The Euro-Gulf Monitor

19 - 25 November 2021

by

Arnold Koka & Veronica Stigliani

5 Top Points

  1. During Mohamed bin Zayed’s visit to Ankara, the UAE and Turkey deepened cooperation and Abu Dhabi launched an €8.9 billion fund to support its investments in Turkey.

  2. Bahrain launched a plan for strategic projects worth over €26 billion.

  3. Qatar and Oman inked several cooperation agreements during Sultan Haitham bin Tarik’s visit to Doha.

  4. EU Commission’s President, Ursula Von der Leyen, discussed Afghanistan with Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.

  5. Saudi Arabia and the EU discussed joint challenges in the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea.

‘Round and About the Gulf

Kingdom of Bahrain

Friday, 19 November–Bahrain hosted the 2021 IISS Manama Dialogue, the annual forum on Middle East security, gathering high-level officials, including: Foreign Ministers of Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Greece, Egypt, and Libya, the US Defence Secretary, Lloyd J. Austin, and National Security Advisers from the United Kingdom and Israel.

Wednesday, 24 November–Bahrain announced a €26.7 billion (EUR) worth plan for the creation of over twenty strategic projects. The projects span through the sectors of telecommunications, infrastructure, tourism, education, and health, including the creation of five cities on new islands, which will expand the Kingdom’s land area by over 60%. The strategy is part of the Kingdom’s Economic Recovery Plan, which aims to attract investment in the country and enhance domestic economy in the post-pandemic period, as well as of Bahrain’s Economic Vision 2030.

State of Kuwait

Tuesday, 23 November–Kuwait's Emir Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah reappointed Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Sabah as Prime Minister, tasking him with forming a new Government. The Prime Minister resigned in early November, for the second time this year.

Sultanate of Oman

Monday, 22 November–Oman’s Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion launched the ‘Made in Oman’ campaign. The project seeks to enhance activities of local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and support the Sultanate’s economy through the purchase of locally-made products.

State of Qatar

Wednesday, 24 November–Qatar’s Cabinet approved the draft law for social security and military retirement. The law includes the raise of the minimum social pension and an expansion of insurance coverages for workers in the country.

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Wednesday, 24 November–The Spanish construction company, Acciona, secured a €612 million (EUR) contract for the construction of a desalination plant in Riyadh and Qassim. The plant will be operating from 2024 and will supply water to two million people in the Kingdom.

United Arab Emirates

Wednesday, 24 November–The UAE established a €8.9 billion (EUR) fund to support strategic investment in Turkey. The announcement came during the visit of Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, to Ankara, where he met with Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Six partnership agreements were also signed during the visit, including in the sectors of energy, technology, infrastructure, health and banking.

Thursday, 25 November—The UAE Inspector General of the Ministry of Interior, Major General Ahmed Nasser Al-Raisi, was elected as President of the International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL) for a four-year term.

The EU Corner

Thursday, 18 November‒The President of the European Commission, Ursula Von der Leyen, had a phone call with the Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, to discuss EU-Qatar relations, with a specific focus on the ongoing situation in Afghanistan.

 

Friday, 19 November‒On the sidelines of the IISS Manama Dialogue, the Head of the EU Delegation to Saudi Arabia, Oman and Bahrain, Patrick Simmonet, and Oman’s Undersecretary for Diplomatic Affairs, Khalifa Al-Harthy, discussed EU-Oman cooperation on regional issues. Simmonet also held two separate meetings with the Foreign Minister of Bahrain, Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani, and the Foreign Minister of Greece, Nikos Dendias, to review EU-GCC partnership.

 

Sunday, 22 November‒The EU Special Representative for the Horn of Africa, Annette Weber, visited Saudi Arabia to discuss EU-Saudi cooperation to address challenges in the Horn of Africa and the in the Red Sea. Weber met with the Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Adel Al-Jubeir, Minister of State for African Affairs, Ahmed Abdul Aziz Kattan, and the General Supervisor of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center, Abdullah Al-Rabeeah.

Key Official Visits

Sunday, 21 November–The United Kingdom Minister of State for Investment, Gerald Grimston, travelled to Doha to discuss British-Qatari economic ties and opportunities to enhance bilateral investments. He met with his Qatari counterpart, Ali bin Ahmed Al-Kuwari, and with Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani.

Tuesday, 23 November–Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa visited Jordan, where he was welcomed by King Abdullah II. The two leaders discussed bilateral cooperation in countering terrorism, support to a two-state solution in Palestine and developments in Syria.

Tuesday, 23 November–The United States Special Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, travelled to the UAE, where he attended the signing of the ‘Project Prosperity’ deal between Jordan and Israel. The agreement provisions the exchange of solar energy and desalinated water between Jordan and Israel, with the deal being facilitated by the UAE within the wider framework of the Abraham Accords.

 

Wednesday, 24 November–Oman’s Sultan Haitham bin Tarik Al-Said met with Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani in Doha. The two leaders signed six memoranda of understanding on military cooperation, investment, tourism, taxation, transports and labour.

 

Wednesday, 24 November–The Russia-Islamic World Group of Strategic Vision held a meeting in Jeddah. The event, titled ‘Russia - Islamic World: Dialogue and Cooperation Prospects,’ included over thirty public figures from twenty-seven countries, with discussions covering interfaith dialogue, regional stability, the Palestinian issue and economic development. Russian President, Vladimir Putin, conveyed a virtual message, highlighting Moscow’s willingness to strengthen ties with the Islamic world on all levels.