The Euro-Gulf Monitor

24 - 30 June 2022

by Arnold Koka & Veronica Stigliani

5 Top Points

  1. Qatar hosted EU-led talks between the United States and Iran.

  2. The Negev Forum Steering Committee meeting took place in Manama.

  3. Egypt’s President, Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, toured Bahrain and Oman.

  4. Saudi Arabia launched 93 sustainability projects worth over €2 billion (EUR).

  5. India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, travelled to Abu Dhabi.

استضافت قطر المحادثات التي يقودها الاتحاد الأوروبي بين الولايات المتحدة وإيران.

 

 انعقد اجتماع اللجنة التوجيهية لمنتدى النقب في المنامة.

 

قام الرئيس المصري عبد الفتاح السيسي بجولة في البحرين وعمان.

 

 أطلقت المملكة العربية السعودية 93 مشروعًا للاستدامة 

تزيد قيمتها عن 2 مليار يورو.

 

 سافر رئيس وزراء الهند ، ناريندرا مودي ، إلى أبو ظبي.

‘Round and About the Gulf

Kingdom of Bahrain

Tuesday, 28 June–Bahrain hosted the Negev Forum Steering Committee, gathering senior diplomats from the US, Israel, UAE, Morocco, and Egypt. The event, which was a follow up of the Negev Summit (March 2022), was held in light of US President Biden’s imminent visit to the region and focused on bolstering cooperation in clean energy, education, food and water security, health, tourism, and regional security.

State of Kuwait

Monday, 27 June–Kuwait’s Interior Ministry suspended issuing family and tourist visas to the country. The move came as Kuwait seeks to introduce a new mechanism for visa issuing and travel regulations.

Sultanate of Oman

Tuesday, 28 June-Oman will boost its manufacturing sector through a €207 (EUR) million worth investment in a rubber powder production plant. The project will be realised by Sur industrial City and Al-Fairuz Projects and Investments, and will support the shifting of local production to more sustainable tires, while also increasing local labor opportunities for Omani workers.

 

Wednesday, 29 June—Oman is considering expanding the long-term investor residency programme to creators, innovators, programmers, and entrepreneurs, according to Khalid Al-Shuaibi, Head of the National Programme for Investment and Export Development ‘Nazdaher’.

State of Qatar

Monday, 27 June–Doha’s energy giant, Qatar Energy, joined the ‘Aiming for Zero Initiative’, pledging to reach near-zero methane emissions by 2030. The company is the first to join the project outside its existing signatories, which include Saudi Aramco, Eni and TotalEnergies. The move falls within Qatar’s objective to boost environmental sustainability and its green energy sector.

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Sunday, 26 June–The Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) reportedly placed over €11 billion (EUR) as time deposits to commercial banks in the country, in an effort to tackle tight liquidity conditions caused by high oil prices. The move comes as Riyadh seeks to ease liquidity constrains to drive its ‘Vision 2030’ projects.

 

Tuesday, 28 June–Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet approved a new business law that will regulate all commercial and non-profit companies operating in the Kingdom. The law will allow the establishment of a new company type called ‘Simplified Joint Stock Company’, and it will also regulate governance, management and work policy. The measure is part of Riyadh’s bid to strengthen local private sector and entrepreneurship.

 

Wednesday, 29 June–Saudi Arabia announced it will launch 93 utility infrastructure development projects worth over €2 billion (EUR). The projects will enhance the sustainability of the Kingdom’s water and agriculture sectors, with the aim of enhancing waterway transportation and distribution within the country.

United Arab Emirates

Saturday, 25 June–The UAE’s Ministry of Economy announced it is currently negotiating bilateral Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements (CEPA) with Turkey, Colombia and Indonesia, and plans to ink trade preference agreements with the member states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) by 2023. The trade deals aim to boost the Emirates’ economy and establish the country as a regional economic hub.

The EU Corner

Friday, 24 June–The European Union (EU) and Bahrain held their first Senior Officials Meeting in Brussels, to launch the implementation of the Cooperation Arrangement between the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the Foreign Ministry of Bahrain, signed in February 2021. During the meeting, the two sides discussed boosting bilateral relations in trade, health, energy, environment, space, security, research and education, and reviewed the issue of the Schengen visa waiver for Bahraini citizens. The international and regional situation was also discussed, especially Ukraine, Syria, and Iran.

 

Sunday, 26 June–Saudi Arabia’s Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs, Waleed Al-Khereiji, welcomed the Head of Visa Policy at the Directorate General for Migration and Home Affairs of the European Commission, Dimitri Giotakos, and the Commission's Technical Dialogue Team, in Riyadh. The meeting aimed to discuss the Schengen visa waiver for Saudi citizens visiting Europe, and was attended by the Head of the EU Delegation to Saudi Arabia, Patrick Simonnet, the Deputy Minister for Consular Affairs, Tamim Al-Dossary, and the Head of the Saudi mission to the EU, Saad Mohammed Alarify.

 

Tuesday, 28 June–The Head of the EU Delegation to Qatar and Kuwait, Cristian Tudor, received the Qatari Ambassador to Kuwait, Ali bin Abdullah Al-Mahmoud, to review EU-Gulf ties and discuss the international situation.

 

Wednesday, 29 June–The Deputy Secretary General and Political Director of the European External Action Service (EEAS), Enrique Mora, travelled to Doha to mediate indirect US-Iranian talks on the nuclear file. Mora met with Iran’s Chief nuclear negotiator, Ali Bagheri Kani, as well as with US Special Envoy for Iran, Robert Malley. At the end of the talks, the EU Envoy concluded that no major breakthrough was achieved.

Key Official Visits

Friday, 24 June–Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani travelled to Cairo, in his first trip to Egypt since the end of the Gulf crisis and restoring bilateral diplomatic relations in 2021. The Emir met with Egypt’s President, Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, discussing cooperation in energy, investment, agriculture and trade. The following day, the UAE’s Foreign Minister, Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, was received by the Egyptian President in Cairo. They reviewed Egyptian-Emirati cooperation in maintaining stability in the Arab world, as well as in energy, transport and tourism.

              

Friday, 24 June–Greece’s Foreign Minister, Nikos Dendias, met with his Emirati counterpart, Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, in Abu Dhabi. They discussed Emirati-Greek relations and discussed opportunities for investments in renewable energy, infrastructure, healthcare, food, agriculture and logistics.

 

Sunday, 26 June–Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, toured Oman and Bahrain. In Muscat, the Egyptian leader met with Oman’s Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al-Said, with the talks focusing on Egyptian-Omani economic and strategic cooperation. The two countries also signed 11 partnership deals in investment promotion, trade, industry, environment and innovation. In Manama, President Al-Sisi was received by Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa. The two leaders reviewed Middle Eastern security as well as the upcoming GCC Summit with the US in Jeddah. They also signed deals on economic, scientific and technological cooperation.

 

 

Monday, 27 June–Malta’s President, George Vella, met with Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, during an official trip to Doha. They discussed collaboration in economy, investment, migration and energy, as well as developments in Afghanistan, Syria and Libya. President Vella also lauded Doha’s role in mediating regional and international crises such as in Afghanistan, while also stressing the importance of expanding EU-Gulf relations.

 

Monday, 27 June–The Leader of Chad’s Transitional Military Council, Mahamat Idriss Deby, was received by the UAE’s President, Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, in Abu Dhabi. The talks focused on establishing stability and peace in Chad, as well as the Emirates’ role in improving political and social conditions in Africa.

 

Tuesday, 28 June–India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, travelled to Abu Dhabi, where he was received by the Emirati President, Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan. The two leaders discussed ways the recently signed UAE-India Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and further opportunities for collaboration in defence, security, trade and investment.

 

Tuesday, 28 June–Italian Foreign Minister, Luigi Di Maio, travelled to Riyadh for the Saudi-Italian Investment Forum on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of the Saudi-Italian diplomatic relations. He met with his Saudi counterpart, Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, to discuss bilateral cooperation in investment, economy, culture and science. The two sides signed three cooperation agreements in space exploration, business development and energy and agreed to set up the Saudi-Italian Business Council. The talks also covered developments in Ukraine, Yemen, Iran, Lebanon, Somalia and Libya.

 

Tuesday, 28 June–The UAE’s National Security Adviser, Tahnoon bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, met with Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, in Doha. They discussed Emirati-Qatari relations and regional developments. The visit came ahead of the EU-mediated US-Iran talks held in Doha on the same day.

 

Tuesday, 28 June–Qatar hosted US-Taliban talks about the release of the Afghan frozen funds. Afghanistan’s Foreign Minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi, met with US Special Envoy for Afghanistan, Thomas West, in Doha. The talks focused on economic sanctions on the Taliban government, as well as the chances of allowing Afghanistan’s central bank to use some of its €8.6 billion (EUR) assets frozen by Washington.