The Euro-Gulf Monitor
7 - 13 July 2023
by Elen'Alba Vitiello
5 Top Points
The 6th GCC-Russia joint ministerial meeting took place in Moscow.
The GCC and the UK held Free Trade Agreement talks in Riyadh.
Qatar will host the 2026 International Conference & Exhibition on liquified natural gas (LNG).
Brussels hosted the 2nd EU-Saudi expert level Senior Officials’ Meeting.
Saudi Arabia signed a Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
‘Round and About the Gulf
Kingdom of Bahrain
Sunday, 9 July–Bahrain’s Undersecretary for Policies, Strategies and Performance of the Ministry of Education, Nawal Ebrahim Ahmed Al-Khater, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Samsung Electronics’ representative, Doohee Lee, in Manama, Bahrain. Bahrain and Samsung Electronics will cooperate in the technology-use for delivering Bahrain’s goals in the digital empowerment and artificial intelligence fields.
Tuesday, 11 July–Bahrain Petroleum Company (Bapco Energies), in collaboration with Standard Chartered, a British multinational bank, launched its Sustainability-Linked Finance Framework to link the company’s financing with the decarbonisation goals, in line with Bahrain’s commitment to achieve Net-Zero by 2060.
State of Kuwait
Sunday, 9 July–The Kuwaiti-Saudi Arabian Joint Permanent Committee monitored the progress on their petroleum projects and developed means of communication that will facilitate oil projects related to the Neutral Zone and ensure the facilitation of work related to joint operations in the shared oil fields, which include Aramco Gulf Operations Company, Saudi Arabian Chevron, and Kuwait Gulf Oil Company, and their ability to face any emergency or exceptional circumstances.
Sultanate of Oman
Wednesday, 12 July–In the Khazaen Economic City of Oman, the foundation stone for the first Omani company to manufacture medicines and vaccines, the Opal Bio Pharma (OBP), was laid. The factory, worth estimated 60 million Omani Rials (about €139 million), is expected to start production in the last quarter of 2024 and aims to rely on local production of vaccines and reduce dependence on imports, particularly in times of crises and pandemics, and is in line with the national drug security goals.
State of Qatar
Monday, 10 July–Qatar will host the 2026 International Conference & Exhibition on liquified natural gas (LNG), coinciding with the start of Qatar’s $28.75 billion (about €26 billion) energy project, the largest of its kind in the energy industry, the North Field LNG expansion project. During a conference in Vancouver, Qatar’s Minister of Energy and QatarEnergy’s CEO, Saad bin Sherida Al-Kaabi, stated that Qatar will dominate 40% of the LNG market by 2029. Moreover, the CEO of QatarEnergy signed a 10 year deal with the Emirates National Oil Company Group (ENOC Group), a global energy company, that stipulates the supply of up to 120 million barrels of condensates to ENOC Group starting from July 2023.
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Monday, 10 July–Saudi Arabia’s Commerce Minister and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the General Authority for Foreign Trade, Majid bin Abdullah Al-Qasabi, chaired the fourth meeting on the Free Trade Agreement between the GCC countries and the UK, in Riyadh. This comes in preparation for the 17-28 July negotiations, which will be held in London and remotely.
Wednesday, 12 July–Saudi Arabia signed a Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC), a peace accord that establishes guidelines to govern inter-state relations, with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), in Dubai. Saudi Arabia became the 51st signatory. This comes in anticipation of the ASEAN-GCC summit that will take place in Riyadh in October 2023.
United Arab Emirates
Monday, 10 July–During the 8th session of the UAE-South Korea Joint Economic Committee (JEC) in Seoul, the UAE announced to invest $30 billion (about €27 billion) into South Korea’s key areas to bolster strategic cooperation. Both sides agreed to expand economic cooperation in 11 strategic sectors such as green economy, space, intellectual property, technology, as well as nuclear energy amongst others.
Wednesday, 12 July–Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) was in discussions to join US investor KKR&Co in a €23 billion bid for Telecom Italia SpA’s landline network. The Italian telecom company is in the process of selling the landline network to reduce its debt. No final decision has been taken on ADIA’s role of participation.
Wednesday, 12 July–The United Arab Emirates deposited $1 billion (about €908 million) to Pakistan’s Central Bank to support foreign exchange reserves.
Tuesday, 11 July–The second Senior Officials’ Meeting between the European Union and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia took place in Brussels, to further consolidate bilateral cooperation at experts level, and to build upon the implementation of the Cooperation Arrangement between the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia, which was launched during the first Senior Officials’ Meeting in Riyadh on 8 June 2022. This is in line with the EU Strategic Partnership with the Gulf.
Wednesday, 12 July–The European Union Special Representative for the Gulf Region, Luigi Di Maio, visited the Gulf region and held talks with the GCC Secretary General, Jasem Mohamed Al-Budaiwi, in Riyadh, in preparation for the upcoming EU-GCC Council in October 2023 to implement the EU-GCC strategic partnership.
Key Official Visits
Friday, 7 July–During his visit to Palestine, Oman’s Foreign Minister, Badr bin Hamad Al-Busaidi, held meetings with Palestinian Prime Minister, Mohammad Shtayyeh; Chairman of the Palestinian General Authority for Civil Affairs and Secretary of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, Hussain Al-Sheikh; and Head of the Intelligence Service, Majid Faraj. The meetings focused on bilateral relations and cooperation and on the international peace efforts and support for Palestine. Moreover, the two countries’ Foreign Ministers signed an agreement to establish a committee for consultation and bilateral cooperation.
Sunday, 9 July–Qatar’s State Minister, Mohammed bin Abdulaziz Al-Khulaifi, met with China’s Special Envoy on Middle East affairs, Zhai Jun, in Doha. The meeting focused on a shared commitment to coordination on pressing regional issues. Qatar’s Minister emphasised his country’s willingness to collaborate closely with China, and China’s Special Envoy expressed plans to make joint strides towards preserving peace and promoting stability.
Sunday, 9 July–Ahead of Turkïye’s President visit to Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, on 17-19 July, Turkïye’s Vice President, Cevdet Yilmaz, and his accompanying delegation met with Qatar’s Emir, Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, in Doha, to discuss cooperation and means of enhancing them, especially in the economic and investment field. The Governor of Qatar Central Bank (QCB), Bandar bin Mohammed Al-Thani, met with Turkïye’s Minister of Treasury Finance, Mehmet Simsek, to discuss the two countries' cooperation in the finance and banking.
Sunday, 9 July–Saudi Arabia's Minister of Energy, Abdulaziz bin Salman Al-Saud, held talks with France's Minister for Energy Transition, Agnes Pannier-Runacher, in Riyadh. During the meeting, they agreed on a collaborative partnership to boost cooperation in the electricity sector, to engage in joint efforts to promote nuclear energy cooperation and radioactive waste management management, as well as to promote sustainable supplies of energy.
Monday, 10 July–The 6th Joint Ministerial Meeting of the Strategic Dialogue between the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Russia took place in Moscow. The meeting, attended by all six GCC countries’ Foreign Ministers as well as the GCC Secretary-General, Jasem Mohammad Al-Budaiwi, was co-chaired by Oman’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Badr bin Hamad Al-Busaidi, and Russia’s Sergey Lavrov. They discussed a number of regional and international issues, such as the Russian-Ukrainian war and the grain deal for the grain supply through the Black Sea, and the maritime security in the region and how to address threats to international trade, and oil installations in the GCC countries.
Monday, 10 July–Qatar’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Soltan bin Saad Al-Muraikhi, met with Russian President’s Special Representative for Middle East and African Countries, Mikhail Bogdanov, on the sidelines of the 6th Joint Ministerial Meeting of the Strategic Dialogue between the GCC and Russia, in Moscow. They discussed bilateral cooperation.
Tuesday, 11 July–The Kuwait Interior Ministry’s Undersecretary, Anwar Al-Barjas, held talks with Bahrain’s Interior Minister, Rashid bin Abdullah Al-Khalifa, in Manama. They discussed the exchange of expertise and bilateral cooperation, and reviewed regional security cooperation.
Wednesday, 12 July–The Human Resources Chief of Staff Assistant of the Bahrain Defence Force (BDF), Ali bin Rashid Al-Khalifa, met with United States’ Commanding General of the Army Central (ARCENT), Patrick D Frank, in Manama, to discuss Bahrain-US military cooperation.
Wednesday, 12 July–The UAE’s President of the Supreme Audit Institution, Humaid Obaid Abushibs, held talks with Oman’s Chairman of the State Audit Institution, Ghuson Hilal Al-Alawi, in Muscat, Oman. The visit came within the framework of promoting cooperation and exchanging experiences in audition, promotion of integrity, building capacities to achieve common interests.
Wednesday, 12 July–The UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Trade, Thani bin Ahmed Al-Zeyoudi, met his French counterpart, Olivier Becht, to explore ways to accelerate the growing curve of the trade ties between the two countries. The non-oil bilateral trade amounted to $8.3 billion (about €7.5 billion) in 2022, a 20.4% rise compared to 2021.
Wednesday, 12 July–Kuwait’s Minister of Foreign affairs, Salem Abdullah Al-Sabah, met with the UK Secretary of State for Investment at the Department of Business and International Trade, Dominic Johnson, in Kuwait. During the meeting, they reviewed UK-Kuwait strategic partnership and ways to strengthen and develop them in the financial and investment sector. They discussed new fields of cooperation and explored ways to develop the available incentives aimed at encouraging and attracting investors and British companies to invest and establish their business in Kuwait.
Thursday, 13 July–The UAE’s Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and COP28 President-Designate, Ahmed Al Jaber, participated in a high-level discussions on climate and finance, alongside the United States’ President, Joe Biden, United Kingdom’s King Charles III, in the UK aiming to advance innovative climate finance and deliver climate action and a just energy transition.
Thursday, 13 July–Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Minister for International Multilateral Affairs, Abdulrahman bin Ibrahim Al-Rassi, met with Italian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Roberto Cantone, in Riyadh, to discuss bilateral relations and ways to strengthen them.