The Euro-Gulf Monitor
20 - 25 September 2020
‘Round and About the Gulf
Kingdom of Bahrain
Wednesday, 23 September–A high-level Israeli delegation landed in Bahrain in order to engage in a number of deals regarding fields of cooperation included in the Abraham Accord, such as tourism, technology, telecommunications, direct flights, energy and culture, as well as in opening reciprocal embassies. The delegation arrived a day after Israeli Prime Minister, Benyamin Netanyahu, and Bahraini Crown Prince, Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, held a phone call underlining their willingness to engage in bilateral agreements in economy, tourism, and technology, as well as the need for regional peace.
State of Kuwait
Wednesday, 23 September–Kuwait’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Acting Minister of Defence, Ahmad Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah, conveyed a message to Qatar’s Emir, Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, from Kuwaiti Crown Prince, Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, related to bilateral and regional issues. Minister Al-Sabah also held a meeting with his Qatari counterpart, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani.
Sultanate of Oman
Tuesday, 22 September–Oman’s Sultanate’s Ministry of Transport, Communications and Information Technology led a cybersecurity drill for Arab countries and members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), focused on cross-border cooperation amid the threats to institutions and governments working remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
State of Qatar
Friday, 25 September–Qatar and the US discussed counter-terrorism cooperation amid the framework of the third Strategic Qatar-US Dialogue, covering collaboration in enhancing aviation security and the ability to halt financial support to terrorist organisations and activities, as well as preparations regarding the FIFA World Cup to be held in Qatar in 2022.
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Wednesday, 23 September–Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Energy and the King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), provisioning the establishment of the Joint Center for Research on Carbon Capture, Storage and Use Technologies. The new center will serve as a basis for enhancing scientific knowledge regarding carbon emissions, assisting the Kingdom’s efforts in reducing its emissions as part of the Vision 2030 commitments.
United Arab Emirates
Friday, 25 September–The UAE implemented a decree by the country’s President, Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, mandating equal pay in the country for men and women in the private sector.
The EU Corner
Sunday, 20 September–The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, rejected the legitimacy of the US call to the UN for reimposing sanctions on Iran as part of the mechanism provisioned by the Join Comprehensive Plan of Actions (JCPOA). The US had previously announced reimposition of all sanctions imposed before the 2015 deal, following the ending of the arms embargo on Iran. The statement was followed by a joint declaration by the French, German and British Ministers of Foreign Affairs, who rejected the US demand to snap-back sanctions on Iran.
Wednesday, 23 September–The Head of the EU Delegation to Saudi Arabia, Patrick Simmonet, and President of the Saudi Human Rights Commission, Awwad Al-Awwad, discussed aspects of the EU-Saudi cooperation in the fields of human rights and new initiatives within the framework of Vision 2030 and the Kingdom’s commitments in the field, in Riyadh.
Thursday, 24 September—The European Parliament’s Delegation for relations with Israel chaired a meeting between Israeli Ambassador to the EU, Aharon Leshno-Yaar, the UAE Ambassador to Belgium, Mohamed Issa Hamad Abushahab, and Bahrain’s Ambassador to Belgium, Bahia Jawad Al Jishi. They discussed the regional relevance of the Abraham Accord as well as their commitment in developing concrete collaboration in various fields between their countries. Chairman to the EU Delegation for relations with Israel, Antonio López-Istúriz, expressed the EU’s keenness to actively engage in reaching peace in the Middle East and a two-state solutions in the Israeli-Palestinian issue.
Key Official Visits
Friday, 18 September—Kuwait’s Crown Prince and Deputy Emir, Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, accepted on behalf of the Emir, Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the US Legion of Merit, Degree Chief Commander, awarded by US President Donald Trump in Washington DC. After the ceremony, President Trump expressed his hope for a normalisation deal between Israel and Kuwait.
Sunday, 20 September—The GCC Secretary General, Nayef Falaj Al-Hajraf, discussed the ongoing Gulf Crisis in a meeting in Doha with Qatar’s Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani. In early September Secretary Al-Hajraf also discussed the crisis and GCC unity with Foreign Ministers of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, amid a voiced enhancing diplomatic dynamic to put an end to the crisis in the region.
Thursday, 24 September—Leaders of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Qatar addressed the UN General Assembly. Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa reiterated the country’s commitment for the Palestinian issue and promotion of the Arab Peace Initiative, defining the normalisation deal with Israel as a step towards regional peace. Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud underlined the role of the Saudi G20 presidency in coordinating the international response to COVID-19, and denounced Iran’s endangering of regional stability through its activities and by supporting the Houthis in Yemen. Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani called on the international community to confront the Israeli-Palestinian issue and expressed Qatar’s openness towards a resolution of the Gulf crisis. Oman, Kuwait and the UAE will hold their speeches next week.