The Euro-Gulf Monitor
8 - 13 September 2023
by Elen'Alba Vitiello
5 Top Points
1. The European Council’s President discussed cooperation with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister in New Delhi.
2. Oman and the UAE participated as observers at the G20 Summit in New Delhi.
3. Saudi Arabia and the UAE became founding partners of the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC).
4. The UAE joined the newly created Global Biofuel Alliance (GBA) and established the Centre for Climate Diplomacy.
5. Italian Prime Minister travelled to Qatar to discuss cooperation in investment, defence, energy and illegal migration.
‘Round and About the Gulf
Kingdom of Bahrain
Sunday, 10 September–The first training session of women volunteers at the Reserve Force of the Bahrain Defence Force took place.
Monday, 11 September–In October 2023, Bahrain’s Equal Opportunities Committee at SICO Bank and the Gender Balance Centre at the Secretariat-General of the Supreme Council of Women (SCW) will launch a “Trading in Financial Markets” programme, aimed at creating job opportunities for Bahraini women.
State of Kuwait
Sunday, 10 September–Kuwait’s government programme for the legislative term 2023-2027, titled ‘Correcting the Path: A productive Economy and Sustainable Prosperity’, which prioritises development and reform, was presented to the National Assembly. The plan includes a number of projects aiming to achieve economic diversity, improve performance, and tackle challenges facing Kuwait’s economy.
Sultanate of Oman
Saturday, 9 September–Oman’s Deputy Prime Minister, Asaad bin Tariq Al-Said, represented Oman as an observer state at the two-day G20 Summit in India.
State of Qatar
Tuesday, 12 September–Qatar acted as a mediator for the prisoner swap deal between the United States and Iran, which will include a waiver allowing banks to transfer $6 billion (about €5.6 billion) in frozen Iranian funds to Qatar to swap five imprisoned US citizens with 5 Iranian nationals.
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Sunday, 10 September–Saudi Arabia and the UAE became the founding partners of the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC), alongside the European Union, France, Germany, India, Italy, and the United States. Established on the side-lines of the G20 summit in New Delhi, the IMEC aims to facilitate the transit of renewable electricity and clean hydrogen via transmission cables and pipelines, as well as goods and services transport through rail linkages between India, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel, and Europe.
Tuesday, 12 September—Saudi Arabia’s new Ambassador to Iran, Abdullah bin Saud Al-Enezi, resumed duties after his arrival in Tehran, where he welcomed by some senior Iranian officials.
United Arab Emirates
Saturday, 9 September–President Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan represented the UAE as an observer state at the G20 Summit in India. On the sidelines, the UAE together with Finland, Italy, the USA, among others, joined the Global Biofuel Alliance (GBA), a new organisation aimed at promoting the development and adoption of sustainable biofuels.
Monday, 11 September–Ahead of the COP28, the UAE launched the Centre for Climate Diplomacy, which will aim to inform UAE policy makers and serve as a regional hub for research on climate change and diplomacy. The Centre was created by Anwar Gargash Diplomatic Academy in collaboration with the Emirati sovereign wealth fund, Mubadala, and with the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC).
Friday, 8 September–The EU and Qatar held the fifth Human Rights Dialogue in Doha. The meeting was co-chaired by the Head of the Middle East and North Africa division at the European Union External Action (EEAS), Anna-Maria Panagiotakopoulou, and Qatar’s Director of the Human Rights Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Turi Abdulla Al-Mahmour. They exchanged views on the human rights situation in Qatar, focusing on women, migrant workers, freedom of religion, and refugee policies in Europe, and reiterated mutual commitment to further strengthening bilateral cooperation.
Sunday, 10 September–On the sidelines of the G20 Summit in New Delhi, the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, held talks with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister, Mohammed bin Salman Al-Saud, about ways to enhance EU-Saudi Arabia cooperation.
Tuesday, 12 September–The Director-General of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Energy, Ditte Juul Jørgensen, concluded her visit to the UAE, aimed at strengthening EU-UAE energy diplomacy ahead of the COP28 in Dubai and to follow up on the recent meeting of Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, and UAE’s President, Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan. During the visit, Ditte Juul Jørgensen explored opportunities for EU-UAE energy collaboration to stimulate economic growth and accelerate investments in clean technologies.
Key Official Visits
Saturday, 9 September–Kuwait’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, Ahmad Fahad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, met with French Minister of the Armed Forces, Sebastien Lecornu, to discuss boosting bilateral military cooperation and review regional and international affairs.
Saturday, 9 September–Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister, Mohammed bin Salman Al-Saud, held a phone call with Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, regarding bilateral cooperation and the current status of the Russian war in Ukraine.
Sunday, 10 September–Bahrain’s Finance and National Economy Minister, Salman bin Khalifa Al-Khalifa, received the Gulf Cooperation Council Secretary-General, Jassem Mohamed Albudaiwi, in Manama. During the meeting, the two sides discussed ways of further bolstering economic and financial cooperation, among other issues of common interest.
Sunday, 10 September– Italian Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, met with Qatar’s Emir, Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, and Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al-Thani, in Doha. During the meeting they discussed ways to enhance bilateral cooperation in the economic, investment, defence and energy fields as well as in the fight against illegal migration.
Sunday, 10 September–Qatar’s Emir, Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, met with Libya's Head of the Government of National Unity, Abdul Hamid Mohammed Al-Dbeiba, in Qatar. They discussed bilateral relations and aspects of developing and strengthening them. The Emir reiterated Qatar’s full support for the Libyan UN-backed political process.
Monday, 11 September–the Director-General of the Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD), Khalifa bin Jassem Al-Kuwari, met with the Sudanese Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Albino Akol Atak, to discuss joint cooperation.
Tuesday, 12 September–Kuwait’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, Ahmad Fahad Al-Sabah, held talks with Hungary’s Secretary of State for Defence, Tamas Vargha, in Kuwait. They discussed bilateral cooperation and ways to enhance them on all levels.
Tuesday, 12 September–Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister, Mohammed bin Salman Al-Saud, travelled to Muscat where he met with Oman’s Sultan, Haitham bin Tariq Al-Said. They reiterated their determination to move forward with the existing bilateral cooperation.
Tuesday, 12 September–The UAE’s President, Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, met with Nigeria’s President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in Abu Dhabi, to reinforce ties in sustainable economic growth, energy, and climate sectors.
Wednesday, 13 September–Bahrain and the United States signed the Comprehensive Security Integration and Prosperity Agreement during the visit of Bahraini Crown Prince and Prime Minister, Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani, and National Security Advisor, Nasser bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, to Washington, DC. The Agreement deepens Bahraini-US security, defence, economic and scientific and technical cooperation.
Wednesday, 13 September–Saudi Arabia’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Waleed Abdulkarim El-Khereiji, received a delegation from the German Foreign Ministry, led by the Director of the Middle East and North Africa, Tobias Tonkel, and the Director for Export Control, Gudrun Lingner, in Riyadh. They reviewed aspects of bilateral relations and ways to enhance areas of cooperation. Tonkel highlighted Germany’s commitment to strengthen its relations with Saudi Arabia.