The Euro-Gulf Monitor

7 - 13 May 2021

by

Arnold Koka & Veronica Stigliani

5 Top Points

  1. Saudi Arabia and Iran confirmed talks on regional issues.

  2. Qatar’s Emir, Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, met with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman Al-Saud, in Jeddah.

  3. Bahrain agreed with Greece and Cyprus on the mutual recognition of COVID-19 vaccine certificates.

  4. The EU-Gulf relations stressed on the occasion of Europe’s Day.

  5. Kuwait and Spain eye closer cooperation amid talks in Madrid.

‘Round and About the Gulf

Kingdom of Bahrain

Thursday, 6 May—Bahrain agreed with Greece and Cyprus on the mutual recognition of COVID-19 vaccine certificates.

 

Wednesday, 12 May–Bahrain’s Central Bank (CBB) announced it will cooperate with JP Morgan and Arab Banking Corporation (Bank ABC) to provide cross-border digital currency payment solutions to streamline the transferring of funds.

State of Kuwait

Monday, 10 May–Kuwait announced the lifting of the partial curfew at the end of Ramadan. Commercial activities will now be open during daytime, with restrictions from 8 pm to 5 am. The country also announced that specific services, such as cinemas, will be open to those, who have received the COVID-19 vaccine.

Sultanate of Oman

Tuesday, 11 May–The Oman Telecommunications Company, Omantel, inked a deal with the British telecom company, Helios Towers, for a $575 million (USD) lease of 2,890 passive mobile tower infrastructures in the Sultanate. The agreement provisions the lease for 15 years with a renewal option and marks the entering of the British company into the Middle East market.

State of Qatar

Tuesday, 11 May–A Qatari tanker with liquefied natural gas (LNG) arrived in the UAE, in what is expected to be the Doha’s first LNG shipping to the UAE since May 2017. The cargo is expected to discharge in Jebel Ali port on 13 May.

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Friday, 7 May–Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry confirmed holding talks with Iran, aimed at easing tensions in the region, and cautioned over possible outcomes. According to reports, the talks covered the Yemen crisis and issues regarding the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

United Arab Emirates

Monday, 10 May–The United Arab Emirates established safe travel corridors with Bahrain and Serbia for those who have received the COVID-19 vaccine.

The EU Corner

Saturday, 8 May‒The Chair of the Joint Commission of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Deputy Secretary-General and Political Director of the European External Action Service, Enrique Mora, expressed a sense of urgency in continuing the works on the implementation of the Iran nuclear deal. The Commission has been gathering in Vienna since the beginning of April to discuss the revival of the accord.

 

Sunday, 9 May‒On the occasion of the Europe Day, the Head of the EU Delegation to Saudi Arabia, Oman and Bahrain, Patrick Simonnet, highlighted the importance of cooperation between Europe and the Gulf countries. Ambassador Simonnet confirmed the willingness of the EU to keep collaborating with Riyadh on the common goals in the fields of energy, regional stability, and counter-terrorism. On the same day, the Head of the EU Delegation to Kuwait and Qatar, Cristian Tudor, reminded the successes of the EU-Kuwait diplomacy in pursuing human rights, digital and energy transition, and development.

Key Official Visits

Sunday, 9 May–Sudan’s Chairman of the Sovereignty Council, Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, met in the UAE with Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan. They discussed developments in the Horn of Africa and East Africa, and reviewed bilateral cooperation to ensure security and stability in Sudan.

 

Monday, 10 May–Kuwait’s Foreign Minister, Ahmad Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah, was received by his Spanish counterpart, Arancha Gonzalez Laya, in Madrid. They discussed bilateral cooperation and signed a number of agreements on diplomatic cooperation and a mutual visa exemption treatment for diplomatic officials. Kuwait’s Foreign Minister also delivered a written message from Emir Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to Spanish King Philip VI.

 

Tuesday, 11 May–Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, met with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman Al-Saud, in Jeddah. They discussed Saudi-Qatari relations and the latest developments in the region, as well as means to advance their cooperation.

 

Tuesday, 11 May–Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, met with his Saudi counterpart, Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, in Mecca. They discussed Saudi-Turkish relations and developments in the Gaza strip, calling on the international community to halt the escalation of violence. The two Ministers also agreed to continue their dialogue on bilateral issues.

 

Tuesday, 11 May–Bahrain’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister, Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, visited the UAE, where he met with Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan. They reviewed bilateral ties and discussed developments in the region and in the Horn of Africa.