The Euro-Gulf Monitor

17 – 23 September 2021

by

Arnold Koka & Veronica Stigliani

5 Top Points

  1. Saudi Arabia’s King and Qatar’s Emir adressed the 76th UN General Assembly (UNGA).

  2. Talks between Iran, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and other regional actors as well as the EU and the GCC were held on the UNGA sidelines.

  3. Kuwait announced plans to restructure its ministerial institutions starting from 2022.

  4. The UAE and India eye a free trade agreement and boost bilateral trade to $100 billion (USD) in five years.

  5. Oman’s energy company OQ weighs a sale of its German chemical subsidiary valued at $3 billion (USD).

‘Round and About the Gulf

Kingdom of Bahrain

Tuesday, 21 September–The British energy company, Petrofac, was granted a contract for a gas distribution network project by Bahrain’s Tatweer Petroleum. Petrofact will cover the engineering, procurement and construction of high-pressure gas pipelines and fibre optic cabling.

State of Kuwait

Sunday, 19 September–Kuwait’s government prepared a roadmap for an institutional transformation that will begin in 2022, lasting up to four years. As part of the plan, the country’s Ministries of Electricity, Water and Oil will be united in the Ministry of Energy, and the Ministry of Information will be dismantled and new Ministries will be established, including for: Economy and Trade; Communications and Information Technology; as well as Youth, Culture and Tourism.

Sultanate of Oman

Wednesday, 22 August–The state-owned energy company, OQ, reportedly started considering the sale of its German chemical subsidiary, OQ Chemicals, formerly known as OXEA, valued at about $3 billion (USD). The company is the second largest manufacturer of oxo derivatives in the world.

State of Qatar

Wednesday, 22 September–Qatar dispatched 3.5 tons of urgent medical aid to Tehran, in the fifth shipment provided by the Qatar Fund for Development to Iran since the start of the pandemic.

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Thursday, 23 September–Saudi Arabia celebrated its 91st National Day. The anniversary commemorates the unification of the Hejaz and Nejd Kingdoms by the country’s first ruler, King Abdulaziz Ibn Saud.

United Arab Emirates

Tuesday, 21 September–Dubai hosted a three-day international event titled “Gastech Conference,” dedicated to the sector of gas, hydrogen and energy. The conference hosted 15,000 experts, public and private representatives, including Qatar’s Energy Minister, Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, and Turkish Deputy Energy Minister, Alparslan Bayraktar.

The EU Corner

 

Sunday, 19 September‒The Saudi Minister for Foreign Affairs, Adel Al-Jubeir, held talks with the Ambassadors of the EU and its member states in Riyadh. The meeting, aimed at discussing issues of common concern, regional situation as well as Saudi-EU relations and cooperation.

 

Monday, 20 September‒The EU condemned the trial and public execution of nine persons by the Houthis in Yemen and highlighted its efforts to achieve universal abolition of the death penalty, in line with the EU Action Plan for Human Rights and Democracy (2020-2024).

 

Wednesday, 22 September‒The EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, met with members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York. The talks focused on ways to strengthen EU-GCC cooperation, as well as on the organisation of the 2022 EU-GCC Joint Council. Borrell also met with Iran’s Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, discussing the resumption of nuclear talks.

 

Wednesday, 22 September‒The newly-appointed Kuwaiti Assistant Foreign Minister for Europe Affairs, Naser Abdullah Al-Hayen, organised a meeting with EU Ambassadors, including the Head of the EU Delegation to Kuwait, Cristian Tudor. The attendees discussed the current state of EU-Kuwait relations and ways to boost cooperation.

 

Wednesday, 22 September—Delegation of Members of the European Parliament, led by Marc Tarabella (S&D Group), visited Qatar, where they met with the Head of National Human Rights Committee (NHRC), Ali bin Smaikh Al-Marri, the Secretary-General of Foreign Ministry, Ahmed bin Hassan Al-Hammadi, and the Minister of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs, Yousef bin Mohammed Al-Othman Fakhroo.

Key Official Visits

Friday, 17 September–A trilateral meeting was held between Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman Al-Saud, and the UAE’s National Security Advisor, Tahnoun Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, in an undisclosed location on the Red Sea. The discussions focused on cooperation in economy, trade, investment and GCC stability.

Sunday, 19 September–The UN and US Special Envoys to Yemen, Hans Grundberg and Timothy Lenderking, held separate talks with Oman’s Foreign Minister, Badr bin Hamad Al-Busaidi, in Muscat. The discussions covered humanitarian aid and efforts to reach a permanent ceasefire. On 22 September, US Special Envoy Lenderking visited Saudi Arabia, where he met with the Kingdom’s Deputy Defence Minister, Khalid bin Salman Al-Saud, and Yemeni Parliament Speaker, Sultan Al-Barakani.

Tuesday, 21 September–Senior GCC countries’ officials attended the 76th UN General Assembly. Speeches were delivered by Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, who called for international support in preventing Iran from reaching nuclear weapons, as well as by Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, who called for international engagement with the newly formed Taliban government in Afghanistan to avoid further polarisation and escalations of the crisis.

Tuesday, 21 September–Iran’s Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly with senior representatives from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, France, the Arab League, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, and the GCC. The sides discussed aspects of regional security, although specifics of the discussion remained undisclosed. Participants of the meeting also agreed to hold further consultations in Jordan in the future.

 

Wednesday, 22 September–The UAE and India began discussing a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), planning to increase bilateral trade to more than $100 billion (USD) in five years. The talks started as UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Trade, Thani Al-Zayoudi, met with Indian Commerce Minister, Piyush Goyal, in New Delhi.