The Euro-Gulf Monitor
3 - 9 November 2023
by Elen'Alba Vitiello
5 Top Points
Kuwait hosted the 4th Gulf Conference and Exhibition on Cybersecurity Challenges.
Qatar hosted the 19th Korea-Middle East Cooperation Forum.
The European Commission President met with the King of Jordan.
The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Kuwait and Russia held talks.
The Foreign Ministers of Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE held a summit in the Jordanian capital, Amman.
‘Round and About the Gulf
Kingdom of Bahrain
Sunday, 5 November–The 5th Korea-Bahrain Business Forum took place in Manama. During the forum, the parties reviewed Korean-Bahrain governmental partnerships such as Bahrain’s Electricity and Water Authority (EWA) and Korean companies like Hyundai, Samsung (among others) as well as the Bahrain’s Petroleum Company (BAPCO) and Samsung Engineering. The forum also explored new opportunities for joint cooperation.
State of Kuwait
Monday, 6 November–Kuwait hosted the 4th Gulf Conference and Exhibition on Cybersecurity Challenges under the patronage of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Oil and Minister of State for Economic Affairs and Investment Affairs, Saad Hamad Nasser Al-Barrak, and in collaboration with the Central Agency for Information Technology. The event aimed at consolidating cyber security efforts in all GCC countries, brought together the Union of Kuwaiti Banks, Kuwait’s Ministry of interior, Kuwait’s Army, and all GCC countries.
Sultanate of Oman
Wednesday, 8 November–Oman’s Ministry of Energy and Minerals signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) in the field of Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) and blue hydrogen development, which will contribute to reducing carbon emissions and to achieving Net Zero. The MoC, signed with Occidental of Oman (Oxy) and OQ Gas Networks (OQGN), aimed at exchanging knowledge and technical expertise to develop strategies enabling the deployment of CCUS projects in the country.
State of Qatar
Monday, 6 November–Doha hosted, for the first time, the 19th edition of the Korea-Middle East Cooperation forum under the theme Korean and Middle East: Towards Stronger Cooperation and Partnership. The forum took place under the patronage of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of both Qatar and Korea. It aimed to strengthen economic partnerships in green transformation.
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Thursday, 9 November–The Saudi-Arab-African Economic Conference began in Riyadh, and brought the leaders of finance, business and investment from government and private sectors, trade federations, international organisations and think tanks together to discuss investment opportunities and partnerships in energy, economic and food security, sustainable industries, tourism, and mining sectors. The conference expectation is that the Saudi Fund for Development will sign agreements worth SR2 billion (about €499 million) with African countries.
United Arab Emirates
Wednesday, 8 November–The UAE approved 10 economic principles to guide the country to achieve its economic targets for the upcoming decade. This came after more than 500 dignitaries, including heads of UAE Executive boards, ministers, and senior officials in the federal and local governments, gathered in Abu Dhabi. The principles include maintaining an open economy without boundaries, attracting talent, investing in the digital economy, providing opportunities for the youth, building a sustainable and balanced economy, protecting state financial systems, developing the most efficient logistics system globally, promoting transparency, developing the best banking system as well as economic legislation.
Tuesday, 7 November–The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, received King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, in Brussels, to discuss the Gaza war and the need to avoid regional contagion. During the visit, the Commission announced a substantial EU support package for Jordan worth €902 million (€402 million in grants and €500 million in loans by the European Investment Bank).
Tuesday, 7 November–Kuwait’s Ambassador to Belgium and Head of Mission to the European Commission and NATO, Nawaf Alenezi, held a meeting with the European Union Special Representative for the Middle East Peace Process, Sven Koopmans, to discuss the Israel-Palestine conflict and the need for a ceasefire. Alenezi highlighted the EU’s critical role in pursuit of peace.
Wednesday, 8 November–Israel’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Eli Cohen, visited Brussels, where he met with both President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola. During both meetings, discussions focused on releasing hostages held in Gaza and humanitarian assistance to the Palestinians.
Key Official Visits
Friday, 3 November–Kuwait’s Foreign Minister, Salem Abdullah Jaber Al-Sabah, travelled to Moscow where he held talks with Russia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergei Lavrov. They discussed ways to strengthen bilateral relations and cooperation, such as the latest developments in the Gaza Strip, and underlined the need for joint work towards finding a comprehensive solution to both the Israel-Palestine and the Ukrainian crisis.
Saturday, 4 November–A coordination meeting of Foreign Ministers of five Arab countries took place in Jordan’s capital, Amman, with the aim of ending the Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip. The meeting was held with the participation of the Foreign Minister of Egypt, Sameh Shoukry, of Jordan, Ayman Safadi, of Qatar, Mohammed bin Jassim Al-Thani, of Saudi Arabia, Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, and of the UAE, Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, as well as the Secretary of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), Hussein Al-Sheikh. Following this meeting, they held a Summit with the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, where the Arab position calling for a ceasefire in Gaza was reaffirmed. Blinken reiterated US opposition, arguing that it would give Hamas time to regroup and launch another attack on Israel.
Sunday, 5 November–French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Catherine Colonna, travelled to Qatar and the UAE, to discuss the conflict between Israel and Hamas and the regional situation. The visit discussed ways to achieve an immediate, lasting and sustained humanitarian truce, to organise a humanitarian response for the civilian population of Gaza, prevent conflict contagion and to identify ways of restarting the momentum towards a just and lasting settlement of the Israel-Palestine conflict on the basis of the two-state solution. Colonna met with Qatar’s Emir, Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, Qatar’s Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the UAE, Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nayan.
Monday, 6 November–Bahrain’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister, Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, held a phone call with the Vice President of the United States of America, Kamala Harris. They discussed the regional and international issues, as well as the latest development in the Gaza Strip and the importance of a ceasefire for humanitarian reasons. They also reviewed the Bahrain-US partnership and the importance of furthering relations to achieve shared goals.
Monday, 6 November–Bahrain’s Minister of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mohammed bin Abdulaziz Al-Khulaifi, met with the Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs of the Republic of Korea, Chung Byung-won to discussed bilateral cooperation as well as the latest developments in the Gaza Strip, Qatar’s mediation efforts for the release of prisoners, and ways to coordinate regional and international diplomatic efforts to reach an immediate ceasefire.
Tuesday, 7 November–Kuwait’s Prime Minister, Ahmad Nawaf Al-Sabah, met the President of the Supreme Judicial Council Counsellor and the Head of the Court of Cassation of Qatar, Adel Bouresli, the Deputy President of the Qatari Court of Cassation, Thaqeel bin Sayer Al-Shammari, and their accompanying delegation. The meeting was also attended by the Director of the Office of Kuwait’s Prime Minister, Hamad Bader Al-Amer, and Kuwait’s Court of Cassation Under Secretary and member of the Supreme Judicial Council Counsellor, Khaled Saleh Al-Muzaini.
Tuesday, 7 November–The UAE’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, met with the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, on the sidelines of the Global Faith Summit on Climate action in Abu Dhabi. During the meeting, they discussed bilateral relations and efforts to promote values of tolerance, coexistence and human fraternity. The UAE Foreign Minister expressed the country’s commitment to establishing growing and evolving relations with the Vatican, working together to build bridges of dialogue and cooperation between different cultures and religions.
Tuesday, 7 November–Qatar’s Commander of the Emiri Guard, Lieutenant General Hazza bin Khalil Al-Shahwani, met with the French National Gendarmerie General Director, Lieutenant General Christian Rodriguez, in Paris. They reviewed bilateral cooperation in the military field and means to enhance them.
Wednesday, 8 November–The 14th edition of the Turkish Arab Economic Forum took place in Istanbul, which brought together government officials, policymakers, business leaders, and industry experts from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Türkiye, and other Arab nations. The Forum aimed at strengthening economic partnerships between Türkiye and Arab countries, promoting economic integration, and unlocking cooperation in trade, investment, and sustained growth.
Wednesday, 8 November–The Parliamentary Friendship Group between Qatar and France at Qatar’s Council, Shura Council, under the Chairmanship of the group’s President and Council Member, Ali bin Fetais Al-Marri, held separately meetings with the President of the French-Qatari Friendship Group at the French National Assembly, Christophe Naegelen, and the President of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the French National Assembly, Jean-Louis Bourlangs, in Paris. During the meetings, they reviewed the cooperative relations between the Shura Council and the French National Assembly and explored ways to enhance them.
Wednesday, 8 November–Qatar’s Emir, Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, met with the Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, in Doha, to discuss the development of the Israel-Palestine conflict and the diplomatic efforts of both countries to halt the crisis in Gaza.
Wednesday, 8 November–A delegation from the UAE’s National Oil Company, ENOC, went on a official visit to Belgium, where they met with industry stakeholders, namely Port of Antwerp-Bruges, a company that manages the ports of Antwerp and Bruges; Barco, a Belgian technology company; Total Energies Belgium; Imec Vlaanderen, a Belgian company specialised in the nano and digital technology; ABC Engines; John Cockerill, a mechanical engineering group; and EXMAR, a provider of floating solutions for the operation, transportation and transformation of gas. They exchanged views and best practices, as well as potential cooperation opportunities.
Thursday, 9 November–Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, met with the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly, in Riyadh. Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud urged the UK to ensure that the Security Council fulfils its responsibility to maintain international peace and security.