The Euro-Gulf Monitor

30 July - 5 August 2021

by

Arnold Koka & Veronica Stigliani

5 Top Points

  1. The UAE and China agreed to share intelligence on money laundering and terrorist financing.

  2. Bahrain and the UAE leaders discussed maritime security.

  3. Saudi Arabia reopened its borders for vaccinated tourists from 1 August 2021.

  4. Foreign Ministers of Oman and Iran held regional security talks in Tehran.

  5. EU and Qatar discussed regional developments and the Afghan Peace Process.

‘Round and About the Gulf

Kingdom of Bahrain

Thursday, 5 August—Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa issued a decree prohibiting discrimination in wages between male and female private sector employees in the same positions in a bid to reduce the gender pay gap.

State of Kuwait

Tuesday, 3 August–Kuwait will build the first city in the region specifically designed to serve electric vehicle companies. The EV City project was approved by the Kuwait Ports Authority (KPA) as part of the country’s wider plan to build logistical cities supporting automation technologies, with the aim of becoming a regional shipping hub.

Sultanate of Oman

Tuesday, 3 July–Oman seeks to promote smart cities and the integration of Internet of Things (IoT) technology in the country. The agreement was signed between the Sultanate’s Ministry of Transport, Communications and Information Technology and the National Energy Centre (NEC), a semi-government company focusing on smart solutions for infrastructures, environment, transportation and energy.

State of Qatar

Wednesday, 4 August–Qatar and the Palestinian Authority (PA) signed a deal for the monthly transfer of $30 million (USD) to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. The agreement was signed by Qatar’s Foreign Ministry and the PA’s Ministry of Social Development, and provisions the granting of financial assistance to 100,000 beneficiaries as well as the payment of salaries to about 27.000 employees in PA official departments.

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Sunday, 1 August–As of 1 August, Saudi Arabia reopened its borders for travellers with tourism visas. Visitors will be required to be vaccinated and provide a negative COVID-19 test.

United Arab Emirates

Tuesday, 3 August–The UAE and China partnered on sharing intelligence on money laundering and terrorism funding. The collaboration comes through an agreement signed by the Financial Intelligence Unit of the UAE’s Central Bank and the China Anti-Money Laundering Monitoring and Analysis Centre.

The EU Corner

Thursday, 29 July‒The Heads of Saudi Arabia’s and of Kuwait’s Missions to the EU, Saad Alarify and Jasem Albudaiwi, respectively, held a meeting in Brussels. They reviewed the two Missions’ approach towards the EU institutions, examining how to advance their interests in a more coordinated and effective way.

 

Wednesday, 3 August‒The Deputy Secretary-General of the European External Action Service (EEAS), Enrique Mora, held separate meetings with Qatar’s National Security Advisor, Mohammed bin Ahmad Al-Masnad, and with the State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Soltan bin Saad Al-Muraikhi, in Doha. The discussions focused on EU-Qatar relations and coordination on regional matters. The EU Representative also attended a negotiation round on the Afghan peace process.

Key Official Visits

Friday, 30 July—Bahrain and Pakistan agreed to begin negotiating a free trade agreement following the Pakistan-Bahrain Joint Ministerial Commission meeting in Manama.

Tuesday, 3 August–Oman’s Foreign Minister, Badr Hamad Al-Busaidi, visited Tehran, where he met with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, and with Iran’s First Vice President, Mohammad Mokhber Dezfouli. They discussed Omani-Iranian collaboration on regional issues and the Sultanate’s role in mediating conflicts.

Tuesday, 3 August–Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa received Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, in Manama. They discussed bilateral cooperation with focus on maritime security and protecting maritime trade. The meeting came amid two Iranian attacks on the tankers, MT Mercer Street and Asphalt Princess, in the Gulf in less than a week.

Wednesday, 4 August–Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Adel Al-Jubeir, held separate meetings with the Director of the UN Counter-Terrorism Centre, Jehangir Khan, and Chargé d’Affaires of the US Embassy in Riyadh, Martina Strong. Minister Al-Jubeir and Director Khan discussed Saudi-UN cooperation in countering terrorism and radicalisation, while the discussion with the US Chargé d’Affaires covered US-Saudi cooperation and regional security.