The Euro-Gulf Monitor

16 - 22 September 2022

by Arnold Koka & Veronica Stigliani

5 Top Points

  1. Representatives of the GCC countries attended the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

  2. Bahrain and Israel began free trade agreement talks.

  3. The UAE and France will expand nuclear energy collaboration.

  4. EU-Saudi Arabia discussed the Middle East Peace Process and Arab Peace Initiative.

  5. Oman will ban import of plastic bags from 2023.

  1.  .حضر ممثلو دول مجلس التعاون الخليجي الدورة السابعة والسبعين للجمعية العامة للأمم المتحدة في نيويورك.

  2.  

  3. بدأت البحرين وإسرائيل محادثات اتفاقية التجارة الحرة.

  4.  .ستوسع الإمارات وفرنسا التعاون في مجال الطاقة النووية.

  5.  .ناقش الاتحاد الأوروبي والمملكة العربية السعودية عملية السلام في ا

  6. لشرق الأوسط ومبادرة السلام العربية.

  7.  

  8. .ستحظر عُمان استيراد الأكياس البلاستيكية اعتبارًا من عام 2023.

‘Round and About the Gulf

Kingdom of Bahrain

Monday, 19 September–Bahrain and Israel kicked off talks for reaching a free trade agreement. The deal seeks to expand economic cooperation within the framework of the Abraham Accords signed in 2020. The talks started in Manama, where Bahrain’s Economy Minister, Salman bin Khalifa Al-Khalifa, received his Israeli counterpart, Orna Barbivai.

State of Kuwait

Sunday, 18 September—The Kuwait Oil Company announced it plans to increase its natural gas production from 650 million to 1 billion cubic feet per day. The move comes amid rising energy demands, and follows the recent announcement of an increase in oil production to meet the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) commitment of 2.81 million barrels per day.

Sultanate of Oman

Tuesday, 20 September—Oman’s Minister of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion, Qais Yousef, announced that the country will ban the import of plastic bags from January 2023. The move follows the decision taken by Oman’s Environment Authority in January 2022, which banned single-use plastic shopping bags, in a bid to contribute to waste reduction and environmental protection.

State of Qatar

Wednesday, 21 September–The state-owned QatarEnergy and US energy giant, General Electric (GE), signed a deal to collaborate in developing a carbon capture roadmap for Qatar. The partnership will explore the use of hydrogen and ammonia in gas turbines to reduce emissions as well as the development of a world-scale carbon capture hub in the country. The move is part of Doha’s bid to reduce carbon emissions of its liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities by 35% by 2035.

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Wednesday, 21 September—Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman Al-Saud, mediated a successful prisoner swap between Ukraine and Russia. The exchange involved the release of citizens from the US, the UK, Sweden, Croatia and Morocco, who were captured by Russian troops. The British Prime Minister, Liz Truss, and US National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, praised Riyadh’s role in the negotiations.

United Arab Emirates

Friday, 16 September–The UAE and China announced they will lead a joint space mission to the moon in 2026. The Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre signed a deal with China National Space Administration, the first Emirati-Chinese space agreement, for future collaboration in rover missions.

 

Wednesday, 21 September–The UAE and France inked a deal to increase cooperation in the nuclear energy sector. The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) and the French Nuclear Cluster (CSFN) announced they will partner in order to enhance Emirati local manufacturing and supply of components, as well as skill-transfer aimed at bolstering the efficiency of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant. The partnership seeks to boost the two countries’ nuclear sectors and the global nuclear supply chain.

EU Corner

Tuesday, 20 September–The EU top diplomat, Josep Borrell, and Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, met on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. They discussed future steps to support the Middle East Peace Process and achieve a political solution for the Palestinian issue. The talks explored developments regarding the Arab Peace Initiative (API), which marked its 20th anniversary, and EU-Saudi collaboration in supporting regional peace.

Key Official Visits

Saturday, 17 September—The Saudi Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources. Bandar Ibrahim Alkhorayef, received Oman’s Minister of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion, Qais Bin Mohammed Al-Yousef, in Riyadh. They discussed strengthening industrial cooperation and exchanging experiences regarding legislation and services.

 

Monday, 19 September—Representatives of the GCC countries travelled to New York, to attend the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). The Session focused on food security and health, discussing policies to promote global economic and health recovery. On the sidelines, several other meetings took place, including ministerial meetings between the GCC states and China, the US, the UK, Egypt, Yemen, Jordan and Iraq.

 

Monday, 19 September‒Leaders of the GCC states travelled to London for the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II. The ceremony was attended by Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, Kuwait’s Crown Prince, Meshal Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, Oman’s Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al-Said, Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, Saudi Arabia’s Prince Turki bin Mohammed Al-Saud and the UAE’s President, Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.

 

Tuesday, 20 September—Kazakhstan’s Prime Minister, Alikhan Smailov, travelled to the UAE, where he was received by Emirati President, Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan. They discussed cooperation in mining, agriculture, energy, construction, food and logistics, and agreed to implement €900 million worth of bilateral investment projects.