The Euro-Gulf Monitor

18 - 24 November 2022

by Arnold Koka & Veronica Stigliani

5 Top Points

  1. The 2022 FIFA World Cup kicked off in Qatar.

  2. Bahrain hosted the 18th IISS Manama Dialogue.

  3. The UAE launched a ten-year national vision titled ‘We the UAE 2031.’

  4. Saudi Aramco inked deals worth €11 billion (EUR) to boost the Saudi manufacturing sector.

  5. Oman marked its 52nd National Day.

‘Round and About the Gulf

Kingdom of Bahrain

Friday, 18 November—The 18th IISS Manama Dialogue, the annual Middle East security summit, kicked off in Bahrain. The event’s theme ‘Rules and Competition in the Middle East’ focused on the developing geopolitics of energy, regional conflicts and new security partnerships in the Middle East. The event gathered high-level officials, including European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, Foreign Ministers of Finland, Norway and Greece, as well as Israel’s National Security Advisor, Eyal Hulata.

 

State of Kuwait

Friday, 18 November—Kuwait's Government agencies kicked off the implementation of an artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled action plan for the management of state facilities and infrastructure, including roads, airports and urban complexes. The plan will seek to implement AI solutions for infrastructure and disaster management over the next 5 to 8 years in a bid to increase the efficiency of the country's public sector.

 

Sultanate of Oman

Friday, 18 November—Oman celebrated its 52nd National Day. According to the national tradition, Oman’s Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al-Said pardoned 175 prisoners, including 65 foreign citizens.

 

Sunday, 20 November—Oman and Norway renewed their political consultation agreement amid wider discussions covering collaboration in renewable energy, climate change and green economy. The deal was signed during a visit of Norwegian Foreign Minister, Anniken Huitfeldt, to Muscat, where she met with her Omani counterpart, Badr Hamad Al-Busaidi.

 

State of Qatar

Sunday, 20 November—The FIFA World Cup 2022 kicked off at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al-Khor. More than 1.2 million supporters are expected to enter the country for the tournament, which will last until 18 December. The opening ceremony was attended by Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al-Saud, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, and by the Crown Prince of Dubai, Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, among others.

 

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Tuesday, 22 November—Saudi Aramco signed deals worth €11 billion (EUR) with 51 local and global manufacturers to boost the Kingdom’s manufacturing sector. The agreements aim to create about five thousand jobs and support the firm’s supply chain, while including the production of strategic commodities such as wellheads, drilling chemicals and switchgears. 

 

Tuesday, 22 November—The Royal Commission for Al-Ula (RCU) and the World Bank signed a strategic partnership to support the sustainable regeneration of the region and aid the Kingdom’s tourism sector. According to the agreement, the RCU and the World Bank will identify and develop heritage and tourism-focused small and medium enterprise operations in a bid to turn the area into a touristic, and investment hub. 

 

United Arab Emirates

Wednesday, 23 November—The UAE launched a ten-year national vision titled ‘We the UAE 2031’, which will focus on developing the country’s economy, society, environment and diplomacy. The plan seeks to boost the country’s role as a global economic hub, its engagement in peace diplomacy, as well as to advance the sectors of food security, energy, education, and human development. It also aims to increase the Emirates’ GDP to €816 billion (EUR) and its non-oil exports to €217 billion (EUR). 

EU Corner

Friday, 18 November—The EEAS Managing Director for Middle East and North Africa, Hélène Le Gal, toured Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. In Manama, the EU official met with Bahrain’s Undersecretary for Political Affairs, Abdulla bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa, Foreign Minister, Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani, and Yemen’s Foreign Minister, Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak. In Riyadh, Le Gal met with the former Head of Saudi Arabia's General Intelligence, Turki bin Faisal Al-Saud. The talks focused on EU-Gulf diplomatic relations, enhancing dialogue, and developments in Yemen.

 

Thursday, 24 November—The European Parliament adopted a resolution condemning Qatar’s criminalisation of the LGBTQ+ community, deploring the conditions of migrant workers in the country, urging Doha to compensate families of foreign workers who were injured or died during preparations for the FIFA World Cup. The resolution also urged for a national investigation over human rights abuses of migrant workers. 

Key Official Visits

Saturday, 19 November—Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister, Mohammed Bin Salman Al-Saud, attended the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Thailand. During the visit, the Saudi leader and Thailand’s Prime Minister, Prayut Chan-o-cha, signed deals to boost bilateral cooperation in energy, trade, tourism and climate change. On the sidelines of the summit, the Crown Prince also met with leaders of France, Indonesia, Singapore, and Brunei, reviewing economic and commercial ties. 

 

Tuesday, 22 November—The UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation,  Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, travelled to India, for a meeting with his Indian counterpart, Subramaniam Jaishanka. The talks focused on deepening cooperation in health and technology, as well as in global security issues.

 

Wednesday, 23 November—Iraq’s Prime Minister, Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani, travelled to Kuwait, where he met his Kuwaiti counterpart, Ahmad Nawaf Al-Sabah. The two leaders reviewed Kuwaiti-Iraqi relations, Middle Eastern developments and Baghdad’s role in the region.