The Euro-Gulf Monitor

4 - 10 June 2021

by

Arnold Koka & Veronica Stigliani

5 Top Points

  1. Abu Dhabi consolidated its Culture and Creative Industries under DCT Abu Dhabi and plans to invest $6 billion in the field within five years.

  2. Omani mediators discussed ceasefire and peace talks prospects with the Houthis’ leadership in Sanaa.

  3. The first Saudi-Kuwaiti Coordination Council convened in Riyadh, generating six cooperation deals.

  4. The United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia discussed Iran, Yemen and climate change.

  5. Qatar and Russia furthered financial cooperation during the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

‘Round and About the Gulf

Kingdom of Bahrain

Wednesday, 9 June–Bahrain’s Sustainable Energy Authority partnered with the Dubai-based company Yellow Door Energy and Majid Al-Futtaim holding to build Bahrain’s largest rooftop solar plant. The 6.2 megawatt solar plant that will generate up to 10 million kilowatt during the first year, saving more than 6,000 tonnes of carbon emissions, as the Kingdom seeks to increase the share of renewable energy in its energy mix to 10% by 2035.

State of Kuwait

Tuesday, 8 June–Kuwait approved the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, increasing the number of available vaccines in the country to four, after Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca and Moderna.

Sultanate of Oman

Monday, 7 June–The Chinese multinational company, Alibaba Group, signed cooperation with two Omani companies, DataMount and International Emerging Technology Company (ETCO), to boost Oman’s cloud computing services. The two companies will manage and operate Alibaba’s cloud computing centre and services in Oman and the Gulf. The project, which will see Alibaba invest about $10 million (USD) in the first part, is backed by Oman’s Ministry of Transport, Communications and Information Technology.

State of Qatar

Friday, 4 June–The Qatar National Bank (QNB Group), signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Russian asset manager, VTB Capital Investments, to establish Qatar and Russian Funds to attract foreign investments in both countries and cooperate in financial advisory services.

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Sunday, 6 June–The first meeting of the Saudi-Kuwaiti Coordination Council was held in Riyadh. The two countries signed six Memoranda of Understanding in the fields of investment, education, scientific research, sports, youth issues and technical collaboration. The session was co-chaired by Saudi Foreign Minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, and his Kuwait counterpart, Ahmad Nasser Al-Sabah.

United Arab Emirates

Tuesday, 8 June–Abu Dhabi consolidated its Culture and Creative Industries under the Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT) Abu Dhabi and plans to invest $6 billion (USD) in the field within five years in a bid to boost economic diversification. The investments will be allocated notably to museums, performing arts, film and TV, publishing and gaming, among others.

The EU Corner

Monday, 7 June–The EU condemned the Houthis’ missile attack on the Yemeni city of Marib, which killed 17 people, and called for a national ceasefire and confirmed its commitment to the resolution of the ongoing conflict in Yemen.

 

Monday, 7 June–The Head of the EU Delegation to Saudi Arabia, Patrick Simonnet, and the US Chargé d’Affaires, Martina Strong, met in Riyadh to coordinate cooperation with Saudi Arabia and exchange views about relations with the Arab Gulf countries. Ambassador Simonnet also met with the Undersecretary of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abdul Rahman bin Ibrahim Al-Rasi.

 

Thursday, 10 June–The Head of the EU Delegation to Kuwait and Qatar, Cristian Tudor, held several diplomatic meetings to boost Euro-Gulf cooperation. He discussed human rights with President of Qatar’s Human Rights Committee, Ali bin Samikh Al-Marri, and explored ways to ease regional tensions with Qatar’s Foreign Minister, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, and Foreign Ministry’s Secretary General, Ahmad Hassen Al-Hammadi.

Key Official Visits

Friday, 4 June–Bahrain’s Foreign Minister, Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani, met with Russian Culture Minister, Olga Lyubimova, on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. They discussed the Bahraini-Russian Joint Committee’s efforts to promote cooperation, focusing on culture, economy, commerce and science.

 

Saturday, 5 June–Libya’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Najla El Mangoush, met with her UAE counterpart, Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, in Abu Dhabi. They discussed bilateral cooperation, with the UAE Minister expressing his country’s support for Libya’s Government of National Unity and stability and development in Libya.

 

Saturday, 5 June–Omani mediators, accompanied by Houthis’ Spokesman, Mohammed Abdul Salam, arrived in Sanaa, to meet with the Houthis’ leader, Abdulmalik Al-Houthi, and discuss the prospects of a ceasefire and peace talks. The previous day, US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, held a phone call with Oman’s Foreign Minister, Badr bin Hamad Al-Busaidi, discussing the need for peace in Yemen, as well as the developments in Israel and Palestine.

 

Monday, 7 June–The British Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, met with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman Al-Saud, in Neom. They discussed regional stability, Iran, trade and green energy, as well as aspects related to the Saudi justice reform. On the same day, Secretary Raab met with Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Minister of Defence, Prince Khalid bin Salman Al-Saud, in Riyadh, reviewing defence cooperation and the Yemen crisis.

 

Tuesday, 8 June–The Greek Foreign Minister, Nikos Dendias, met with his Emirati counterpart, Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, during his two-day visit to the UAE. The discussion focused on bilateral strategic cooperation, particularly in the areas of defence, energy, economy and tourism. They also discussed developments regarding the Eastern Mediterranean, Turkey and Libya.