The Euro-Gulf Monitor
22 - 28 September 2023
by Elen'Alba Vitiello
5 Top Points
The new Kuwait-UAE maritime trade route has been inaugurated.
Dutch Prime Minister visited the UAE.
Oman ratified air services agreement with Belarus.
Kuwait’s Crown Prince met with Chinese President.
Saudi Arabia and France discussed the situation in Lebanon.
‘Round and About the Gulf
Kingdom of Bahrain
Tuesday, 26 September–Three Bahraini soldiers were killed by a Houthi drone-attack near Saudi Arabia’s border with Yemen. The attack represents an escalation amid ongoing talks between Riyadh and the Houthis (Ansar Allah) on ending the conflict in Yemen. Saudi Arabia condemned the Houthi attack, reaffirmed its full support with Bahrain and called for ending weapons supplies to the Houthi militia.
Wednesday, 27 September–Bahrain’s Director-General of Legal Affairs and Human Rights at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Abdulkarim Bucheeri, and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Technical Cooperation, Hua Liu, signed Bahrain’s Country Programme Framework (CPF) for 2024-2029. The CPF identified nuclear radiation safety and security, energy and industry, and national capacity in nuclear science and technology, as priority areas, among others.
State of Kuwait
Wednesday, 27 September–The new Kuwait-UAE maritime trade route, from Kuwait’s Shuwaikh Port to UAE’s Khalifa Port, has been inaugurated. The route will shorten the transport period of cargo and will have a positive impact on the cost of transportation to boost movement of goods.
Sultanate of Oman
Sunday, 24 September–Oman’s Sultan, Haitham bin Tariq Al-Said, issued the Royal Decree 67/2023, ratifying the air services agreement between Oman and Belarus, signed on 25 July 2023.
State of Qatar
Tuesday, 26 September–QatarEnergy signed an agreement with Marubeni Corporation, a Japanese trading and investment business, and with Hyundai Heavy Industries, a South Korean shipbuilding company and manufacturer. QatarEnergy agreed on a 10-year plan to supply Japan’s firm with naphtha, a derivative from crude oil, starting from October 2023, and on a $3.9 billion deal (about €3.7 billion) with the South Korean firm to supply 17 liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers.
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Tuesday, 26 September–Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet, chaired by the Crown Prince and Prime Minister, Mohammed bin Salman Al-Saud, discussed several agreements regarding the rail, energy and defence affairs, in NEOM. The Cabinet discussed the country’s peace-building efforts in collaboration with the Arab League and the European Union, with Egypt’s and Jordan’s support, as well as the importance of implementing the provisions outlined in the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) to work towards a world free of nuclear weapons. It also approved the Kuwait-Saudi agreement on the railway link project, and authorised a series of Memoranda of Understanding, including with the Finnish Ministry of Energy, the Thai Ministry of Culture, and the Qatari ministries in the field of digital government, competitiveness, seawater desalination, and consumer protection.
United Arab Emirates
Friday, 22 September–The United Arab Emirates, together with India, Israel, and the United States, launched the website of the I2U2 Group with the aim of attracting new investment projects under the group’s umbrella, and empowering businesses and investors to propose projects via the platform. I2U2 focuses on enhancing economic cooperation between the member states in the sector of food security, water, energy, space, transportation, health, and technology.
Monday, 25 September–The European Commission Executive Vice-President, Valdis Dombrovskis, and Chinese Vice Premier of the State Council, co-chaired the 10th EU-China High-level Economic and Trade Dialogue to discuss the economic, financial and investment cooperation. The two sides agreed to set up a new EU-China Working Group on Financial Regulation to work on key areas, including sustainable finance and fintech.
Monday, 25 September–The EU Global Facility on Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing partnered with Bahrain’s Financial Intelligence National Centre (FIU) to deliver its first bilateral training on “Terrorist Financing and Enhanced Awareness”. During the session, they reviewed investigative methods, and tackled financing challenges.
Tuesday, 26 September–The European Union delegation to Kuwait, headed by Anne Koistinen, held an event with Kuwait’s General Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development and the International Labour Organisation office, headed by Khaled Mahdi, in Kuwait. During the event, the two sides addressed the economic and social impacts resulting from climate change, and the importance of diversifying energy sources by adopting renewable energy solutions, and expressed their joint commitment.
Wednesday, 27 September–European Union External Action (EEAS) Deputy Secretary General, Enrique Mora, met with Kuwait’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Jarrah Jaber Al-Sabah, on the sidelines of the 78th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA78). They discussed EU-Kuwait political relations and cooperation, as well as issues of mutual interest, such as the Kuwait-Iraq relations.
Wednesday, 27 September–Kuwait’s exports to the European Union have grown notably in 2023. According to the EU statistical office, Kuwait’s exports of mineral fuels, lubricants, and related materials, as well as chemicals and related products, in the first seven months of 2023 (January-July) reached a total of €3.16 billion, compared to 2022, when exports reached €3.5 billion by the end of the year.
Key Official Visits
Friday, 22 September–Kuwait’s Crown Prince, Meshal Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, met with Chinese President, Xi Jinping, in Hangzhou, China. The meeting aimed at enhancing bilateral ties and pushing forward comprehensive development ties, such as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and Kuwait’s Vision 2035.
Friday, 22 September–UAE’s Foreign Minister, Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, met with Somalia’s Prime Minister, Hamza Abdi Barre, in New York, on the sidelines of UNGA78. They discussed bilateral cooperation, issues of mutual interest, and developments on both regional and international levels.
Saturday, 23 September–Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, met with his Iranian counterpart, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, on the sidelines of UNGA 78, in New York. Their talk focused on Saudi-Iranian relations and finding ways to enhance cooperation in all areas, as well as strategies to intensify consultative meetings at multilateral levels to create more positive prospects.
Sunday, 24 September–Bahrain’s Minister of Industry and Commerce, Abdullah bin Adel Fakhro, received the United Kingdom’s Minister of State in the Department of Business and Trade, Dominic Johnson, in Manama. The two sides stressed the necessity of enhancing cooperation in trade and investments through commercial exchange and discussed ways to develop and increase the volume of bilateral investments.
Sunday, 24 September–Oman’s Commandant of the National Defence College (NDC) at the Academy for Strategic and Defence Studies, Ali Abdullah Al-Shidi, met with Japanese Senior Research Advisor at the JICA Ogata Sakako Research Institute for Peace and Development, Takahara Akio, in Oman, to discuss topics of mutual interests.
Monday, 25 September–UAE’s Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and COP28 President-Designate, Sultan bin Ahmed Al-Jaber, met with Japanese Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, in Tokyo. The meeting follows the outcomes of the Japan’s Prime Minister visit to Abu Dhabi last July. They discussed the latest developments in bilateral relations, initiatives, and projects, as well as ways to enhance the framework of comprehensive strategic partnership in the economic, trade, industrial, and investment sector.
Tuesday, 26 September–Qatar’s Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, met with his Saudi Arabian counterpart, Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, on the sidelines of the Qatar-Saudi Coordination Council political committee meeting, in Doha. They discussed ways to enhance bilateral relations and cooperation through the Qatari-Saudi Coordination Council.
Tuesday, 26 September–UAE’s President, Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, met with Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, in Abu Dhabi. The two sides discussed their country’s ambitions with regard to green hydrogen and the sustainable energy transition, in the run-up to the COP28 climate conference.
Tuesday, 26 September–UAE’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, met with India’s External Affairs Minister, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, on the sidelines of UNGA 78, in New York. During the meeting, they talked about the UAE-Indian strategic partnership, and means to further develop cooperation, including on the climate change agenda.
Wednesday, 27 September–Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, met with French President’s Special Envoy for Lebanon, Jean-Yves Le Drian, in Riyadh. During the meeting, they reviewed Saudi-French bilateral relations and they discussed the latest developments in Lebanon, and the efforts made in this regard.
Thursday, 28 September–Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, flew to Manama to attend the Political Coordination Committee emanating from the Saudi-Bahraini Coordination Council. On the occasion, he met with Bahrain’s Foreign Minister, Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani.