The Euro-Gulf Monitor

8 - 13 January 2022

by

Arnold Koka & Veronica Stigliani

5 Top Points

  1. Foreign Ministers from the Gulf, Iran and Turkey travelled to China.

  2. The UAE will join the Saudi-French Fund for Lebanon established in December 2021.

  3. Oman and the UK launched a Sovereign Investment Partnership.

  4. Kuwait announced the construction of a new international airport.

  5. EU Commissioner Hahn discussed EU’s recovery plan and investment opportunities with UAE officials.

‘Round and About the Gulf

Kingdom of Bahrain

Sunday, 9 January–Israel’s Ambassador to Bahrain, Eitan Na'eh, announced that Tel Aviv began importing aluminum from Manama. Details of the trade were not disclosed. The Ambassador also pointed out that the two countries will sign a deal on a sea-air transhipment process.

State of Kuwait

Monday, 10 January–The Kuwait Gulf Oil Company (KGOC) signed a deal with Saudi Arabian Chevron for exportation of surplus gas from the Wafra Joint Operations area, located in the partitioned zone between the two countries. The export is expected to reach eighty to a hundred million cubic feet in four years.

 

Monday, 10 January–Kuwait will build a new international airport in the north of the country. In November 2021, the Gulf state had announced a €7.1 billion (EUR) worth plan for strategic projects which sought to develop its main airport located in Kuwait’s southern area.

 

Sultanate of Oman

Wednesday, 12 January–Oman and the United Kingdom (UK) signed a Sovereign Investment Partnership to drive joint strategic investment in sectors such as clean energy and technology. The deal was signed by British Minister for Investment, Gerry Grimstone, and President of the Oman Investment Authority, Abdulsalam Al Murshidi, in London. The agreement is part of the British efforts to expand business ties with the Gulf countries. 

State of Qatar

Tuesday, 11 January–Qatar announced it reached an agreement with Pakistan to finalise its first direct investment in the country’s energy sector by the end of January 2022. Qatar Energy had bid for the acquisition of a 49 percent stake in a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal under construction in November 2021.

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Thursday, 13 January–The three-days Future Minerals Forum was held in Riyadh. The event gathered Ministers of Industry, Energy and Mineral Resources from Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar and Yemen, as well representatives from China, France, Russia, the UK and the US. During the conference, Riyadh’s Investment Minister, Khalid Al-Falih, announced that the Saudi investment in the mineral sector will grow by 150 percent in the next ten years and that a 14,000 km railway will be built across the country.

United Arab Emirates

Tuesday, 11 January–France’s Foreign Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, stated that the UAE will join the Saudi-French Fund to support Lebanon. The Fund was established as a result of the talks about the Gulf-Lebanese diplomatic tensions during visit of the French President, Emmanuel Macron, to Saudi Arabia in December 2021.

 

Wednesday, 12 January–The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) is expected to produce 85 percent of Abu Dhabi’s clean electricity by 2025.

The EU Corner

Tuesday, 11 January‒The Saudi Deputy Minister for Public Diplomacy, Fahad Abualnasr, and the Head of the EU Delegation to Saudi Arabia, Patrick Simonnet, met in Riyadh. They discussed developments in the region from a bilateral perspective and reviewed Saudi-EU relations.

 

Thursday, 13 January‒ The Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Nayef Falah Al-Hajraf, received the Head of the EU Delegation to Saudi Arabia, Patrick Simonnet, and Ambassadors of the European Union member states in Riyadh. They explored ways to boost political and economic dialogue between the EU countries and the GCC states.

 

Wednesday, 12 January‒The EU Commissioner for Budget and Administration, Johannes Hahn, travelled to the UAE to present the EU Recovery Plan to senior government ministers and to financial institutions’ representatives. Commissioner Hahn met, for example, with UAE’s Minister of State for Financial Affairs, Mohamed Hadi Al-Hussaini, to discuss the EU stimulus package to face the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and to explore investment opportunities for a more sustainable and digital economy.

Key Official Visits

Monday, 10 January–China held separate talks with high-level delegations from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Iran and Turkey, visiting the country between 10 and 15 January. The delegations were led by GCC’s Secretary General, Nayef bin Falah Al-Hajraf, and Foreign Ministers of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Saudi Arabia, who met with their Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi. The talks focused on the Iran Nuclear Deal, regional and international security, a GCC-China Free Trade Agreement (FTA), energy cooperation, and expanding strategic economic relations.

 

Monday, 10 January–Kuwait’s Foreign Minister, Ahmed Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Sabah, visited Nicosia, where he met with Cyprus President, Nicos Anastasiades, and Foreign Minister, Nikos Christodoulides. They discussed cooperation in trade and economy, EU-Kuwait relations and developments in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and Yemen. The two countries also signed two deals—on the establishment of a joint committee for cooperation and on prevention of illicit trafficking of antiquities.

 

Tuesday, 11 January–Iranian Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, toured Oman and Qatar to discuss developments in nuclear negotiations held in Vienna. In Muscat, the Iranian Minister met with Omani Deputy Prime Minister, Fahd bin Mahmoud Al-Said, reviewing political, economic and cultural relations, as well as developments in Yemen. In Doha, the Minister met with Qatar’s Emir, Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, reviewing bilateral relations and coordination on regional issues.

 

Tuesday, 11 January–Algeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ramtane Lamamra, travelled to Riyadh for a meeting with his Saudi counterpart, Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud. The two ministers reviewed Saudi-Algerian relations and political coordination. Minister Lamamra also delivered a message from Algerian President, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, to King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud.