The Euro-Gulf Monitor
25 - 30 October 2020
Arnold Koka & Veronica Stigliani
‘Round and About the Gulf
Kingdom of Bahrain
Sunday, 25 October–Bahrain reiterated its support to Saudi Arabia over drone attacks against the Kingdom by Iran-backed Houthi militia in Yemen. Bahrain’s Shura Council denounced the ballistic missile and drone attacks as violations of international law and threats to regional security, stability and peace.
State of Kuwait
Sunday, 25 October–Many shops in Kuwait and Qatar stopped selling French products over Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons of Prophet Mohammed and Emmanuel Macron’s remarks about Islam. Kuwait’s Foreign Ministry denounced the cartoons and the Federation of Consumer Cooperative Societies called on its 50 members to boycott French goods. In a meeting with French Ambassador to Kuwait, Kuwait’s Foreign Minister condemned the decapitation of a French teacher over showing the cartoons in his class but also highlighted the need to stop offences against monotheistic religions.
Sultanate of Oman
Wednesday, 28 October–Oman announced it secured a second batch of almost 2 million COVID-19 vaccine doses. The Sultanate’s Minister of Health, Ahmed bin Mohammed Al-Saeedi, stated that the country will now be able to obtain two separate batches, both consisting of about 1.8 million doses.
State of Qatar
Monday, 26 October–Qatar signed a three-years security cooperation agreement with Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA). During their visit to Doha, GNA Foreign Minister, Mohamed Al-Taher Siala, and Minister of Interior, Fathi Ali Bashagha, met with Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, and signed a deal on cooperation in security, counterterrorism and organised crime with Qatar’s Ministry of Interior.
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Thursday, 29 October–The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) signed an agreement with the UN Population Fund (UNPF) for granting emergency assistance and support to women affected by gender-based violence in Yemen. The program will support the victims socially and psychologically, and will also be offering vocational training centres across Yemen.
United Arab Emirates
Tuesday, 27 October–The UAE will open a consulate in Laayoune, the largest city of the disputed Western Sahara region controlled by Morocco. The decision came after a phone call between Abu Dhabi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, and Morocco’s King, Mohammed VI, and it will grant the UAE’s diplomatic recognition over Morocco’s authority in the region.
Thursday, 29 October–The White House notified Congress of its willingness to pursue the F-35 fighter jets sale to the UAE. The deal should involve the sale of 50 F-35s for $10.4 billion (USD).
The EU Corner
Saturday, 24 October–The EU praised the Israeli-Sudanese normalisation agreement as a further step towards stability in the Middle East, Horn of Africa and the Red Sea regions. In a statement released by the EU Spokesperson, the EU renewed its call for a regional comprehensive approach to reach an Arab-Israeli peace.
Monday, 26 October–The EU welcomed the Ceasefire Agreement in Libya and expressed its willingness to further engage in dialogue efforts, initiated with the UN-led Berlin process. The EU also called for an immediate withdrawal of foreign forces from the conflict and the halting of the UN arms' embargo violations.
Thursday, 29 October–The EU expressed its keenness to expand cooperation with the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition (IMCTC). The Head of the EU delegation to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman, Patrick Simonnet, asserted the EU’s commitment in a meeting with IMCTC Secretary-General, Major General Mohammed bin Saeed Al-Moghedi, at the Coalition’s headquarters in Riyadh.
Key Official Visits
Sunday, 25 October–Oman’s Foreign Minister, Badr bin Hamad Al-Busaidi, met in Muscat with Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Yemen, Martin Griffiths. They discussed recent developments in the Yemeni conflict and the international efforts to achieve peace in the country.
Wednesday, 28 October–Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa met in Manama the US Secretary of Defence, Mark Esper, who then continued to Israel. King Hamad praised their bilateral strategic partnership, particularly in the military and defense sector. Esper also discussed operations in the Gulf with the US Navy’s 5th Fleet Commander.
Thursday, 29 October–Finland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pekka Haavisto, visited Doha, where he held talks with his Qatari counterpart, Mohamed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, regarding bilateral relations and joint interests in economy, trade and security fields.
Thursday, 29 October–The Envoy of Kuwait’s Emir, Foreign Minister Ahmed Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah, arrived in Riyadh to deliver a written message from Emir Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, pertaining to bilateral relations and cooperation. He handed it to his Saudi counterpart, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud.