GULF IN REVIEW
06 - 11 October 2019
Kingdom of Bahrain
Sunday, 6 October—Bahrain’s Interior Ministry and the United States’ Department of Homeland Security held a meeting, co-chaired by the Chief of Bahrain’s Public Security, Major General Tariq Al-Hassan, and the Deputy Secretary of the US Homeland Security, David Pekoske, focused on bilateral security cooperation and ways to enhance it, along with planned joint counterterrorism and technical training assistance projects. The Chief of Bahrain’s Public Security presented a national initiative with strategies to move away from racism, sectarianism and religious discrimination through promotion of national identity, nationalism and loyalty. They signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the exchange of information, securing establishment, reinforcing cybersecurity and exchanging training expertise. Deputy Secretary Pekoske also discussed customs cooperation with Bahraini officials and inspected Bahrain’s marine security systems and the Coast Guard’s capabilities to protect its waters.
Tuesday, 8 October—The First Deputy Speaker of the Council of Representatives, Abdul Nabi Salman, held talks with the Senior Advisor of the European Union’s Delegation to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman, Alexis Konstantopoulos, during which he praised the EU delegation's role in fostering EU-GCC relations and stressed the keenness of the Council of Representatives to develop partnership and exchange experiences in the parliamentary field. They also discussed joint strategic interests, notably in terms of security, the fight against terrorism and the political, economic and cultural fields.
Wednesday, 9 October—King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa received the British Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion and Belief, Rehman Chishti. King Hamad praised strong relations between Bahrain and the UK and highlighted mutual interests to further develop them. Mr Chishti, for his part, lauded Bahrain’s initiatives to promote religious and cultural tolerance and coexistence, describing it as a model for others, and praised the UK-Bahraini cooperation in various fields.
State of Kuwait
Tuesday, 8 October—The Kuwait Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and the United States’ Transportation Security Administration (TSA) signed an agreement to strengthen cooperation in aviation security.
Tuesday, 8 October—The Ambassador of the European Union to Qatar, Cristian Tudor, presented his credentials to Kuwait’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Sabah Khalid Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, and became the first EU Ambassador of the recently established Delegation to Kuwait.
Thursday, 10 October—Kuwait’s Foreign Ministry condemned Turkey’s offensive launched in northeast Syria as a direct threat to regional security and stability, endangering the chance for a political solution to the situation in Syria, and called on all parties to immediately halt military operations. Similarly, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE, joined European and other international leaders in condemning Turkey’s military operation in northeast Syria. Members of the League of Arab States will meet for an emergency meeting on Saturday, 12 October.
Sultanate of Oman
Sunday, 6 October—Oman’s Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs, Yousef bin Alawi bin Abdullah, received Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Yemen, Michael Aaron, to discuss the latest developments in Yemen. On the occasion, Aaron also met in Muscat with the head of the Houthi negotiating delegation, Mohamed Abdul-Salam, discussing the Houthis’ offer for a ceasefire. On Monday, Abdul-Salam met with France’s Ambassador to Yemen, Christian Testot, in Muscat.
Tuesday, 8 October—The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Ministerial Committee for Higher Education and Scientific Research held the 19th meeting in Muscat. The meeting was chaired by Rawiya bint Saood Al-Busaidi, Oman’s Minister of Higher Education, who highlighted the need to include artificial intelligence and employ the 4th Industrial Revolution techniques into educational policies. They also discussed joint GCC efforts in the field because all GCC countries attach great importance to higher education and the crucial role it plays in advancing human development and capital in the GCC.
Thursday, 10 October— Head of the European Union’s Delegation to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman, Michele Cervone D’Urso, was received by the Commander of Royal Navy of Oman, Rear Admiral Abdullah bin Khamis Al-Raisi, to discuss some issues of common concern related to the joint efforts to protect maritime security in the Indian Ocean and means to boost cooperation between the Royal Navy of Oman and the EU’s Naval Force Somalia Operation ATALANTA, which aims to counter piracy off the Somalian coast.
State of Qatar
Thursday, 10 October—The Chief of staff of Qatar Armed Forces, Major General Ghanim bin Shaheen Al-Ghanim, participated in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Supreme Military Committee of the Chiefs of Staff of the Armed Forces, held in Muscat. The meeting focused on strengthening military and defence cooperation and coordination among the member states.
Thursday, 10 October—Qatar’s Minister of Minister of State for Defence, Khalid bin Mohammed Al-Attiyah, expressed support for Turkey’s military offensive in northeast Syria, which earned Ankara international condemnation, notably from the European Union, United States and many Arab countries. Doha thus joined countries such as Pakistan, Spain, Hungary and Azerbaijan in supporting Ankara’s military operation.
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Sunday, 6 October—Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Minister of Defence, Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, and Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, met to discuss strategic defence and military cooperation and coordination, along with some key challenges to the Arabian Gulf and their implications for regional security, notably the situation in southern Yemen.
Monday, 7 October—Saudi Arabia was visited by some 24,000 foreigners within the first 10 days of the Kingdom’s historic opening up to tourists and issuance of tourist visa to 49 countries. Saudi Arabia has introduced some changes to its conservative rules, such as allowing un-married couples to stay in one room, to attract more tourists to achieve the goals of Vision 2030.
Tuesday, 8 October—Dr Abdulaziz Hamad Al-Owaishek, The Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Negotiation at the GCC General Secretariat, and Mohamed Khaled Khiari, the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Middle East, Asia and the Pacific in the Departments of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and Peace Operations, held the first political dialogue between the GCC and the UN in New York. The two sides agreed on cooperation in areas of common interest and holding regular political consultations. Additionally, they also discussed regional issues, including Palestine, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Sudan, Yemen and Iran’s regional role, the threat to the freedom of navigation in the Gulf and the attacks Saudi Arabia’s oil industry. Al-Owaishek also met with Vladimir Ivanovich Voronkov, the Under-Secretary-General of the UN Counter-Terrorism Office, to review counterterrorism efforts and ways to enhance cooperation and exchange experience.
Thursday, 10 October—Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Minister of Defence, Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, met several US senior officials during his visit to Washington, DC to discuss military cooperation and regional security. Prince Khalid met with the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and Defence Secretary, Mark Esper. During the meeting with Pompeo, they focused on ways to further strengthen bilateral ties and joint efforts to boost regional security and stability in light of Iran’s regional role. With Esper, Prince Khalid focused on common regional security challenges and joint military counterterrorism efforts.
United Arab Emirates
Sunday, 6 October—The UAE held Parliamentary elections, where 479 candidates competed for a seat in the 40-member Federal National Council, comprised of 20 elected and 20 appointed members. In total, seven women were elected to the parliamentary body, thus the Emirates’ rulers will now have to appoint 13 women of the 20 appointed members to fulfil the gender parity requirement introduced by the UAE’s President, Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, in December 2018.
Sunday, 6 October—Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, met with Prime Minister of Bulgaria, Boyko Borisov, to discuss bilateral relations and ways to enhance cooperation in various fields.
Monday, 7 October—Lebanese Prime Minister, Saad Hariri, arrived for an official visit to the UAE, and met with several officials, including Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to discuss bilateral relations and ways to boost them in economic and investment fields, along with issues of common interest, recent regional developments and their impact on security.
Tuesday, 8 October—Abu Dhabi hosted the launch of the Arab Women’s Rights Charter, which was drafted by the Arab Parliament to serve as a guideline for the Arab League member states to shape their legislation and ensure that Arab women’s rights are upheld across the Middle East and North Africa. The Charter tackles womens’ rights in wide range of issues, from healthcare, education, jobs, marrying foreigners or passing citizenship on their children. The Arab League members should sign the document at the next meeting, however, states do not have to change their laws in line with the Charter.
Thursday, 11 October—Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and Iraq’s President, Barham Saleh, discussed, in a phone call, bilateral relations, ways to enhance them, and the latest regional developments, as well as the protests in Iraq and the impact on security and stability of the region.