The Euro-Gulf Monitor

8 - 15 April 2021

by

Arnold Koka & Veronica Stigliani

5 Top Points

  1. Germany, France, the UK, Russia, China, and Iran resumed talks in Vienna over JCPOA.

  2. The United States will proceed with the $23 billion arms sale to the UAE following a review.

  3. Saudi Arabia inaugurated its first utility scale renewable energy project and announced seven new solar power projects.

  4. Libya and the UAE discussed cooperation in restoring stability in the country.

  5. Turkey aims to increase trade with Kuwait to $1 billion (USD).

‘Round and About the Gulf

Kingdom of Bahrain

Thursday, 8 April–Bahrain concluded the ‘Neon Defender 21’ maritime drill, jointly conducted by the Bahrain Defence Force and the US Naval Forces Central Command. The exercise aimed at increasing military cooperation and exchange expertise on land and naval operations with the aim of supporting regional security.

State of Kuwait

Wednesday, 14 April–Kuwait’s Central Bank announced it has requested local financial institutions to appoint Kuwaiti citizens in leadership positions to boost the ‘Kuwaitisation’ process. Banks now have until 2023 to ensure that Kuwaitis occupy at least 70% of their leadership positions.

Sultanate of Oman

Thursday, 8 April–Oman’s stock exchange appointed two women from the Oman Investment Authority, Samra Sulaiman Alharthy and Mathla Saleh Al-Shaqsi, to its seven-member board, as part of efforts to enhance gender diversity in the institution and in the Sultanate’s top management positions.

State of Qatar

Thursday, 15 April–Qatar’s Cabinet approved a draft law that will allow foreign investors to have full ownership of companies listed on the Qatar Stock Exchange. The move is expected to generate inflows of more than $1.5 billion (USD) into the companies.

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Thursday, 8 April–Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman Al-Saud, inaugurated the Kingdom’s first utility scale renewable energy project, ‘Sakaka,’ with a 300 megawatt capacity, built by ACWA Power-led consortium. He also announced plans for additional seven solar power projects in Jeddah, Madinah, Qurayyat, Rabigh, Rafha, Shuaiba and Sudair, which will be financed by twelve Saudi and international private companies.

 

Friday, 9 April–A consortium led by the EIG Global Energy Partners inked a $12.4 billion agreement with Saudi Aramco to acquire a 49% stake in the newly established subsidiary, Aramco Oil Pipelines Co. The deal includes usage rights in Aramco’s stabilised crude oil pipeline network for 25 years and tariff payments for oil transported through it.

United Arab Emirates

Wednesday, 14 April–The United States will proceed with the $23 billion (USD) arms sale to the UAE, suspended in January 2021 due to a review by the incoming Biden Administration. The UAE will acquire 50 F-35 aircrafts, 18 MQ-9B armed drones and other products by General Atomics, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon Technologies. The delivery is estimated to arrive after 2025.

 

The EU Corner

Friday, 9 April—The Joint Commission of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) met in Vienna to resume talks on the implementation of the Iran nuclear deal. The Commission, chaired by the Deputy Secretary General and Political Director of the European External Action Service, Enrique Mora, gathered officials from China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and Iran, who discussed the possible return of the United States into the accord.

 

Tuesday, 13 April—The Head of the EU Delegation to Kuwait, Cristian Tudor, held a meeting with the Chairman of the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mohammed Jassem Al-Sage, discussing economic cooperation between the EU and Kuwait in light of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Wednesday, 14 April—The President of the Saudi Human Rights Commission (HRC), Awwad bin Saleh Al-Awwad, held two separate meetings with the Head of the EU Delegation to Saudi Arabia, Patrick Simonnet, and the French Ambassador to the Kingdom, Ludovic Pouille. The discussions focused on ways to enhance cooperation in the field of human rights within the framework of Saudi Vision 2030. In particular, the HRC President highlighted the recent decrees aimed at improving the conditions of workers and women. 

 

Key Official Visits

Thursday, 8 April–Libya’s interim Prime Minister, Abdul Hamid Mohammed Dbeibeh, arrived to the UAE for a meeting with Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan. They discussed developments in Libya and cooperation in restoring security and stability in the country, preparations for elections and developing Libyan economy. Two days earlier, the Greek Prime Minister visited Tripoli and on 12 April, Dbeibeh held talks with officials in Turkey.

 

Thursday, 8 April–France’s former Prime Minister, François Fillon, met with Bahrain’s Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Zayed bin Rashid Al-Zayani, in Manama. They discussed French-Bahraini relations and aspects related to investment and economy in the Kingdom.

 

Friday, 9 April–Kuwait’s Foreign Minister, Ahmad Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah, met with Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, in Ankara. They discussed collaboration in various fields, including economy, industry, technology and health, and the developments in Syria, Libya and the Middle East peace process. Cavusoglu announced that the two countries aim to increase their trade volume to $1 billion (USD).

 

Sunday, 11 April–Malta’s Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Evarist Bartolo, toured Bahrain and Qatar. In Manama, Minister Bartolo met with Bahrain’s Foreign Minister, Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani, discussing regional developments. In Doha, the Maltese Minister met with his Qatari counterpart, Mohamed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, and Qatar’s Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, Khalid bin Khalifa Al-Thani, discussing economic cooperation and developments in Libya, among other topics.

 

Monday, 12 April–Bahrain and Poland discussed enhancing cooperation during the third political consultations meeting between the two countries’ Foreign Ministries, co-chaired by Bahrain’s Undersecretary for International Affairs, Abdulla bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa, and his Polish counterpart, Pawel Jablonski. The discussions focused on cooperation in Bahrain’s Economic Vision 2030 initiatives, advancing freedom of religion and belief and coordinating positions on issues of mutual concern.