The Euro-Gulf Monitor
6 August – 2 September 2021
Arnold Koka & Veronica Stigliani
5 Top Points
A regional summit in Baghdad gathered high-ranking officials from France, Iraq, Iran, Jordan, Qatar and Saudi Arabia to discuss crises in the Middle East.
Leaders of Egypt and Qatar held their first meeting since the end of the diplomatic dispute.
UAE’s National Security Advisor flew to Ankara and Doha for talks with Turkey’s President and Qatar’s Emir.
Oman steps up efforts to develop a national hydrogen industry.
Kuwait will cut the budget of all public institutions by at least 10%.
Saudi Arabia and Russia inked a military cooperation agreement.
‘Round and About the Gulf
Kingdom of Bahrain
Tuesday, 24 August–Bahrain’s Diplomatic Advisor to King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, Khalid bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa, announced that the Synagogue of Manama restored Shabbat prayers after 74 years.
State of Kuwait
Tuesday, 17 August–Kuwait’s Government decreed a budget cut of at least 10% for all government entities. The measure comes as part of the country’s aim to bridge its state budget deficit. Two days later, Kuwait’s Minister of Finance, Khalifa Hamada, resigned from his ministerial position.
Sultanate of Oman
Thursday, 12 August–Oman established an alliance of 13 private and public institutions to develop a national hydrogen industry. The strategy is part of the wider economic diversification programme in line with the Oman Vision 2040 and includes oil and gas companies, research institutes as well public agencies.
State of Qatar
Sunday, 22 August–Qatar announced it will hold the first legislative elections to its Shura Council on 2 October 2021. The Council consists of 45 members, of which 30 will be appointed through elections, while Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani will appoint the remaining 15.
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Tuesday, 31 August–Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Competition approved a joint venture in the aviation manufacturing sector between the Saudi Arabian Industrial Investments Company (Dussur), the Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) and French FIGEAC Aero in a bid to develop local aviation industry. The companies will build the first facility for manufacturing aircraft components in the Kingdom.
Wednesday, 1 September–Saudi Arabia’s branch of HSBC bank launched the first environmental investment fund in the country.
United Arab Emirates
Tuesday, 24 August–Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) signed a $1 billion (USD) framework agreement for engineering services with 8 major international companies. The deals were signed with AMEC International Ltd, Fluor, McDermott, Mott MacDonald, SNC-Lavalin International Arabia Limited – Abu Dhabi, Technip Energies, Worley, and a Tecnicas Reunidas-NPCC joint venture. The deals will be valid for the 2021-2026 period.
Tuesday, 31 August–The UAE’s President, Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, issued a federal law to establish a National Human Rights Institution in the country.
The EU Corner
Wednesday, 25 August‒The Head of the EU Delegation to Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Oman, Patrick Simonnet, presented his credentials to the King of Bahrain, Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa. Ambassador Simmonet also met with the Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Member of the Council of Ministers, Adel Al-Jubair, to discuss bilateral relations.
Friday, 27 August‒The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, had a phone call with the Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, to discuss the developments in Afghanistan. The call focused on the EU’s role in the ongoing crisis and on the possibility of establishing diplomatic relations with the Taliban.
Wednesday, 1 September‒The EU condemned the drone attack on Saudi Arabia’s Abha airport by by the Houthis, declaring that such offensives undermine the resolution of the ongoing Yemeni conflict as well as regional stability.
Key Official Visits
Thursday, 19 August–Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, received the UAE’s National Security Advisor, Tahnoun bin Zayed Al-Nayhan, in Ankara. They discussed Emirati-Turkish relations in the fields of economy, transportation, health and energy. A week later, the UAE’s National Security Advisor met with Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani in Doha to discuss bilateral cooperation in economy and trade, as well as coordinated investment plans.
Tuesday, 24 August–Delegations from Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE participated in the International Military-Technical Forum “Army 2020” organised by Russia’s Ministry of Defence. Bahrain’s Defence Minister, Lieutenant-General Abdullah bin Hassan Al-Nuaimi, discussed defence cooperation with Russia’s First Deputy Defence Minister, Ruslan Tsalikov. Following a meeting between Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Defence Minister, Khalid bin Salman Al-Saud, and Russia’s Defence Minister, Sergei Shoigu, Riyadh and Moscow inked a military cooperation agreement. A delegation from the Emirati Ministry of Defence was also present.
Saturday, 28 August–Iraq and France co-organised a regional summit in Baghdad, to discuss unfolding regional crises, notably the ones in Yemen and Lebanon, and water security issues. The summit gathered French President, Emmanuel Macron, Egypt’s President, Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, Jordan’s King Abdullah II, Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, Iraq’s Prime Minister, Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, and Foreign Ministers of Saudi Arabia and Iran, Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud and Mohammad Javad Zarif. On the sidelines of the event, the Qatari and Egyptian leaders held their first meeting since the end of their diplomatic dispute.
Wednesday, 1 September–Foreign Ministers of Germany and the Netherlands, Heiko Maas and Sigrid Kaag, held separate meetings with their Qatari counterpart, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, in Doha. The discussions covered the unfolding crisis in Afghanistan, with particular reference to the management of migration flows and the need to aid refugees.
Wednesday, 1 September–Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Investment, Khalid bin Abdul Aziz Al-Falih, met in Muscat with Omani Minister of Heritage and Tourism, Salim bin Mohammed Al-Mahrouqi. They discussed investment opportunities in the areas of petrochemicals, healthcare and green energy. On the same day, the Omani-Saudi Investment Forum and the Joint Saudi-Omani Business Council signed a number of bilateral investment cooperation deals.