The Euro-Gulf Monitor

9 - 15 September 2022

by Arnold Koka & Veronica Stigliani

5 Top Points

  1. The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, met with Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman Al-Saud.

  2. Egypt’s President, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, visited Qatar for the first time since 2017.

  3. The UAE granted a €1 billion loan to Serbia as the two countries signed a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

  4. Saudi Arabia hosted the Global AI Summit in Riyadh.

  5. Qatar joined the Shangai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) as a Dialogue Partner.

  1. US President, Joe Biden, concluded his first tour of the Middle East.

  2. Kuwait appointed its fourth Prime Minister since 2020.

  3. The Presidents of the UAE and France met in Paris to discuss expanding energy cooperation.

  4. Saudi Arabia's Kingdom Holding Co invested €229 million in a major European fund manager.

  5. The EU called on the warring parties in Yemen to agree on a truce extension.

‘Round and About the Gulf

Kingdom of Bahrain

Tuesday, 13 September–Bahrain will host the region’s first FinTech venture studio, in a bid to enhance the Kingdom’s FinTech and start-up sectors. The studio, named HP Spring Studios, will be jointly developed by Bahraini Al Waha Fund and British international investment firm, Hambro Perks. The project will co-fund FinTech start-ups and support fundraising, provide training to local and regional professionals, as well as promote investments in Bahrain.

 

State of Kuwait

Wednesday 14 September–Kuwait’s Boubyan Bank launched a joint start-up accelerator programme with the Dubai International Financial Centre’s FinTech Hive. The project will assist the development of 10 selected start-ups from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the UAE operating in the sectors of financial technology, e-commerce and education technology. The plan seeks to boost the economic and business sectors in Kuwait and in the Gulf.

Sultanate of Oman

Wednesday, 14 September—British energy company, Petrofac, signed an agreement with the Oman Hydrogen Center to collaborate in the green hydrogen sector. The partnership aims to accelerate energy transition in Oman, with Petrofac implementing projects for the development of research, technical training and knowledge transfer to the Omani labor force.

 

State of Qatar

Tuesday, 13 September–Qatar became Dialogue Partner of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). The signing ceremony on granting Doha the status was attended by Qatar’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Sultan bin Saad Al-Muraikhi, and SCO Secretary General, Zhang Ming, on the sidelines of the SCO Summit in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Monday, 12 September—The second edition of the Global AI Summit kicked off in Riyadh. It gathered over 10,000 Artificial Intelligence specialists and policymakers, and is expected to record over 40 agreements between public and private institutions, and help enhance international cooperation on AI and its uses. During the event, Riyadh announced the development of the world’s first AI-enabled ‘Sustainability Center’, and the outlining of global AI ethics principles.

United Arab Emirates

Sunday, 11 September–The UAE granted a €1 billion (EUR) loan to Serbia, as the Balkan state struggles to secure Western investment due to its refusal to adopt sanctions against Russia. The loan was offered with a 3% interest rate during the visit of Serbian President, Aleksandar Vucic, to the UAE, where he was received by Emirati President, Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan. During the visit, the UAE and Serbia also signed a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) to boost bilateral cooperation.

 

EU Corner

Tuesday, 13 September–The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, travelled to Jeddah, where he met with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman Al-Saud, and the Foreign Minister, Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud. They discussed EU-Saudi strategic relations in energy security, green energy, investments, trade, global security as well as developments in the human rights area. The Council’s President also met with Saudi women from the Shura Council and from the sectors of business, academia, arts and media. They discussed Saudi Arabia’s social transformation and the role of women in economy and society.

 

Tuesday, 13 September–Bahrain’s Ambassador in Brussels, Abdullah bin Faisal bin Jabur Al-Dosari, met with Rafael Daerr, Member of Cabinet of the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy in the EU. They discussed EU-Bahrain strategic partnership and stressed the need to expand bilateral cooperation. 

Key Official Visits

Saturday, 10 September‒The US Special Envoy for International Energy Affairs, Amos Hochstein, travelled to Doha for a meeting with Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani. They talks covered global energy issues, as well as US-Qatar collaboration in international energy security.

 

Sunday, 11 September–India’s Foreign Minister, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, travelled to Riyadh, where he was received by his Saudi counterpart, Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud. The two Ministers co-chaired the Ministerial Meeting of the Political, Security, Social, and Cultural Committee of the Saudi-Indian Strategic Partnership Council, aiming to consolidate their partnership.

 

Tuesday, 13 September–Oman’s Foreign Minister, Badr Hamad Al-Busaidi, received US Special Envoy for Yemen, Tim Lenderking, in Muscat. The meeting focused on the latest developments pertaining to the sustainability of the truce in Yemen, with the two sides reiterating their willingness to support international efforts for achieving peace.

 

Tuesday, 13 September–Kuwait’s Prime Minister, Ahmad Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, travelled to Jeddah with a delegation including Ministers of Oil, Interior and Defence. They were received by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman Al-Saud, and Foreign Minister, Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud. The talks covered Saudi-Kuwaiti cooperation and the upcoming elections in Kuwait.

 

Tuesday, 13 September–Egypt’s President, Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, arrived in Doha, on his first visit to Qatar since the 2017 GCC diplomatic crisis. President El-Sisi met with Qatar’s Emir, Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, to discuss boosting bilateral ties and investment opportunities, in a bid to cushion the economic repercussions of the war in Ukraine in the region. They also signed three deals on port cooperation, social development and strategic partnership among the two countries’ sovereign wealth funds.

 

Wednesday, 14 September—The UAE’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, travelled to Israel to mark the second anniversary of the Abraham Accords. The Foreign Minister met with Israel’s President, Isaac Herzog, and the Prime Minister, Yair Lapid, reviewing ways to enhance bilateral ties and the Iran nuclear file.

 

Wednesday, 14 September‒Qatar’s Minister of Justice, Masoud bin Mohammed Al-Ameri, travelled to Athens, where he was received by his Greek counterpart, Kostas Tsiaras. They discussed Qatari-Greek cooperation in the legal, legislative and judiciary fields, especially through the exchange of training and knowledge transfer projects.