The Euro-Gulf Monitor

24 - 30 September 2021

by

Arnold Koka & Veronica Stigliani

5 Top Points

  1. Israel’s Foreign Minister visited Bahrain, meeting with King Hamad and signing several deals.

  2. Qatar Petroleum signed a 15-year LNG supply deal with China.

  3. Saudi Arabia launched a $13 billion (USD) strategy for tourism in the Asir region.

  4. The EU and Saudi Arabia held the first Human Rights Dialogue in Brussels.

  5. The UAE’s Prime Minister announced a major government reshuffle.

‘Round and About the Gulf

Kingdom of Bahrain

Monday, 27 September–Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa decreed the abolition of the National Oil and Gas Authority (NOGA). All the institution’s functions will be integrated into the Ministry of Oil.

State of Kuwait

Friday, 24 September–Kuwait’s Prime Minister, Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, spoke the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). The Prime Minister called on Iran to stop interfering in domestic affairs of neighbouring countries and respect international law. His speech also covered the need to address the Palestinian issue, the risks it poses to regional security as well as cooperation in combating the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sultanate of Oman

Monday, 27 August–Oman and Belgium will cooperate in the realisation of a green hydrogen production site in the Sultanate’s Special Economic Zone at Duqm. The Omani energy company, Okio, and the Belgian company, Demi, kicked off preparatory work for the project as part of a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Sultanate’s Ministry of Energy and Minerals and Belgium’s Ministry of Energy to increase energy and investment cooperation.

State of Qatar

Wednesday, 29 September–Qatar Petroleum (QP) signed a contract with China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) to supply China with liquefied natural gas (LNG) for 15 years. QP will supply 3.5 million tons per year starting from 2022.

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Tuesday, 28 September–Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman Al-Saud, launched a 50 billion Saudi riyals (approximately 11.2 billion EUR) strategy for tourism in the Asir region. The project will include investments into local cultural and natural sites, aiming to attract about 10 million visitors by 2030.

United Arab Emirates

Saturday, 25 September–The UAE’s Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, announced the formation of a new Cabinet and a 50-year strategy for federal government work. The new government will include Mohamed Al-Hussaini as Minister of State for Financial Affairs, Abdullah Al-Nuaimi as Minister of Justice, and Mariam Al-Mheiri as Minister of Climate Change and Environment.

The EU Corner

Monday, 27 September‒The EU and Saudi Arabia held the first Human Rights Dialogue in Brussels. The two delegations were led by the EU Special Representative for Human Rights, Eamon Gilmore, and by the Chairman of the Saudi Human Rights Commission, Awwad Saleh Al-Awwad. The two sides discussed aspects related to freedom of expression, association and belief, with the EU encouraging Riyadh to abolish the death penalty and to ratify international treaties. The EU also praised the Kingdom for its judicial reform, the advancement in the protection of workers’ rights, and for its efforts in reducing human trafficking. 

 

Wednesday, 29 September‒The Head of the Kuwaiti Mission to the EU, Jasem Albudaiwi, met with the EU Head of Division for the MENA region, Birgit Loeser, in Brussels. They discussed the EU-GCC and EU-Kuwait relations, regional situation and some issues of common concern.

Key Official Visits

Monday, 27 September–Israel’s Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett, met with Bahrain’s Foreign Minister, Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani, and UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Khalifa Shaheen Almarar, on the sidelines of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) to discuss regional security cooperation and countering Iran’s nuclear programme. 

Monday, 27 September–The US National Security Advisor (NSA), Jake Sullivan, the US Special Envoy to Yemen, Tim Lenderking, and the White House Coordinator for the Middle East, Brett McGurk, toured Saudi Arabia and the UAE. In Riyadh, NSA Sullivan met with Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman Al-Saud, reviewing developments in Yemen and Afghanistan. In the UAE, the US official met with Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince, Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, discussing US-Emirati strategic ties.

Monday, 27 September–Kuwait’s Foreign Minister, Ahmad Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Sabah, visited the United Kingdom (UK), meeting with British Minister for Middle East and North Africa, James Cleverly. They discussed cooperation in security, as well the increasing bilateral cooperation through the Kuwaiti-British Joint Steering Committee. The previous week the committee had announced further bilateral collaboration on cybersecurity, trade and education.

Wednesday, 29 September–Kuwait’s Foreign Minister, Ahmad Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Sabah, held a two-day visit to Algiers, meeting with Algeria’s Foreign Minister, Ramtane Lamamra. They discussed developments in Moroccan-Algerian relations and security in North Africa.

Thursday, 30 September–Israel's Foreign Minister, Yair Lapid, visited Bahrain, in the highest-level official visit to the Kingdom since the signing of the Abraham Accords. Minister Lapid met in Manama with Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, and Foreign Minister, Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani. They discussed cooperation in security and economy, and signed a number of deals on technology, water and health. The Israeli Minister also inaugurated the country’s Embassy in Manama.