The Euro-Gulf Monitor
30 April - 6 May 2021
Arnold Koka & Veronica Stigliani
5 Top Points
Dubai announced the development of a new specialised city, the Food Technology Valley.
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman appointed Faisal bin Fadel Al-Ibrahim as new Minister of Economy and Planning.
The EU and Kuwait discussed cooperation in energy and education.
The Bahraini and the Russian Space Agencies inked a deal for collaboration in space exploration.
Huawei will provide smart cities’ solutions to Qatar.
‘Round and About the Gulf
Kingdom of Bahrain
Monday, 3 May–Bahrain’s National Space Science Agency (NSSA) and the Russian State Space Corporation (ROSCOSMOS) inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) provisioning cooperation in the exploration and use of outer space. The two agencies will activate joint projects on research, training, capacity building as well as information and expertise exchange.
State of Kuwait
Monday, 3 May–Kuwait’s Cabinet announced that all citizens who will refuse the COVID-19 vaccination, including their first degree relatives, will be banned from travelling from 22 May. The country’s infection rates range from 1,300 to 1,500 daily for a total of 276,000 since the start of the pandemic.
Sultanate of Oman
Monday, 3 May–Oman dispatched 120 tonnes of food supply to the Lebanese Army under Sultan Haitham bin Tarik’s directives. The supplies were dispatched to Beirut by ten aircrafts of the Royal Air Force of Oman.
State of Qatar
Wednesday, 5 May–Qatar and Huawei signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for smart cities’ solutions. The Chinese tech giant will provide solutions for the development of Qatar’s artificial islands, the Pearl-Qatar and Gewan Island, particularly in improving security and enhancing emergency response processes.
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Sunday, 2 May–Saudi Arabia will open its land, sea and air borders from 17 May, allowing its citizens to travel abroad. Travel will be permitted to those vaccinated with at least one shot, those recovered from coronavirus and those who are under 18 years old.
Monday, 3 May–Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud appointed a new Minister of Economy and Planning, Faisal bin Fadel Al-Ibrahim. He was previously Deputy Minister of Economy (since 2018) and has also held different roles at the Saudi oil company, Aramco, including as Vice President of Aramco Development.
United Arab Emirates
Saturday, 1 May–The UAE’s Vice President and Prime Minister, Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, announced the development of the Food Technology Valley, a new specialised city in Dubai. The project will host agricultural technologies’ companies, research facilities, vertical cultivation areas, a food innovation center and an advanced smart food logistics hub. The project comes as part of the UAE’s National Food Security Strategy 2051.
The EU Corner
Saturday, 1 May‒The Joint Commission of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) met in Vienna, to continue its work on the implementation of the nuclear accord. The Commission, chaired by the Deputy Secretary-General and Political Director of the European External Action Service, Enrique Mora, has been discussing the possible return of the United States to the Iran deal.
Sunday, 2 May‒The Head of the EU Delegation to Kuwait, Cristian Tudor, received the board members of the Kuwaiti Philatelic Society, who presented the measures taken by the country to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. The EU Ambassador also met with the Kuwaiti Minister of Oil and Minister of Higher Education, Mohammad Abdulatif Al-Fares, discussing the EU-Kuwait cooperation in energy and education. Ambassador Tudor also discussed EU-Kuwaiti partnership with Kuwait’s Foreign Ministry Advisor for Human Rights, Talal Khalid Al-Mutairi.
Wednesday, 5 May‒The Head of the EU Delegation to Bahrain, Patrick Simonnet, held a meeting with Bahrain’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani, and with the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Zayed bin Rashid Al-Zayani, to explore opportunities of cooperation between the EU and the Gulf country. During the discussion, they highlighted their willingness to increase exchanges and to boost development and economic growth.
Key Official Visits
Sunday, 2 May–Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, met with his Omani counterpart, Badr bin Hamad bin Hamoud Al-Busaidi, in Muscat. They discussed Omani-Saudi cooperation in the region and GCC unity. On the same day, the UN and US Special Envoys to Yemen, respectively Martin Griffiths and Tim Lenderking, visited Oman to discuss with Omani officials the Yemen crisis and the prospects of political solution.
Tuesday, 4 May–Kuwait’s Foreign Minister, Ahmad Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah, toured Libya, Algeria and Tunisia. In Libya, he met with the Chairman of the Libyan Presidential Council, Mohamed Al-Menfi, and with Prime Minister, Abdul Hamid Dbeibah. They discussed cooperation in the economic sector and the activation of Kuwaiti-Libyan Joint Committee. In Algeria, the Kuwaiti Minister met with Algeria’s President, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, and the country’s Foreign Minister, Sabri Boukadoum, discussing regional issues. In Tunisia, Kuwait’s Foreign Minister and Tunisian President, Kais Saied, discussed cooperation in economy, trade, education and health.
Wednesday, 5 May–Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince, Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, met with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman Al-Saud, in Jeddah. They discussed strategic relations and cooperation to ensure stability and peace in the region.
Wednesday, 5 May–Qatar’s Foreign Minister, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, met in Doha with the United Kingdom’s Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea, Julian Riley. The talks focused on the latest developments in Somalia and Sudan. The previous day, Qatar’s Special Envoy for Counterterrorism and Conflict Resolution, Mutlaq bin Majed Al-Qahtani, visited Somalia, discussing national reconciliation with Somali Prime Minister, Mohamed Hussein Roble.