The Euro-Gulf Monitor
5 - 11 May 2023
by Veronica Stigliani & Elen'Alba Vitiello
5 Top Points
Bahrain’s Foreign Minister, Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani, met with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky and Foreign Minister, Dmytro Kuleba, in Kyiv.
Manama hosted the 5th Istanbul Cooperation Initiative Policy Advisory Group Meeting of NATO.
Oman’s Minister of Energy and Minerals held meetings with European Commission and Belgian counterpart.
UAE’s President, Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, met with France's President, Emmanuel Macron, in Paris.
Kuwait will become a dialogue partner of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.
‘Round and About the Gulf
Kingdom of Bahrain
Wednesday, 10 May–Bahrain hosted the 5th NATO Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) Policy Advisory Group Meeting with representatives from the NATO member states, ICI members and the GCC from 10 to 11 May 2023. The discussions featured sessions on the current regional political security situation and prospects for enhancing cooperation with NATO, combating terrorism, women, peace and security, as well as maritime, energy, climate, and cyber security.
State of Kuwait
Saturday, 6 May–On the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Foreign Ministers’ meeting in New Delhi, Kuwait’s Ambassador to India, Jassim Al-Najem, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with SCO’s Secretary-General, Zhang Ming, to join the SCO as a dialogue partner.
Sultanate of Oman
Tuesday, 9 May–Oman’s Environment Authority and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)'s West Asia Office signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the field of the environment, via video conferencing. Under the agreement, the two sides will cooperate to protect, promote and support natural resources, consolidating biodiversity in all parts of the world. The deal was signed by the Chairman of Oman’s Environment Authority, Abdullah Ali Al-Amri, and by UNEP Representative and the Regional Director of the West Asia Office, Sami Dimassi.
State of Qatar
Thursday, 4 May–Qatar’s Public Prosecution adopted an Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered procedure method in its justice system, in line with the country’s National Vision 2030. The AI system speeds up the judicial process and enhances the accuracy and quality of the information gathered during investigations.
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Friday, 5 May–Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs launched a switch to electronic visas for seven countries. Saudi missions in the UAE, Jordan, Egypt, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia and the Philippines will now be able to issue e-visas. which will replace visa stickers on passports and make it possible to retrieve visitors' data using a QR Code. The initiative is part of the county’s efforts to enhance the process of automating and improving the quality of consular services.
Wednesday, 10 May–Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced the decision to resume the work of its diplomatic mission in Syria. The move follows Syria’s return to the Arab League after more than a decade, and aims to serve the interests of the joint Arab action, while strengthening security and stability of the region.
United Arab Emirates
Sunday, 7 May–The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation signed three agreements on Low-Carbon Nuclear Power with China National Nuclear Corporation, to enhance collaboration in nuclear energy operations and maintenance. In particular, the deals will focus on cooperation in the field of high temperature gas-cooled reactors, and on possible collaboration in nuclear fuel supply and investment.
Sunday, 7 May–A third Emirati plane arrived at Port Sudan airport carrying 50 tonnes of medical supplies to help the Sudanese people amid the ongoing crisis. Supplies included medicines such as antibiotics, non-steroidal drugs, anti-inflammatories, medical wound dressings, gauze packs, wound debridement kits and surgical tapes. The UAE has already sent two aircraft to Sudan, one carrying 30 tonnes of urgent medical supplies and the other 30 tonnes of food aid.
Thursday, 4 May–The European Union and Egypt co-chaired the 21st Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) Coordination Committee Meeting in Cairo, with Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sameh Shoukry, and Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service, Charles Fries. They presented their vision for the strategic direction and objectives of the GCTF for 2023-2025. GCTF members engaged with senior officials and practitioners from West Africa on the regional challenges, where the GCTF could provide support.
Monday, 8 May–European Union’s Chargé d’Affaires, Gediminas Varanavicius, met with Kuwait’s Assistant Foreign Minister Europe Affairs, Sadiq M.S. Marafi, during which they discussed ways and opportunities to strengthen EU-Kuwait relations in the people-to-people ties, research, energy and green transition sector.
Monday, 8 May–EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, held a phone call with Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, to discuss the latest developments in Sudan and the Saudi-US initiative and to host representatives of the two parties in Jeddah for a dialogue in order to reduce the level of tension.
Tuesday, 9 May–In Brussels, Oman’s Minister of Energy and Minerals, Salim Nasser Al-Aufi, held separate meetings with European Commission’s Vice-President, Maros Sefcovic, and with Belgian Minister for Energy, Tinne Van der Straeten, to discuss the regulatory frameworks for clean hydrogen production and transportation projects.
Key Official Visits
Friday, 5 May–Bahrain’s Foreign Minister, Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani, paid an official visit to Ukraine, where he met with President Volodymyr Zelensky and with Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba. Discussions focused on boosting bilateral cooperation and reviewed developments in Ukraine and the region. Minister Al-Zayani expressed his support to the Ukrainian people and reaffirmed his commitment to a political solution to the conflict through peaceful and diplomatic means. During the visit, he also met with Ukraine’s First Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Development and Trade, Yulia Svyrydenko, and with the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada, Ruslan Stefanchuk.
Friday, 5 May–The UAE Minister of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Shakhboot bin Nahyan Al-Nahyan, met with the Swiss Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, Sylvain Astier, in Abu Dhabi. The two sides discussed regional challenges and exchanged views on a number of international issues of mutual concern. The meeting is part of ongoing efforts by the UAE and Switzerland to strengthen cooperation in the Horn of Africa.
Friday, 5 May–Kuwait’s Foreign Minister, Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, met with the Prime Minister of the Lebanese caretaker government, Najib Mikati, in London. They discussed means to boost ties and build a solid relationship between both countries. The meeting was also attended by Kuwait’s Undersecretary at the Crown Prince Office, Mazen Al-Issa, Assistant Foreign Minister for Europe’s Affairs, Sadeq Maarefi, and Ambassador to the UK, Badr Al-Awadhi.
Friday, 5 May–Qatar’s Emir, Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, met with the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, at the Prime Minister's headquarters, London, to discuss the strategic bilateral relations and means to enhance them in different sectors, especially with regard to regional security and defence cooperation. The meeting was also attended by Qatar’s Ambassador to the UK, Fahad bin Mohammed Al-Attiyah, UK’s Military Adviser to the Prime Minister, Jimmy Norman, Uk’s Political Affairs Adviser to the Prime Minister, John Bew, and UK’s National Security Adviser to the Prime Minister, Tim Barrow.
Saturday, 6 May–Several leaders and government representatives from the Gulf countries attended the Coronation of Charles III as king of the United Kingdom and the Other Commonwealth realms including UAE’s Vice President and Deputy Prime Minister, Mansour bin Zayed Al-Nahyan; Bahrain’s King, Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, and Crown Prince, Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa; Qatar’s Emir, Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani; Oman’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sayyid Badr Al-Busaidi, and a royal family member, Sayyid Theyazin bin Haitham Al-Said; Kuwait’s Crown Prince, Mishaal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah; and Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State and Cabinet member, Turki bin Mohammad Al-Saud, and Ambassador to the UK, Khalid bin Bandar Al-Saud.
Saturday, 6 May–The Consultative Meeting of the Ministers of Health of the GCC took place in Al Ula to discuss ways to develop and upgrade the health system in the GCC and improve aspects of integration and interdependence between the GCC countries, and the Health and Humanitarian Developments in Sudan.
Sunday, 7 May–An extraordinary session of the Arab League Council regarding the Syrian and Sudan crisis and the Palestinian cause took place in Cairo. The Arab League members decided to reinstate Syria’s membership, after Syria's membership was revoked in March 2011.
Sunday, 7 May–US National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan, met with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister, Mohammed bin Salman Al-Saud, in Jeddah. The meeting aimed to consolidate the truce in Yemen, and focused on a number of issues of common interest, including the crisis in Sudan. On the same occasion, Mohammed bin Salman also met with the Deputy Ruler of Abu Dhabi and National Security Advisor of the UAE, Tahnoun bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, and with India’s National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval, in a bid to strengthen international cooperation.
Sunday, 7 May–Senior UN Aid Envoy Martin Griffiths travelled to Jeddah to discuss the ongoing Sudan crisis that experts fear could leave 2.5 million people without enough food and trigger a wave of mass migration.
Sunday, 7 May–Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Cabinet Member, and Envoy for Climate, Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir, met with the President of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly, Csaba Korosi, in Riyadh. The meeting, attended by the Kingdom's Permanent Representative to the UN in New York, Ambassador Abdulaziz Al-Wasil, focused on the regional situation and on international efforts to protect the environment and reduce climate change.
Sunday, 7 May–Qatar’s Armed Forces Chief of Staff, Salim Hamad Aqeel Al-Nabit, met with Oman’s Chief of Staff of the Sultan’s Armed Forces (SAF), Abdullah Khamis Al-Raisi, in Doha, to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in areas of joint military cooperation.
Monday, May 8–A Bahraini delegation visited Japan. Bahrain’s Minister of Industry and Commerce, Abdullah bin Adel Fakhro, met with Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Nishimura Yasutoshi, in Tokyo, to discuss enhancing economic relations. Bahrain’s Minister of Sustainable Development, Noor bint Ali Al-Khulaif, met with Japan’s Minister of Digital Affairs, Taro Kono, in a bid to deepen Bahrain-Japan cooperation in the field of sustainable development, focusing on the effective use of digital technology in achieving the two countries’ goals. Minister Al-Khulaif also met with the Governor of Tokyo, Yuriko Koike, to discuss ways to downsize energy consumption.
Monday, May 8–The UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, met with Hungary’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Péter Szijjártó, in Abu Dhabi. The two sides discussed ways to develop cooperation in a number of fields, including trade, economy, investment and renewable energy. They also reviewed an array of issues of common interest, as well as the latest regional and global developments, with a focus on the ongoing crisis in Sudan.
Monday, 8 May–Qatar’s Minister of State for International Cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Lolwah bint Rashid Al-Khater, held a virtual meeting with the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Mirjana Spoljaric. During the meeting, they discussed Qatar-ICRC cooperation in providing health assistance to the Sudanese people. Moreover, the two sides asserted the necessity of securing humanitarian corridors so that aid can reach the areas most affected by the fighting in Sudan.
Tuesday, 9 May–Bahrain’s Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Consular and Administrative Affairs, Mohammad Ali Bahzad, met with the Undersecretary of State for Internal and External Services at the Finnish Foreign Affairs Ministry, Pekka Puustinen, in Helsinki. The two sides discussed aspects of cooperation in the consular affairs and its development and joint commitment to strengthening cooperation in the field of citizen service. They also reviewed bilateral relations and ways to boost cooperation in several fields.
Tuesday, 9 May–Oman’s Minister of the Royal Office, Sultan Mohammed Al-Nuamani, received Iran’s Chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces, Mohammad Bagheri, in Muscat. The meeting aimed to review bilateral relations and to discuss ways to promote cooperation in several fields.
Tuesday, 9 May–Qatar’s Minister of State for International Cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Lolwah bint Rashid Al-Khater, met with Iran’s Ambassador to Qatar, Hamid Reza Dehghani, in Doha, to discuss bilateral cooperation and ways of supporting and developing them, as well as their cooperation in the development field in Afghanistan.
Tuesday, 9 May–Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, paid an official visit to Algeria, where he met with Algerian President, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, and with Foreign Minister, Ahmed Attaf. The meetings aimed to deepen bilateral relations and to discuss the most prominent developments in the regional and international arenas.
Tuesday, 9 May–The President of the Saudi Human Rights Commission (HRC), Hala Bint Mazyad Al-Tuwaijri, paid an official visit to The Hague, to discuss cooperation between Saudi Arabia and The Netherlands. In particular, President Al-Tuwaijri held talks with the Dutch Human Rights Ambassador Bahia Tahzib-Lie at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to explore prospects of bilateral cooperation and expertise exchange in the field of human rights.
Wednesday, 10 May–Bahrain’s Head of the Strategic Affairs Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nancy Jamal, received in Manama a delegation of experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), an intergovernmental organisation that promotes peaceful use of nuclear energy. They discussed current and future technical projects and Bahrain’s upcoming five-year plan.
Wednesday, 10 May–The UAE President, Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, met with the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, in Paris. The working visit aimed to consolidate the long-standing strategic partnership between the UAE and France, and to strengthen bilateral cooperation in various fields.
Wednesday, 10 May–The UAE Minister of State, Ahmed Al-Sayegh, met with Portuguese Secretary of State for International Trade and Foreign Investment at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Bernardo IVo Cruz, to discuss ways to enhance bilateral cooperation in the economic and commercial sectors, amongst others.