GULF IN REVIEW
01-06 December 2019
Kingdom of Bahrain
Tuesday, 3 December— Bahrain hosted the 26th World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC) under the theme ‘Mega Trends in Banking and Finance’ as the Kingdom celebrated 100th anniversary of banking in the country.
Wednesday, 4 December—Bahrain and the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) signed a 100 million USD agreement to co-finance the expansion of Bahrain’s electricity grid, which will help to reduce electric power shortages, enhance the transmission capacity and facilitate electricity exchange with other Gulf networks. The agreement was signed by Bahrain’s Minister of Finance and National Economy, Salman bin Khalifa Al-Khalifa, and the Minister for Electricity and Water Affairs, Wael bin Nasser Al-Mubarak, and KFAED’s Director-General, Abdulwahab Ahmed Al-Bader, who was earlier received by Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa.
State of Kuwait
Sunday, 1 December—Kuwait’s Prime Minister, Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, held talks with the National Assembly Speaker, Marzouq Al-Ghanim, on coordinating the efforts to fight corruption and enhancing cooperation among the judicial, legislative and executive branches to implement the directives of Emir Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah aimed at fighting corruption and protecting public funds.
Thursday, 5 December—Kuwait’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Khaled Al-Jarallah, received Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Abbas Araqchi, with his entourage. They discussed the Kuwaiti-Iranian relations and the latest regional developments, including the conflict in Yemen and deescalating the situation in the Gulf. Deputy Foreign Minister Al-Jarallah reaffirmed that the regional crises can be solved only through negotiations.
Sultanate of Oman
Wednesday, 4 December—Oman is planning to list 20%-25% of the shares of the state-owned oil firm, Oman Oil Company, in 2020, according to Oman’s Minister of Oil, Mohammed bin Hamad Al-Rumhy, at the 14th Annual Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association's (GPCA) Forum in Dubai.
Monday, 2 December—Oman’s Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs, Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, met with Iran’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammad Javad Zarif, and other senior Iranian officials, notably the Iranian Parliament’s Speaker, Ali Larijani, in Tehran. They discussed bilateral relations, reducing tensions in the Gulf and the Yemen war, among other issues.
Tuesday, 3 December—Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, began his several-day official visit to Oman and Kuwait.
State of Qatar
Friday, 6 December—Qatar’s Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr Ahmed bin Hassan Al Hammadi, received Libya’s Undersecretary for Technical Affairs at the Foreign Ministry, Mahmoud Khalifa Al-Telisi, to review bilateral relations and issues of common concern. Earlier, Libya’s Interior Minister, Fathi Bashagha, held talks with several senior Qatari officials in Doha, notably Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, who reiterated his country’s support for Libya’s Presidential Council as the only legitimate government.
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Sunday, 1 December—Saudi Arabia assumed the Presidency of the G20, a group of 20 world’s largest economies. Riyadh will host the G20 Summit between 21-22 November 2020 in Riyadh.
Monday, 2 December—Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Adel Al-Jubeir, met with Japan’s Defence Minister, Taro Kono, in Tokyo, to discuss Saudi-Japanese cooperation and the latest developments in the region and the world. On Wednesday, Al-Jubeir met in Seoul with South Korea’s Foreign Minister, Kang Kyung-wha, to review bilateral relations and prospects for cooperation, the latest developments in the Middle East, the safety of maritime navigation in the Gulf and situation on the Korean Peninsula.
Wednesday, 4 December—King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud invited all rulers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, namely: King of Bahrain, Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, Sultan of Oman, Qaboos bin Said Al-Said, President of the UAE, Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, and Emir of Kuwait, Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, to attend the 40th GCC Summit on 10 December in Riyadh. The GCC Ministerial Council will hold a preparatory meeting the day before.
Thursday, 5 December—The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) member countries and OPEC+ group, which includes non-OPEC members, notably Russia, met in Vienna to discuss plans to further cut oil production by 400,000 additional barrels from March 2020, when the current cuts of 1.2 million barrels per day expire.
Friday, 6 December—The state-owned oil giant, Saudi Aramco, raised 25.6 billion USD from its initial public offering (IPO), which set the price at 32 Saudi riyals (8.53 USD) per share, receiving total bids of 119 billion USD. The company’s total value is at 1.7 trillion USD.
United Arab Emirates
Monday, 2 December—The United Arab Emirates celebrated the 48th National Day marking the unification of the six Emirates, which were joined by the seventh emirate, Ras Al Khaimah, ia year later.
Tuesday, 3 December—Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and his Egyptian counterpart discussed the latest developments in Libya and Syria and highlighted the need to continue the fight against terrorism and extremism and prevent interference in the Arab affairs by those who have been long fuelling extremism in the region. On that note, the two Foreign Ministers rejected the recent deal between Turkey and Libya’s Tripoli government on delineating their maritime borders in the Mediterranean. They affirmed the need to seek a political solution to the regional conflicts.