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The Euro-Gulf Monitor

21 - 27 April 2023

by Veronica Stigliani & Elen'Alba Vitiello

5 Top Points

  1. The EU reaffirmed its commitment to strengthen relations with the Gulf and appoint its first Special Representative for the Gulf.

  2. Gulf and European officials discussed the crisis in Sudan.

  3. Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE participated in African Union Commission’s urgent special ministerial meeting on the Sudan crisis.

  4. Iran’s Foreign Minister met with his Omani counterpart in Muscat.

  5. Bahrain and the UK discussed cooperation in security, investment and banking.

‘Round and About the Gulf

Kingdom of Bahrain  

Tuesday, 25 April–Bahrain’s Telecommunications and Regulatory Authority (TRA) will host the Global 6G Summit on 3 and 4 May 2023, with Forum Global, to discuss the next generation of mobile technology. Panel discussions will involve experts on cybersecurity, research and sustainability from Bahrain, the UAE, Jordan, Thailand, China, Europe, UK, Canada, amongst other countries.


Tuesday, 25 April–Bahrain reported a nearly 4.1% increase in its real GDP in the fourth quarter of 2022, driven by a growth of 4.9% in the non-oil sector, as a result of its economic diversification initiatives. The Financial Corporations sector grew by 8.2%, the Trade sector increased by 6.6%, and the Real Estate and Business Activities sector posted a growth rate of 6%.


Tuesday, 25 April–Bahrain’s King Hamad Global Centre for Peaceful Coexistence will hold a ceremony to inaugurate “Bahrain Declaration” in Egypt, aiming to promote religious freedom, interfaith dialogue, peaceful coexistence and human diversity, as well as combat terrorism, extremism, violence and hatred. It has already launched programmes, initiatives and courses with international universities, including Sapienza, Oxford, and Cambridge.

State of Kuwait

Saturday, 22 April—Kuwait evacuated its citizens from Sudan via the city of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia amid continued clashes between the the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

Sultanate of Oman

Saturday, 22 April–Oman’s Sultan, Haitham bin Tariq Al-Said, held a phone call with Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The two leaders discussed regional and international issues of common concern and reviewed bilateral relations, expressing their willingness to develop them in several fields.

State of Qatar

Friday, 21 April–Qatar’s Minister of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mohammed bin Abdulaziz Al-Khulaifi, participated in the online special ministerial meeting on the Sudan situation, organised by the African Union’s Commission. He stressed Qatar’s support to the international community by providing aid and diplomatic solutions. The meeting was attended by EU’s High Representative, Josep Borrell, US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, UK’s Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, James Cleverly, UN Secretary General, António Guterres, as well as Saudi Arabia’s and the United Arab Emirates’ representatives, among others.

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Friday, 21 April–Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister, Mohammed bin SalmanAl-Saud, held a phone call with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. The two leaders reviewed relations and explored ways to enhance them across various sectors. They also discussedOPEC+ coordination.  


Tuesday, 25 April—India is considering connecting its power grid with Saudi Arabia and the UAE via undersea cables to boost its energy security. Once approved by the Cabinet, bilateral agreements will be signed with Saudi Arabia and the UAE. While the agreement with the UAE is in the final stages, the one with Saudi Arabia is currently being reviewed.

United Arab Emirates

Friday, 21 April–The UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, discussed the latest developments in Sudan in a phone call with Netherlands’ Minister of Foreign Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister, Wopke Hoekstra. The two sides explored ways to contain the ongoing crisis in the African country, stressing that the protection of civilians and foreign communities represents a high priority.


Wednesday, 26 April–The UAE Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, Mohammed bin RashidAl-Maktoum, announced that the UAE will embark on a second attempt to land a rover on the Moon. The announcement came after Japan's Hakuto-R Mission 1 spacecraft, carrying the Rashid rover, probably crashed as it tried to land on the lunar surface. Rashid 1 was the first mission under the UAE's home-grown Moon exploration programme, which took a team of 11 engineers six years to build. No date was announced for the second attempt.

EU Corner

Monday, 24 April–The European Council sanctioned individuals and entities in Iran and Syria over human rights violations and drug trafficking. The Iranian sanctions targeted eight individuals, including Iranian Parliamentarians, members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the IRCG Cooperative Foundation, and one entity, the Iranian mobile service provider, Ariantel. The Syrian designations included 25 individuals and eight entities, notably members of the Assad family, their associates, and persons affiliated with the Syrian army and military intelligence, who are responsible for drug trafficking and funding the Syrian regime. The sanctions consist of an assets freeze, a travel ban to the EU and an EU-wide prohibition on providing them with funds.


Monday, 24 April–The European Union’s Foreign Ministers met in Luxembourg to discuss the developments in Sudan and the EU relations with China. The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, reiterated EU’s efforts to evacuate European citizens and EU Delegation’s staff from Sudan. He added that his meeting with China will be rescheduled and will focus on China’s foreign policy, as well as its role in the Russian-Ukrainian war, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council.


Tuesday, 25 April–The European Union reiterated its intention to boost strategic cooperation with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and announced that it is working on the appointment of the first EU Special Representative for the Gulf. EU members are expected to discuss the possible nomination of Luigi Di Maio during a meeting in Brussels.


Tuesday, 25 April–Saudi Ambassador to the European Union, Haifa bint Abdurrahman Al-Jedea, presented her credentials to President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and met with Fernando Andresen Guimaraes, the Diplomatic Advisor of the European Commission’s President, Ursula von der Leyen, to discuss areas of mutual interest, enhanced EU-Saudi collaboration, and regional cooperation between the GCC and the EU.


Wednesday, 26 April–The Discover Europe Travel Summit will gather tourism representatives from Austria, Germany, Ireland, and Switzerland in Dubai from 29 to 30 April to explore new opportunities for Euro-Gulf cooperation in the travel sector. Organised in partnership with the European Travel Commission, ahead of the region’s largest travel exhibition, the summit is set to attract at least 110 buyers specialising in the culture and luxury sectors of the GCC countries.

Key Official Visits


Saturday, 22 April–During the week, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, received phone calls from EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, Sweden’s Foreign Minister, Tobias Billström, UK Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly, Japan’s Foreign Minister, Yoshimasa Hayashi, among other officials, to discuss the ongoing crisis in Sudan, with an emphasis on the importance of stopping the military escalation between the conflicting parties and provide the necessary protection to civilians as Saudi Arabia assisted with evacuation of foreign nationals from Sudan via the port of Jeddah.


Monday, 24 April–UAE’s Minister of State, Khalifa Shaheen Al-Marar, met with Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriate Affairs, Riyad Al-Maliki, in New York, on the side-lines of the UN Security Council open debate on the situation in the Middle East and the Palestinian issue. The UAE reiterated that it will continue to support efforts to reduce escalation and protect the chances of implementing the two-state solution.


Monday, 24 April–UAE’s Minister of State, Khalifa Shaheen Al-Marar, and UAE’s Ambassador to the UN, Lana Nusseibeh, met with Special Envoy to Syria, Geir Pedersen, to discuss the Syrian crisis and ways to strengthen international efforts to resolve it. The UAE affirmed its commitment to supporting Syria’s security and stability, and achieving development for its people.


Tuesday, 25 April–Bahrain’s Interior Minister, Rashid bin Abdullah Al-Khalifa, travelled to London for talks with UK Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, and Special Representative of the UK Prime Minister and Minister of State of the Commonwealth and the United Nations, Lord Tariq Ahmad. The meetings reviewed security cooperation and coordination and exchange of expertise as part of the strategic partnership to confront security challenges, along with topics of common interests.


Wednesday, 26 April–Oman’s Foreign Minister, Badr Hamad Al-Busaidi, received Iran’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, in Muscat. During the meeting they discussed a number of regional and international developments of common interest, stressing the need to continue consultations and to support efforts to consolidate regional security and stability. 


Wednesday, 26 April–A Saudi delegation, headed by Assistant to the speaker of the Shoura Council Hanan Al-Ahmadi, paid an official visit to Sweden. Members of the delegation met with Sweden’s Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Jan Knutsson, and with State Secretary to Minister for International Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade, Hakan Jevrell, to discuss bilateral relations in various fields and ways to strengthen them. The meeting also covered various topics of mutual interest between the two countries.


Wednesday, 26 April–Qatar’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Soltan bin Saad Al-Muraikhi, led a delegation to the Delphi Economic Forum in Athens, which was held in the presence of Greece’s President, Katerina Sakellaropoulou. During the event, Al-Muraikhi underlined the importance of multilateral cooperation and international political stability for addressing global economic, social or environmental challenges.

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