The Euro-Gulf Monitor

9 - 14 July 2021

by

Arnold Koka & Veronica Stigliani

5 Top Points

  1. Oman’s Sultan Haitam bin Tariq Al-Said embarked on his first official visit abroad to Saudi Arabia.

  2. The 23rd annual GCC-EU political dialogue discussed terrorism, security and nuclear risks.

  3. Kuwait opened its first permanent LNG import terminal.

  4. Qatar and Italy discussed cooperation in ICT and transport.

  5. UAE Ambassador Al-Khaja and Israeli President Herzog opened UAE’s Embassy in Tel Aviv.

‘Round and About the Gulf

Kingdom of Bahrain

Tuesday, 13 July–Bahrain halted commercial flights from 16 countries as a precautionary measure against the pandemic. States on the red list include Tunisia, Iran, and Iraq. Since the start of the pandemic, the Kingdom has registered more than 260,000 cases, with about 3,500 in the last two weeks.

State of Kuwait

Wednesday, 14 July–Kuwait opened its first permanent liquefied natural gas (LNG) import facility, the Al Zour Terminal, expected to import up to 22 million tons of LNG per year, as the country seeks to gradually lessen the use of crude oil.

Sultanate of Oman

Friday, 8 July–Oman’s Minister of Health, Ahmed Al-Saeedi, announced the country will make COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for all public employees, and that such approach might be taken towards private employees as well.

State of Qatar

Tuesday, 13 July–French IT company, Atos, will partner with Qatar’s telecommunication company, Ooredoo, providing cybersecurity solutions to the Gulf country’s smart cities. The partnership aims to ensure all-time threat detection and response services to cyberthreats through the use of AI-driven capabilities provided by Atos.

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Wednesday, 14 July–Saudi Arabia will deliver one million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Tunisia, in order to assist the country in facing the spread of the pandemic. Several vaccine dispatches were also sent by other GCC countries, such as Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE.

United Arab Emirates

Tuesday, 13 July–The UAE and Israel signed an agreement on cooperation in research and innovation projects, particularly in water management and developing products suitable for growing in desert areas. The deal was inked in Tel Aviv, during a meeting between the UAE Minister of Food and Water Security, Mariam Al-Muhairi, and Israeli Agriculture Minister, Oded Forer. The next day, UAE Ambassador to Israel, Mohamed Al-Khaja, and Israeli President, Isaac Herzog, opened the UAE’s embassy in Tel Aviv.

The EU Corner

Tuesday, 13 July‒The 23rd annual GCC-EU political dialogue took place in a virtual format. The event was co-chaired by the GCC Undersecretary for Political Affairs, Abdulla bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa, and the European External Action Service (EEAS) Managing Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Fernando Gentilini. Both sides expressed their interest in strengthening political dialogue and improving communication channels, and discussed issues related to regional stability and security, notably prevention of nuclear proliferation, counterterrorism and regional conflicts.

Key Official Visits

Monday, 12 July–London hosted the Saudi-British Sustainable Investment Forum, attended by various business representatives, investors and officials, including Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Commerce, Majid Al-Qasabi, and British Minister for Investment, Lord Grimstone of Boscobel. The talks covered investment opportunities in the field of green energy technologies and in supporting transitions towards cleaner energy sources.

Wednesday, 14 July–During his visit to Rome, Qatar’s Minister of Transport and Communication, Jassim bin Saif Al-Sulaiti, held separate meetings with Italian Minister of Economic Development, Giancarlo Giorgetti, and Minister of Sustainable Infrastructures and Mobility, Enrico Giovannini, regarding cooperation and investment opportunities in the sectors of smart cities, infrastructure, information technologies and health, as well as civil aviation, maritime transport and ports.

Wednesday, 14 July–Oman’s Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al-Said travelled to Saudi Arabia’s NEOM city, where he met with King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud and Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman Al-Saud. They discussed the crisis in Yemen and bilateral cooperation in commerce, culture, investment and transport. The two sides also agreed on establishing a joint Omani-Saudi council for coordination on further partnership agreements. The visit represented the Sultan’s first official travel abroad since assuming power in 2020.