The Euro-Gulf Monitor

8 - 14 July 2022

by Arnold Koka & Veronica Stigliani

5 Top Points

  1. US President started his first tour to the Middle East, visiting Israel and Saudi Arabia.

  2. Bahrain will reportedly purchase drones and anti-drones systems from Israel.

  3. Leaders of the UAE, US, India and Israel pledged cooperation in food and energy.

  4. EU, Saudi Arabia and the UAE discussed Iran’s nuclear file on the sidelines of the G20.

  5. Oman’s Sultan Haitham bin Tarik Al-Said travelled to Germany.

‘Round and About the Gulf

Kingdom of Bahrain

Tuesday, 12 July–Bahrain will reportedly purchase unmanned aircraft and anti-drones systems from Israel as part of the expanding bilateral defence cooperation. The two countries’ intelligence agencies are reportedly collaborating in training the Kingdom’s military personnel in operating drones amid rising concerns over unmanned aircraft and missile attacks by Iran-backed militias in the region.

State of Kuwait

Tuesday, 12 July–Genesis Middle East, a subsidiary of Korean electric car manufacturer Genesis, announced it will invest €50 million (EUR) in developing strategic projects in Kuwait, while also opening a new service centre along with the Northern Gulf Trading Group. The plan seeks to increase the firm’s business opportunities as well as the electric transport sector in Kuwait.

Sultanate of Oman

Saturday, 9 July–Oman announced it will repay €1.3 billion (EUR) in loans ahead of schedule, as the country seeks to use the increased oil prices to reduce its public debt. The move is expected to save about €330 million (EUR) through cutting interests’ costs, which are planned to be invested in development projects.

State of Qatar

Tuesday, 12 July–Qatar’s Ministry of Interior and the US Department of Homeland Security signed a number of agreements to cooperate on security issues, including securing the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Doha. The two institutions will establish a Joint Security Program to identify individuals linked to terrorism and drug-trafficking, thwart drone threats, enhance cybersecurity and border and port security in Qatar. 

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Thursday, 14 July–Saudi Arabia will reportedly allow all commercial flights departing from Israel to fly over its airspace, while also permitting direct charter flights for Israeli Muslims to participate in the Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca. The plan is expected to be announced during the visit of US President, Joe Biden, to the Kingdom. Currently, Riyadh allows Israeli flights to fly over its airspace if directed to Bahrain or the UAE.

United Arab Emirates

Wednesday, 13 July–The UAE’s President, Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, gave his first televised address to the nation, outlining the country’s objectives for energy, economy and security. The Emirati President pledged to support global energy security, to enhance the UAE’s economic diversification process and boost the private sector’s competitiveness, as well as to ensure regional security.

Thursday, 14 July–Leaders of the UAE, India, Israel and the US announced multi-billion collaboration projects in the sectors of food and energy security during the first ‘I2U2’ leders’ summit, that groups the four countries. The projects will include a UAE-India €2 billion (EUR) worth plan to develop food parks across India, which will reduce food waste and use green energy. The leaders also pledged to support developing connections and partnerships resulting from the Abraham Accords.

The EU Corner

Friday, 8 July—On the sidelines of the G20 summit in Indonesia, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, held separate meetings with the Foreign Ministers of Saudi Arabia and of the UAE, Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud and Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, respectively. The meetings focused on ways to strengthen EU-GCC cooperation in energy, Iran’s nuclear programme, food security, and environmental protection.

 

Monday, 11 July—The Head of the Saudi Mission to the European Union (EU), Saad Mohammed Alarify, met with the Chief Foreign Policy Advisor to the President of the European Council, Simon Mordue, and with the Advisor on Africa and Middle East to the President of the European Council, Manon Barthod. They discussed deepening EU-Saudi Arabia relations in several fields through the promotion of bilateral meetings and events.

 

Tuesday, 12 July—The UAE Minister for International Cooperation, Reem Al-Hashimi, paid an official visit to Brussels, to explore ways to deepen EU-UAE partnership in several fields, such as trade, energy, security, and sustainable development. Minister Al-Hashimi met with the Vice-President for Promoting the European Way of Life of the European Commission, Margaritis Schinas, the Advisor on Africa and Middle East to the President of the European Council, Manon Barthod, the EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Oliver Varhelyi, and the Secretary General of the EU External Action Service (EEAS), Stefano Sannino.

 

Tuesday, 12 July—The European External Action Service (EEAS) Deputy Managing Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Carl Hallergard, chaired a meeting gathering the Ambassadors of the GCC countries and Yemen in Brussels. The discussion focused on ways to implement the EU Joint Communication on a ‘Partnership with the Gulf’ released in May.

 

Key Official Visits

Friday, 8 July–Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister and Chief Nuclear Negotiator, Ali Bagheri-Kani, travelled to Muscat, where he was received by Oman’s Foreign Minister, Badr bin Hamad Al-Busaidi. They discussed developments in Iran’s nuclear file and Omani-Iranian cooperation in regional security.

 

Friday, 8 July–Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister, Khalid bin Mohammed Al-Attiyah, was received by his Italian counterpart, Lorenzo Guerini, in Rome. They reviewed Qatari-Italian strategic defence cooperation and security developments in the region. During the visit, Italian shipbuilding company, Fincantieri, delivered the second Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) to Qatar, part of a €4 billion (EUR) worth deal signed between Rome and Doha.

 

Tuesday, 12 July–Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, travelled to Paris for a meeting with his French counterpart, Catherine Colonna. The talks focused on the revival of the Iran nuclear deal, as well as developments in Afghanistan, Chad, Lebanon, Libya, Palestine and Ukraine.

 

Wednesday, 13 July–US President, Joe Biden, kicked off his first tour of the Middle East, during which he will visit Israel and Saudi Arabia. Accompanied by the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, President Biden will meet with leaders of the GCC, Egypt, Jordan and Iraq at a summit in Jeddah. The talks will focus on a regional coalition to counter Iran, Tehran’s nuclear programme, energy and food security, Israeli-Arab relations and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In Tel Aviv, the US President met with his Israeli counterpart, Isaac Herzog, and Prime Minister, Yair Lapid. The US leader will also meet with Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas.

 

Wednesday, 13 July–Oman’s Sultan Haitham bin Tarik Al-Said travelled to Berlin for a meeting with Germany’s Chancellor, Olaf Scholz. The two leaders discussed Omani-German collaboration in energy, economy, investment, science and technology as well as the Iranian nuclear deal. They also hailed their developing cultural partnership and the 50 year anniversary of diplomatic relations.