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The Euro-Gulf Monitor

23 - 29 June 2023

by Elen'Alba Vitiello

5 Top Points

  1. GCC Ambassadors and the European External Action Service discussed ways to boost EU-GCC partnership.

  2. Qatar’s Prime Minister and Foreign Minister met with Russia’s President in Moscow.

  3. Kuwait Petroleum International (Q8) launched a project to build the first hydrogen refuelling station in Rome.

  4. The UAE unveiled its National Sport Strategy 2031.

  5. Bahrain and NATO discussed ways to enhance military cooperation and strengthen their partnership.

‘Round and About the Gulf


Kingdom of Bahrain  

Wednesday, 28 June–Bahrain's Crown Prince and Prime Minister, Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, issued Edict 47 of 2023 to reoganise the real estate sector, granting an entry visa and a platinum residency permit to non-Bahraini residents that have lived in Bahrain for at least 15 years and had a minimum salary of 4,000 Bahraini Dinar (about €11,000) during the last 5 years of their residency. The Prime Minister also issued Edict 48 that amends Article 1 of Edict 43 of 2003, newly allowing the non-Bahraini platinum residency permit holders to own real estate properties in designated and non-designated areas.

State of Kuwait

Friday, 23 June–Kuwait’s Assistant Foreign Minister for Development and International Cooperation, Hamad Suleiman Al-Mashaan, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the United Nations’ Under-Secretary General for Counter Terrorism, Vladimir Voronko. The MoU enhances exchange of experiences, training, cooperation with the United Nations office to support international efforts in combating terrorism. 


Monday, 26 June–The Kuwait Petroleum International (Q8) started building its first hydrogen refuelling station in Rome, in cooperation with Maire Group. The station will have the capacity to supply up to about 700 kg of hydrogen per day for light and heavy vehicles, for both public and private transport.  The project, which is set to be completed in 2026, will be co-financed by the EU’s Fund for Future Generations.

Sultanate of Oman

Sunday, 25 June–Oman’s Sultan, Haitham bin Tarik Al-Said, issued a Royal Decree ratifying an agreement on elimination of double taxation for income tax and the prevention of tax evasion signed by Oman and Egypt during the Sultan’s visit to Cairo in May 2023.


Sunday, 25 June–According to preliminary data issued by the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI), Oman’s gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 7% at the end of the first quarter of 2023, reaching 10.42 billion Omani riyals (about €25 billion), compared to 9.71 billion Omani riyals (about €23 billion) in 2022. The increase was mainly supported by the growth of non-oil activities, which increased by 6.7%.

State of Qatar

Monday, 26 June–Iraq’s Ministry of Electricity forwarded its decision to export Qatari gas to Iraq to the Ministry of Oil. Qatar and Iraq have been in various discussions on gas supplies, the rehabilitation of oilfields, and the exchange of experiences. Qatar’s Emir, Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, who visited Iraq earlier this month, announced plans to invest $5 billion (about €4.5 billion) in the country.

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Tuesday, 27 June–The Saudi Export-Import bank (Saudi EXIM Bank) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Bank of Bahrain (NBB) to strengthen trade flows between the two countries. EXIM Bank is one of the main pillars in supporting Saudi exports and increasing their impact on the development of the national economy, in line with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 to increase the value of non-oil exports to 50% of the non-oil gross domestic product.


Tuesday, 27 June—This year’s Hajj, an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, attracted 1,845,045 worshippers from 150 countries, according to Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah.


United Arab Emirates

Tuesday, 27 June–The UAE Minister of Education and Chairman of the General Authority of Sports, Ahmad Belhoul Al-Falasi, unveiled UAE’s National Sport Strategy 2031 and the launch of the Emirates Committee for Elite and High-Level Sports, in charge of supporting and implementing strategic sports initiatives. One of the Strategy’s key objectives is to create a legal framework for sports, including international sports relations policy, sports for individuals with impairments, athlete well-being, and sports professionalism.

EU Corner

Friday, 23 June—Over the past two weeks, the EU’s Special Representative for the Gulf region, Luigi Di Maio, held his first meetings with Gulf representatives in Brussels, including Haifa Al-Jedea, Head of Saudi Arabia’s Mission to the EU; Abdulal Al-Qenaie, Head of the GCC Mission to the EU; Soltan bin Saad Al-Muraikhi, Qatar’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs; Nawaf Alenezi, Head of Kuwait’s Mission to the EU; Jasem Al-Budaiwi, GCC Secretary General; Rua Al-Zadjali, Oman’s Ambassador to the EU; Abdulla bin Faisal Al-Doseri, Bahrain’s Ambassador to the EU; Mohamed Al-Sahlawi, Head of UAE’s Mission to the EU; Abdulaziz bin Ahmed Al-Malki, Qatar’s Ambassador to the EU; and Hossein Dehghani, Iran’s Ambassador to the EU.


Monday, 26 June–The European External Action Service (EEAS) and the Ambassadors of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to the European Union held a meeting in Brussels to discuss concrete steps to enhance GCC-EU partnership. The meeting was led by the Managing Director for Middle East and North Africa, Hélène Le Gal, and by Oman’s Ambassador to the European Union and NATO, Rua Al-Zadjali. 


Monday, 26 June–The European Council sanctioned 7 individuals and entities over human rights violations in Iran. The sanctions targeted the Public and Revolutionary Prosecutor, the Deputy Judge of the Provincial Criminal Court, and the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and security forces in response to anti-government protest of Isfahan province, the Governor and head of Rezvanshahr Security Council and the Police Commander of Rezvanshahr in Gilan province, the Governor of the city of Amol, and the commander of the Imam Hossein Guards Corps of Karaj. The sanctions now apply to a total of 223 individuals and 37 entities and consist of an asset freeze, a travel ban to the EU and an EU-wide prohibition on providing them with funds.

Key Official Visits

Thursday, 22 June–Qatar’s Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, met with Russian President, Vladimir Putin, in Moscow, to hand him a letter from Qatar’s Amir regarding Qatar-Russia bilateral relations and consultations on issues of common interest, including energy, food security, and international peace and security issues. He also met with Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, to discuss the Russian-Ukrainian crisis, the Iranian nuclear file, and the developments in Palestine, Yemen and Syria. Qatar’s Foreign Minister stressed the importance of respecting Ukraine's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, and adhering to the UN Charter and the principles of international law.


Friday, 23 June–UAE’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, received the United Kingdom’s Minister of State for the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia and United Nations and Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Preventing Violence in Conflict, Tariq Ahmad, in Abu Dhabi. They reviewed joint UAE-UK cooperation within the framework of international organisations, and discussed ways to enhance security, peace, and stability.


Friday, 23 June—A military delegation from NATO’s Cooperative Security Division, led by its Director, Lieutenant General Francesco Diella, concluded its four day-visit to Manama, aimed at enhancing military cooperation and strengthening NATO-Bahrain partnership. During the visit, they met with Bahrain’s senior military representatives, including Minister of Defence, Hassan Ali-Noaimi, Director of the Military Intelligence, Colonel Ali Khalifa Al-Khalifa,and National Security Advisor, Lieutenant General Nasser bin Hamad Al-Khalifa.


Friday, 23 June–Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, and Finance Minister, Mohammed Al-Jadaan, met with the President of the New Development Bank, Dilma Rousseff, in Paris. They discussed the relationsbetween Saudi Arabia and the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) and ways to develop them, as well as Saudi Vision 2030 and its push for global sustainable development.


Friday, 23 June–Bahrain’s Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg and Head of the Diplomatic Mission to the European Union and NATO, Abdulla bin Faisal Al-Dosari, met with Luxembourg's Political Director of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, Veronica Dockendorf, in Luxembourg. They discussed regional and international issues and ways to expand joint cooperation.


Saturday, 24 June–Qatar’s Special Envoy of the Minister of Foreign Affairs for Counter-Terrorism and Mediation in Conflict Resolution, Mutlaq bin Majed Al-Qahtani, met with the Director of Counter-Terrorism Department in the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), Alastair Totty, on the sidelines of the UN’s 3rd Counter-Terrorism week in New York. During the meeting, they discussed bilateral cooperation on combating terrorism, particularly in Afghanistan, Syria, and the Sahel region.


Monday, 26 June–Oman’s Foreign Minister, Badr Hamad Al-Busaidi, met with India’s National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval, in Muscat. They discussed strategic relations and aspects of cooperation in the technological, military, and mining sectors, and exchanged views on current regional and international issues.


Monday, 26 June–Bahrain’s Finance and National Economy Minister, Salma bin Khalifa Al-Khalifa, met with a United States’ Congress delegation, led by Congressman Ronny Jackson, in Manama. They reviewed the strategic Bahrain-US relations and the development of their bilateral ties in various fields of common interest.


Tuesday, 27 June–Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman Al-Saud, the UAE’s President, Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Bahrain’s King, Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, and Qatar’s Emir, Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, held separate phone calls with Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin. They mainly discussed the situation in Russia in connection with the Wagner group mutiny on 24 June.


Tuesday, 27 June—Iran’s Deputy Interior Minister, Majid Mirahmadi, travelled to Doha for talks with his Qatari officials. They focused on ways to expand bilateral security and law enforcement cooperation, hosting of the Joint Security Commission meeting in Iran, and the release of Iranian fishermen who crossed into Qatar’s territorial waters.


Wednesday, 28 June–Qatar’s Ministry of Labour and Iran’s Ministry of Cooperation, Labour and Social Welfare held their 5th Joint Committee meeting in Tehran, where they signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the labour recruitment and dispatch field, to enhance capabilities, exchange experiences, develop a consultation mechanism, and prepare the draft of a joint action plan for the next five years. On the occasion, Qatar’s Labour Minister, Ali bin Saeed Al-Marri, also held talks with Iran’s Vice-President, Mohammad Mokhber. 


Wednesday, 28 June–Kuwait’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Salem Abdullah Al-Sabah, embarked on a European tour, which will include visits to France, Italy, Austria and Hungary. In Paris, he met with his French counterpart, Catherine Colonna, to discuss bilateral ties, joint efforts to mobilise European support for exempting Kuwaiti citizens from Schengen visa requirements,  the situation in Syria and Lebanon, the war in Ukraine, and the next Baghdad Summit for regional stability. He also held talks with the French Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade, economic Attractiveness and French Nationals Abroad, Olievier Becht, and the President of Mouvement Des Entreprises de France (MEDEF), François Touazi, regarding French-Kuwaiti cooperation in trade, economy, renewable energy and infrastructure, among topics. 

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