The Euro-Gulf Monitor

26 November - 2 December 2021

by

Arnold Koka & Veronica Stigliani

5 Top Points

  1. The GCC is working to establish an integrated industrial system.

  2. Oman announced 13 strategic projects worth almost €8 billion (EUR).

  3. Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister and Chief Nuclear Negotiator visited Kuwait and the UAE ahead of the Vienna Talks.

  4. Qatar’s Emir held separate meetings with Presidents of Lebanon and Palestine.

  5. EU-Saudi Arabia discussed cooperation in economy, trade and investment.

‘Round and About the Gulf

Kingdom of Bahrain

Sunday, 28 November–Bahrain’s Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Zayed bin Rashid Al-Zayani, announced that the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is planning to develop a unified strategy for industry and establish an integrated industrial system. They plan to increase intra-GCC reliance in supplementary industries, decrease imports of raw materials from abroad and boost local economies, as well as form a customs and economic union by 2025.

State of Kuwait

Wednesday, 1 December–Kuwait will receive  the first two Eurofighter jets produced by Italian defence giant Leonardo in mid-December, as part of a deal for twenty-eight aircraft jets worth over €8 billion (EUR) signed in 2016. The announcement was made following a meeting between Kuwait’s Defence Undersecretary, Fahad Jaber Al-Ali Al-Sabah, and his Italian counterpart, Giorgio Mulè, in Rome.

Sultanate of Oman

Monday, 29 November–The Oman Investment Authority (OIA) launched thirteen projects worth €7.9 billion (EUR) in strategic sectors such as energy, food security, health, manufacturing and tourism. The plans are part of the country’s Vision 2040 aims to diversify economy, develop the private sector and increase foreign direct investment. 

State of Qatar

Sunday, 28 November–Doha’s sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), reportedly bid on a €6.1 billion (EUR) acquisition deal of assets of the United Kingdom’s National Grid, which operates electricity and gas networks.

 

Thursday, 2 December—Cyprus awarded Qatar Petroleum and ExxonMobil a license for natural gas exploration rights for an offshore Block 5.

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Wednesday, 1 December–Saudi Aramco granted a €1.5 billion (EUR) contract for the construction of a large gas plant to the South Korean group, Hyundai Engineering. The group will construct gas processing facilities at the Jafurah Gas Plant. It was part of a larger move to develop the Jafurah gas field that saw awarding contracts worth 8.8 billion EUR to 16 local and international companies. The Jarufah non-associated gas field is expected to boost Saudi Arabia’s gas production by 200 million standard cubic feet of gas per day by 2025 and make it one of the world’s largest natural gas producers.

United Arab Emirates

Wednesday, 1 December–The Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA), Mubadala Investment Company and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) partnered as shareholders of Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar) to boost its position as one of the world’s leading companies in renewables and green hydrogen. The project will have a capacity of 23 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy and is expected to reach over 50GW by 2030. The decision is part of the UAE’s aim to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050,

The EU Corner

Friday, 26 November‒The Head of the Saudi Mission to the EU, Saad Alarify, discussed EU-Saudi relations with the Head of the EU External Action Service (EEAS) Division for the MENA region, Birgit Loeser. Ambassador Alarify also met with the Head of the GCC delegation to the EU, Yousef Al-Sada, to exchange views on the current state of EU-GCC relations and the prospects for collaboration on matters of common interest.

 

Friday, 26 November—The European Union met with the Taliban representatives in Doha to discuss the situation in Afghanistan. The talks took place a day after the Taliban met with Qatari officials and ahead of the US-Taliban talks also scheduled to take place in Doha.

 

Monday, 29 November‒The Head of the EU Delegation to Saudi Arabia, Patrick Simonnet, visited the Saudi Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Hail. During the visit, the Ambassador discussed EU-Saudi investment, trade and economic issues with the CEO of the Chamber, Abdulaziz Alzakdi. He also met with the Emir of Hail, Abdulaziz bin Saad, to review business opportunities in the field of tourism and culture.

Wednesday, 1 December‒The European Union and Oman signed a Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement. The accord concerns cooperation in market opening and regulations, and will improve EU-Oman connectivity, aviation safety and security, as well as sustainable development in the field of aviation.

Key Official Visits

Thursday, 25 November–Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al-Khalifa, the Diplomatic Affairs Advisor to the King of Bahrain, was received by Pope Francis I and Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Cardinal Secretary of State, in the Vatican City. The Bahraini envoy delivered an official invitation  from King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa to the Pope to visit Manama. The two sides also discussed inter-religious dialogue, highlighting the relevance of the ‘Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together’ signed in Abu Dhabi in 2019.

 

Friday, 26 November—Ali Bagheri, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister and Chief Nuclear Negotiator, travelled to Kuwait and the UAE ahead of the JCPOA Talks that resumed in Vienna on 29 November. In Abu Dhabi, Bagheri met with Anwar Gargash, Adviser of the UAE President, and in Kuwait City he was received by Kuwait’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Majdi Al-Dhafiri.

 

Friday, 26 November–Bahrain’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister, Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, visited the Bahrain Pavilion at the EXPO 2020 Dubai, where he met with the UAE’s Minister of Finance, Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum. Talks covered Bahraini-Emirati partnerships in culture, trade, investment, health, food and industry.

 

Friday, 26 November–French President, Emmanuel Macron, announced a tour of Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE on 3 and 4 December. Talks are expected to focus on Iran, Yemen and Iraq, as well as on cooperation in defence, counter-terrorism, culture and economy.

 

Sunday, 28 November—Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince, Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, received Latvia’s President, Egils Levits, to discuss partnerships in investment, trade and economy.

 

Monday, 29 November–Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani held separate meetings with Lebanese President, Michel Aoun, and Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, in Doha. Talks between Emir Tamim and President Aoun focused on Qatar’s economic, energy and infrastructure assistance to Beirut and the recent GCC-Lebanon diplomatic crisis. On Tuesday, Qatar’s Emir met with Mahmoud Abbas to discuss developments in the Palestinian file and Doha’s economic assistance to the country. The previous day, Hamas announced it finalised an agreement with Qatar for funding civil servants in the Gaza Strip via proceeds from Egyptian fuel.