license from the Central Bank of Bahrain. The move comes as part of Bahrain’s plans to digitalise its economy and enhance its financial sector within the framework of its Economic Vision 2030.

State of Kuwait

Wednesday, 21 July–Kuwait allocated $65 billion (USD) for 19 strategic infrastructure projects during the 2021-22 fiscal year. The plan consists of 14 major public projects and 5 that will be the result of joint public-private partnerships, as the country aims to enhance its private sector and diversify its economy. The projects will include an expansion of Kuwait’s airport, the rail network with neighbouring countries, the Silk City and island developments.

Sultanate of Oman

Monday, 19 July–The German energy company, Uniper, inked a deal with Hyport, the green energy unit of Oman’s national oil company OQ, to produce green hydrogen and ammonia in the Sultanate. The first stage of the partnership provisions the development of a green hydrogen facility that will become active in 2026.

State of Qatar

Friday, 16 July–Qatar’s Ambassador to Greece, Abdulaziz Ali Al-Naama, met with Greek Minister of Agricultural Development and Food, Spilios Livanos, to discuss enhancing collaboration in the agri-food sector and boosting bilateral trade to meet Qatar’s agricultural products and food demand.

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Tuesday, 20 July–Saudi Arabia will ban all unvaccinated citizens and residents from public places, such as restaurants, malls and cafes, effective from 1 August 2021. The move provisions additional restrictions to accessing education facilities if not vaccinated. 

United Arab Emirates

Sunday, 18 July–The Israeli drone technology company, Airobotics, will provide its drones to the UAE for security services during Expo 2020. The company provided the Emirates an unmanned aerial system named Drone Box, which will assist Dubai’s police in reducing response time during criminal and traffic emergencies from 4.4 minutes to 1 minute, enhancing operational efficiency.

 

Sunday, 18 July—OPEC+ Ministers reached an agreement to gradually increase oil production by 400,000 barrels a day every month starting from August and raise the production baselines of Iraq, Kuwait, Russia, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The EU Corner

Sunday, 18 July–The Head of the EU Delegation to Saudi Arabia, Patrick Simonnet, presented the current state of EU-Saudi relations during a public hearing held at the EU office in Riyadh. Ambassador Simonnet highlighted the common goals of the EU Green Deal Initiative and the Saudi Vision 2030, particularly concerning environmental protection, energy transition and digital transformation. The EU representative confirmed the commitment to continue developing EU-Saudi partnership in several fields, including economy, security, health and tourism.

 

Saturday, 17 July–Angelos Lenos, the Political Officer at the EU Delegation to Bahrain, Oman and Saudi Arabia, held a meeting with Ali Ahmed Al-Derazi, the Chairman of the National Institution for Human Rights (NIHR), in Manama. The two sides discussed several cases of human rights violations, exploring the role of NIHR in addressing them and reviewed ways to improve EU-Bahrain coordination in the protection of unalienable rights. 

Key Official Visits

Friday, 16 July–Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, met with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, in Uzbekistan. The meeting was held on the sidelines of an international conference titled “Central and South Asia: Regional Connectivity, Challenges, and Opportunities” held in Tashkent. The two sides discussed Sino-Saudi relations, cooperation in energy, health, finance as well as the Afghan peace process and the Iranian Nuclear Deal.

Monday, 19 July–Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, met with Saudi  Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman Al-Saud, in Riyadh. They discussed strategic cooperation between the UAE and Saudi Arabia, focusing on aspects of regional and international stability. The meeting came after the countries reached a deal over oil production quotas during an OPEC+ summit.

Tuesday, 20 July–Qatar’s Foreign Minister, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, met with US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, and US National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, in Washington. The Qatari Minister and Kerry discussed bilateral cooperation on climate issues and Doha’s hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup within sustainable standards. The talks with Jake Sullivan focused on developments in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Palestine and Syria.