GULF IN REVIEW
26 -29 November
Kingdom of Bahrain
Sunday, 4 November—Bahrain’s High Court of Appeal gave life sentences to three senior figures of the Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, a dissolved Shia religious bloc. Ali Salman, the group’s Secretary-General; Hassan Sultan; and Ali Alaswad were sentenced over collaborating and sharing sensitive information with Qatar's government.
Tuesday, 6 November—Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa received Sultan Ul-Bohra, Mufaddal Saifuddin, head of the Dawoodi Bohra sect within the Ismaili branch of Shia Islam, who was visiting the Kingdom. During the meeting, King Hamad praised the Sultan’s efforts to promote coexistence, religious tolerance and reject extremism. In turn, the Sultan hailed Bahrain’s treatment of the Bohra community, emphasising the religious freedom that it enjoys in the Kingdom.
Wednesday, 7 November—The Coordination and Follow-up Committee between the Kingdom of Bahrain and the United Nations Agencies, established in line with the UN-Bahraini Strategic Partnership Framework (2018-2020), held its second meeting. The meeting was chaired by Dr Abdulla bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa, Bahrain’s Undersecretary for International Affairs, reviewed various existing joint projects with UN Agencies, such as UNDP, UN-HABITAT, UNICEF, UNESCO, and ways of enhancing the cooperation in line with Bahrain’s Economic Vision 2030.
State of Kuwait
Tuesday, 6 November—Kuwait hosted the 18th Meeting of the Ministerial Committee of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which reviewed the implementation of the recommendations from the previous Meeting in April 2017 as well as the implementation of the GCC Supreme Council’s Resolutions to boost cooperation among the GCC countries.
Thursday, 8 November—During his two-day visit to Washington DC, the Chief of Kuwait’s National Security Apparatus, Thamer Al-Ali Al-Sabah, discussed relations between the United States and Kuwait, issues of common concern as well as recent regional and international developments with US officials.
Sultanate of Oman
Monday, 5 November—The United Kingdom announced it would open a joint military training base in Oman in March 2019 in a bid to enhance its ties with the Gulf partners and boost the UK’s regional role. London also opened a permanent facility in Bahrain in April 2018.
Thursday, 8 November—Between 6-8 November, Oman’s ASYAD, the provider of integrated logistics services in Oman, co-hosted the International Road Transport Union (IRU) World Congress in Muscat, where over a thousand decision-makers, experts and delegates from all over the world exchanged views and ideas about road transport sector, its opportunities and future. The Wednesday session was concluded by signing of the Muscat Compact, a framework for cooperation in the transport industry, emphasising environment, innovation, talent and trade.
State of Qatar
Sunday, 4 November—Qatar’s Emir reshuffled the boards of directors of the Qatar Petroleum (QP), state-owned oil and gas company, and of the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), the country’s sovereign wealth fund, as well as the government cabinet. Foreign Minister, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, was named Chairman of the QIA; Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Thani, Deputy Emir, became Chairman of the QP; Saad Al-Kaabi, the CEO of the QP, was appointed as Minister for Energy Affairs; and the CEO of the Qatar National Bank, Ali Ahmed Al-Kuwari, was appointed as new Minister of Commerce and Industry.
Wednesday, 7 November—Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohamed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, met with Iraq’s Prime Minister, Adel Abdul Mahdi, during an official visit to Iraq where they discussed issues of common concern and reviewed Qatari-Iraqi relations.
Wednesday, 7 November—Qatar’s Prime Minister and Interior Minister, Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al-Thani, held official talks with Romania’s Prime Minister, Vasilica Viorica Dancila, in Doha where they reviewed the state of Qatar-Romania relations. The Prime Ministers then witnessed the signing of two Memoranda of Understanding (MoU)—for cooperation in diplomatic training, and in agriculture and an agreement on cooperation in tourism.
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Monday, 5 November—Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, launched seven strategic projects during his visit to the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST), including a project to build the first nuclear research reactor in the Kingdom, a centre for the development of aircraft fuselage, and the Saudi Central Laboratory for Human Genome.
Wednesday, 7 November—Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir, received Nathan Sales, the US State Department’s Coordinator for Counterterrorism, in Riyadh. During the meeting they discussed US-Saudi cooperation in fight against terrorism and reviewed recent developments in the Middle East.
Wednesday, 7 November—The national holding company, Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI), and the Spanish state-owned shipbuilding company, Navantia, signed an agreement to launch their joint venture ‘SAMI Navantia Naval Industries,’ which will manufacture five corvettes for the Royal Saudi Navy in the Kingdom, in line with the deal signed in July 2018.
United Arab Emirates
Wednesday, 7 November—Abu Dhabi hosted the 18th Meeting of the UAE-UK Taskforce, aimed at strengthening bilateral ties between the two countries, headed by the UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Anwar bin Mohmmed Gargash, and the United Kingdom’s Minister of State for the Middle East, Alistair Burt. The Meeting discussed various issues, including the UAE-UK cooperation in security, defence, counterterrorism and the importance of increased cooperation on countering terrorism and illicit finance.
Wednesday, 7 November—The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE's Armed Forces, Mohammed bin Zayed, received a phone call from Italy’s Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte. They discussed issues of mutual interest and ways of strengthening cooperation between the UAE and Italy.