The Euro-Gulf Monitor
13 - 18 September 2020
‘Round and About the Gulf
Tuesday, 15 September–The UAE and Bahrain signed the US-brokered Abraham Accords declaration and separate peace agreements with Israel in Washington DC. The UAE and Israel inked a Peace Treaty, establishing full diplomatic ties and normalising bilateral relations, announcing cooperation agreements in 15 fields, including in investments, energy, innovation, trade, tourism, and food security. Bahrain and Israel signed a Peace Declaration, stating the intention to fully normalise bilateral ties, exchange embassies and sign collaboration deals. The documents were signed by Israel’s Prime Minister, Benyamin Netanyahu, the UAE’s Foreign Minister, Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan and Bahrain’s Foreign Minister, Abdullatif Al-Zayani, and the US President, Donald Trump.
Tuesday, 15 September–The US President, Donald Trump, declared his openness towards granting the UAE a trade deal for the F-35 warplanes as the UAE’s State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Anwar Gargash, expressed his country’s eagerness to modernise its military. Following Trump’s statements, Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, voiced his opposition to the procurement deal.
Wednesday, 16 September–The US Department of Justice ordered Al Jazeera Plus (AJ+), an online news platform owned by the Qatar-based Al Jazeera Media Network, to register under the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) as the Qatari state’s agent in the country.
Kingdom of Bahrain
Tuesday, 15 September–King’s Advisor for Diplomatic Affairs, Khalid bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa, and German Ambassador to Bahrain, Kai Thamo Boeckmann, discussed regional security and stability in light of the Abraham Accords’ signing. During the week, relevant Bahraini and Israeli Ministers discussed possible cooperation in defence, transportation and tourism over phone.
State of Kuwait
Tuesday, 15 September–Kuwait expressed concerns over Iran’s violations of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and underlined the role of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in pushing compliance to the agreement. The statement was delivered during an IAEA session by Kuwaiti Ambassador to Austria and Permanent Representative to International Organisations in Vienna, Sadeq Marafi.
Sultanate of Oman
Monday, 14 September–Oman’s government discussed institutional procedures to enhance the Omanisation process within its public and private sectors. The Sultanate’s Ministry of Labour held talks with the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Ministry of Health about the intensification of the replacement process of expatriate workforce with the national one.
State of Qatar
Tuesday, 15 September–The Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF) and Qatar Museums (QM) signed cooperation agreements with US institutions, notably NASA and the Smithsonian Institute, to collaborate on research regarding climate change, water security, education and sport.
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Thursday, 17 September–Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development banned any form of discrimination, including based on sex, age or disability, from employers towards their employees to encourage safe workplace environment and equal opportunities for everybody.
United Arab Emirates
Tuesday, 15 September–The UAE’s President, Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, issued a decree provisioning an increase of the Abu Dhabi Accountability Authority’s monitoring and regulatory power in a bid to enhance accountability of public companies and bodies. The Authority will now be able to monitor financial activities of public organisations and entities.
The EU Corner
Wednesday, 16 September–The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, discussed EU-Iraq cooperation with Iraqi Minister of Foreign Affairs, Fuad Hussein. The meeting was held in the framework of promoting regional stability and carrying out diplomatic efforts with regional actors in order to promote de-escalation in the Gulf region.
Thursday, 17 September–In its latest Report on Arms Export, the EU called on its Member States to halt arms and military equipment trade with all the parties involved in the Yemen conflict and encouraged them to follow the decision of Germany, Finland and Denmark to restrict procurement deals with Saudi Arabia.
Thursday, 17 September–The EU, Kuwait, the US, Germany, Sweden, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, and China released a joint statement, calling for an urgent military deescalation and political process in Yemen, reiterating their commitment to the Riyadh Agreement, and expressing concern over the Houthi repeated attacks on Saudi Arabia, their obstruction to humanitarian assistance provision and the access to the decaying Safer oil tanker.
Key Official Visits
Saturday, 12 September—The United Kingdom’s Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, visited Oman and Qatar to discuss collaboration in counter-terrorism and information sharing, and announced a £23.8 million investment to expand its logistics hub at Duqm port, which will ‘triple the size of the existing UK base and help facilitate Royal Navy deployments to the Indian Ocean.’
Monday, 14 September–Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, Minister of Finance, Ali Sharif Al-Emadi, and Minister of Commerce and Industry, Ali bin Ahmed Al-Kuwari, participated in the third US-Qatar Strategic Dialogue, alongside the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin, and Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, in Washington DC.
Monday, 14 September–The Afghan peace negotiations, led by Chairman of Afghanistan's High Council for National Reconciliation, Abdullah Abdullah, Deputy Leader of the Taliban, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, and the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, commenced in Doha.
Tuesday, 15 September–The UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, visited Riyadh to discuss the final draft of the Joint Declaration between the Yemeni parties, the military escalation in Marib and the Riyadh agreement implementation. He met with Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Defence Minister, Prince Khalid bin Salman, Yemen’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammed Al-Hadhrami and Speaker of the Parliament, Sultan Al-Burkani.