GULF IN REVIEW
04-10 January 2020
Kingdom of Bahrain
Saturday, 4 January—Bahrain’s Foreign Ministry called for easing tensions and addressing all forms of violence and extremism to ensure regional security and stability following the US airstrike that killed Commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force (IRGC-QF), Qassem Soleimani, Head of the Kata’ib Hezbollah militia and Deputy Chairman of the Iraqi Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, and several others, in Iraq.
Saturday, 4 January—Bahrain’s Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister, held a phone call with the United States’ Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo. They discussed the situation in Iraq and Iran’s potential reaction to the killing of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force (IRGC-QF) Commander, Qassem Soleimani. Both emphasised the need to maintain regional security and stability. Pompeo assured the Bahraini leadership about the US’ intention to protect its interests, personnel and facilities as well as partners, as Bahrain hosts the US Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) and the US Fifth Fleet.
Tuesday, 7 January—Bahrain’s Undersecretary for International Affairs at the Foreign Ministry, Dr Abdullah bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa, received a phone call from the the British Secretary of State for the Middle East and North Africa at the Foreign Office, Andrew Murrison. Bahrain’s Undersecretary called for concerted international efforts to deescalate the situation, while Secretary Morison praised Bahrain’s efforts to protect regional security and stability, highlighting that the UK is cooperating with allies to reduce the tensions.
State of Kuwait
Sunday, 5 January—The two state-owned energy majors, Kuwait Petroleum Corporation and Qatar Petroleum, signed a 15 year Sale and Purchase Agreement for the supply of up to 3 million tons of liquified natural gas (LNG) per annum to Kuwait. The deliveries to Kuwait’s new LNG terminal in Al-Zour Port should begin in 2022 to meet Kuwait’s growing energy demands, particularly for its power generation sector.
Monday, 6 January—Kuwait’s Foreign Minister, Dr Ahmed Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah, received a phone call from US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, focusing on the surge in regional tensions following the US airstrike that killed Iran’s Quds Force Commander, Qassem Soleimani, in Iraq. They stressed the need for de-escalation and preservation of security and stability in the Middle East. Secretary Pompeo also thanked Kuwait for its partnership.
Monday, 6 January—Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State, Prince Turki bin Mohammed Al-Saud, conveyed a message from King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud to Kuwait’s Emir, Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. Prince Turki bin Mohammed and his accompanying delegation also held talks about the latest regional developments with Kuwait’s Prime Minister, Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, in the presence of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, Ahmad Mansour Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, and Foreign Minister, Dr Ahmad Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah. The Saudi Minister of State also later met with Deputy Chief of the Kuwaiti National Guard, Mishaal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.
Tuesday, 7 January—Cristian Tudor, European Union’s Ambassador to Kuwait, was received by Thamer Al-Ali Al-Sabah, President of Kuwait’s National Security Bureau. They discussed enhancing EU-Kuwaiti relations and cooperation as well as the regional escalation between the United States and Iran.
Sultanate of Oman
Sunday, 5 January—Oman’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs called on the United States and Iran to reduce tensions and resolve it through dialogue and diplomatic efforts.
Tuesday, 7 January—Oman’s Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs, Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, participated in the Tehran Dialogue Forum, held in Iran, alongside Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, and former President of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai. Oman’s Foreign Minister and his Iranian counterpart held talks on the sidelines of the event, discussing bilateral relations and the recent developments in Iraq.
Thursday, 9 January—Martin Griffiths, the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General to Yemen, was received by Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, Oman’s Minister Responsible of Foreign Affairs, in Muscat, to discuss the UN efforts to bring an end to the war in Yemen.
State of Qatar
Saturday, 4 January—Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, travelled to Tehran, where he met with Iran’s President, Hassan Rouhani, Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, and Shura Council Speaker, Ali Larijani, to discuss the developments in Iraq, namely the US airstrike that killed Iran’s Quds Force Commender, Qassem Soleimani.
Sunday, 5 January—Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, called with the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, about the US-Iran tensions, focusing on mainly on Iran’s regional destabilising efforts. Secretary Pompeo thanked Qatar for its efforts to de-escalate regional tensions.
Wednesday, 8 January—The Director of the Policy and Planning Department at Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr Khalid Fahad Al-Khater, participated in the Tehran Dialogue Forum in Iran. He addressed the current regional tensions in light of the latest developments in Iraq. He stressed that Qatar believes that collective security in the Gulf must follow principles of non-aggression and non-interference in the internal affairs of other states and the inviolability of international borders.
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Saturday, 4 January—The US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, discussed the US airstrike at Baghdad airport in Iraq. Secretary Pompeo thanked Saudi Arabia for its support and recognising the threat posed by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) and stressed the US’ commitment to de-escalation.
Saturday, 4 January—Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, called Iraq’s President Barham Salih, and reassured him of the Kingdom’s commitment to defusing the regional tensions and stabilising the situation in Iraq. The same day, Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, also held a phone call with Iraq’s Prime Minister, Adel Abdul Mahdi, about security situation in Iraq and the region.
Monday, 6 January—Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Minister of Defence, Prince Khalid bin Salman Al-Saud, arrived to Washington, DC to meet with the United States’ President, Donald Trump, Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, Secretary of Defence, Mark Esper, and other senior US officials, to discuss regional stability and military and security cooperation amid the recent escalation of tensions with Iran. The US reiterated its commitment to easing the tensions and avoiding war with Iran and thanked Saudi Arabia for its continuous support.
Monday, 6 January—Riyadh hosted the signing of a Charter establishing the Council of Arab and African States Bordering the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden by Foreign Ministers of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Eritrea, Djibouti, Jordan, Sudan, Somalia and Yemen. The body aims to enhance cooperation and the countries’ capabilities to face common challenges and protect security of the key strategic waterway, connecting Indian Ocean and Pacific to the Mediterranean Sea, from piracy, smuggling and other threats, including foreign interference.
Tuesday, 7 January—Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Minister of Defence, Prince Khalid bin Salman Al-Saud, met with the United Kingdom’s Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, UK’s Senior Defence Adviser for the Middle East, Lieutenant General Sir John Lorimer, and the British Prime Minister’s International Affairs Adviser and Deputy National Security Adviser, David Quarrey. They discussed the developments in Iraq and the growing regional tensions along with the British-Saudi strategic partnership and cooperation in counter-terrorism.
Thursday, 9 January—Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, was received by Tunisia’s President, Kais Saied. Prince Faisal bin Farhan conveyed greetings from King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud and an official invitation for Tunisia’s President to visit the Kingdom.
United Arab Emirates
Monday, 6 January—Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, received a phone call from Italy’s Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte. They discussed bilateral ties and the latest regional developments, including Iraq, the US-Iran escalation and the Libya dossier, both stressing the need to reduce tensions in the region.
Tuesday, 7 January—The UAE’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, spoke on the phone with US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, about the US airstrike, which killed Commander of Iran’s foreign operations and Chief of Kata’ib Hezbollah, in Iraq on 3 January. Secretary Pompeo thanked UAE for support in light of the threats posed by the Iranian regime and the Qods Force (IRGC-QF) and reassured his counterpart of the US commitment to deescalation. Earlier, Secretary Pompeo spoke with Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
Tuesday, 7 January—The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Egypt issued a joint statement rejecting and condemning the Turkish Parliament’s recent approval of sending military troops to Libya.
Wednesday, 8 January—The UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation issued a statement about the latest regional developments with Iran, US and Iraq and called for easing the current tensions.
Thursday, 9 January—The Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar) signed an agreement with Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Energy to develop, build and operate a landmark 200-megawatt (MW) utility-scale solar photovoltaic project, located 75 kilometres southwest from the capital, Baku. The document was signed by Parviz Shahbazov, Azerbaijan’s Minister of Energy, and Mohamed Jameel Al-Ramahi, CEO of Masdar, in the presence of Azerbaijan’s Prime Minister, Ali Asadov, in Baku.