The Euro-Gulf Monitor

5 - 11 November 2021

by

Arnold Koka & Veronica Stigliani

5 Top Points

  1. Kuwait’s Government resigned for the second time in a year.

  2. Bahrain launched its 2022-2026 tTourism Sstrategy, aiming to attract 14 million tourists by 2026.

  3. The UAE and Syria held talks in the highest-level meeting since 2011.

  4. The 10th EU-Kuwait Inter-parliamentary Meeting took place in Kuwait City.

  5. Saudi Arabia signed a long-term partnership with UNESCO to develop sites in Al-‘Ula.

‘Round and About the Gulf

Kingdom of Bahrain

Monday, 8 November–Bahrain launched its 2022-2026 Tourism Strategy, which will aim to attract over 14 million tourists to the country by the end of the period. The strategy aims to develop and diversify tourist attractions while also facilitating the entry into the Kingdom, as part of Bahrain’s wider effort to diversify its economic revenues.

State of Kuwait

Monday, 8 November–Kuwait's Cabinet resigned for the second time this year amid a months-long parliamentary standoff with opposition lawmakers. The deadlock was caused by the opposition’s criticism over the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and alleged corruption. In early October, Kuwait’s Emir launched national dialogue between the Government and National Assembly representatives to resolve the political stalemate.

Sultanate of Oman

Tuesday, 9 November–Oman’s Ministry of Finance announced it will reduce fees for 548 government services by January 2022. The move seeks to ease private companies’ activities related to public facilities, incentivising the private sector and stimulating investments in the Sultanate. Service fees will be reduced between 17%-96%.

State of Qatar

Sunday, 7 November–Qatar ordered six new liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers from two South Korean Shipyards. Four vessels were ordered from Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering and two from Samsung Heavy Industries. The purchase is part of Doha’s strategy to boost its LNG output from its current 77 million tonnes per annum up to 110 million by 2026.

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Wednesday, 10 November–Saudi Arabia’s Royal Commission for Al-‘Ula (RCU), inked a long-term strategic deal with UNESCO. The agreement aims to develop the Kingdom’s cultural heritage and protect Al-‘Ula’s historical sites, through expertise exchange between local and international professionals. The deal is part of Riyadh’s efforts to develop its cultural, historical and touristic sites.

United Arab Emirates

Tuesday, 9 November–The UAE and Bahrain agreed to establish a joint investment fund and to strengthen cooperation in various fields including politics, security, trade, tourism, environment and energy. To boost economic ties, they plan to connect their commercial registries and create a UAE investors’ centre in Bahrain. The announcement came during talks between Bahrain’s Prime Minister and Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa and Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan in the UAE.

The EU Corner

Friday, 5 November–Kuwait City hosted the 10th EU-Kuwait Inter-parliamentary meeting between the EU Delegation for Relations with the Arabian Peninsula and Kuwait’s Foreign Affairs Committee. The discussion focused on bilateral relations, economic and parliamentary cooperation, as well as on the regional situation, considering developments in Iraq, Yemen and GCC-Iran relations. During their visit, the EU representatives also met with the Head of the National Office for Human Rights, Jassem Al-Mubarki.

 

Monday, 8 November–The Head of the EU Delegation to Kuwait, Cristian Tudor, met with the Kuwaiti Assistant Foreign Minister for International Organisations, Abdulaziz Al-Jarallah, to discuss EU-Kuwait compliance with the regional and global agenda of the international community.

 

Key Official Visits

Friday, 5 November—The United Kingdom’s (UK) Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, visited Oman as the British Armed Forces carried out joint land, sea and air military exercises with the Omani Forces. On the occasion, Wallace met with Oman’s Deputy Prime Minister for Defence Affairs, Shihab bin Tariq Al-Said, and discussed the future of Omani-British military partnership. Oman is one of the British Army’s Land Regional Hubs.

Tuesday, 9 November–Italy’s Minister for Economic Development, Giancarlo Giorgetti, visited Doha, where he met with Qatar’s Prime Minister, Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al-Thani, as well as with the Ministers of Energy, Finance, Transports, Commerce and Industry. Talks covered bilateral investments in infrastructures for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and the economic costs of the transition towards ‘green’ energy, among others.

Tuesday, 9 November–The UAE’s Foreign Minister, Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, toured Syria, Cyprus and Jordan. In Damascus, he was received by Syrian President, Bashar Al-Assad, in the highest-level bilateral engagement since 2011. They discussed developments in the country, with the UAE stressing its support for Syria’s stability. The same day, the UAE’s Foreign Minister travelled to Cyprus, meeting with his Cypriot counterpart, Nikos Christodoulides, to discuss developments in the Eastern Mediterranean and EXPO 2020 Dubai. On Wednesday, Abdullah bin Zayed arrived in Amman for a meeting with his Jordanian counterpart, Ayman Safadi, centred on cooperation in economy, tourism, culture and defence.

 

Tuesday, 9 November—Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, met with United Nations Envoy to Syria, Geir Pedersen, to discuss political efforts to resolve the Syrian crisis and boosting cooperation between the UN and Saudi Arabia.

 

Thursday, 11 November–A delegation of members of the US Congress visited Doha, meeting with Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani. Talks covered strategic cooperation and developments in the Gulf ahead of the 4th annual US-Qatar Strategic Dialogue, which will be held on 12 November in Washington. The Dialogue, co-chaired by Qatar’s Foreign Minister, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, and US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, will focus on strategic cooperation in counter-terrorism, defence, energy and economy.