GULF IN REVIEW
10-15 November 2019
Kingdom of Bahrain
Sunday, 10 November—Bahrain’s Assistant Foreign Minister, Abdullah bin Faisal bin Jabur Al-Dosari, led Bahrain’s delegation to the 4th meeting of the Working Group on Human Rights, held in Brussels. He briefed European External Action Service (EEAS) officials about the Kingdom’s progress on various issues in the field of human rights, including women empowerment, closing the gender gap, children's rights, support of individuals with disabilities, peaceful coexistence and combatting terrorism and extremism. On the occasion, Minister Al-Dosari also held meetings with several Members of the European Parliament.
Friday, 15 November—Bahrain’s Undersecretary for International Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr Abdulla bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa, led Bahrain’s delegation to the Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA) meeting, held in Washington, DC, where member states agreed on enhancing joint cooperation. On the sidelines, Dr Abdulla met with Dr Victoria Coates, the US Deputy National Security Advisor for Middle East and North Africa at the White House National Security Council, and Timothy Lenderking, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Arabian Gulf Affairs in the Near East Bureau at the US Department of State, among others.
State of Kuwait
Monday, 11 November—A high-level delegation from Kuwait, led by Ambassador Jasem Al- Budaiwi, Head of Kuwait’s Mission to NATO, and Fawaz Al-Sabah, Assistant Undersecretary at Kuwait’s National Security Bureau, visited the NATO Headquarters between 11-14 November 2019 to discuss the Kuwait-NATO partnership. During the visit, the delegation also discussed activities of the NATO-Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) Regional Centre based in Kuwait and met with officials from other Arab Gulf countries.
Wednesday, 13 November—The Kuwait Environment Public Authority (EPA) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) signed a agreement on environmental cooperation, including climate change, desertification, waste management and raising awareness of the issues among the public.
Thursday, 14 November—The Emir of Kuwait, Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, accepted the resignation of Kuwait’s Prime Minister, Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, and his Cabinet amid criticism of poor performance and mismanagement. The Cabinet will act as a caretaker until a new government is formed.
Sultanate of Oman
Monday, 11 November—Oman’s Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al-Said received Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Minister of Defence, Prince Khalid bin Salman Al-Saud, to discuss bilateral ties and regional security and stability. Prince Khalid also held talks with several senior Omani officials, notably Oman’s Minister Responsible For Defence Affairs, Sayyid Badr bin Saud Al-Busaidi, and Minister of the Royal Office, General Sultan bin Mohammed Al-Numani, on bilateral defence cooperation, counter-terrorism and the protection of their common border.
Tuesday, 12 November—Oman’s Ministry of Manpower issued a temporary ban on hiring expats in some private companies working in construction and cleaning for the next 6 months. The decision does not apply to companies with more than 100 workers or those working on government projects, among others.
State of Qatar
Tuesday, 12 November—Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE reversed their earlier decision and announced that their national football teams will participate in the upcoming 24th Arabian Gulf Cup in Qatar between 24 November and 8 December, alongside teams from Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Yemen.
Friday, 15 November—The 3rd Qatari-American Dialogue on Counter-Terrorism, co-chaired by the Chairman of Qatar’s National Counter-Terrorism Committee, Major-General Engineer Abdulaziz Al-Ansari, and the Coordinator for Counterterrorism at the US Department of State, Nathan Sales, was held in Washington, DC. The meeting mainly dealt with regional threats; strategic partnerships; legislature targeting terrorism, money laundering and terrorist financing; and exchange of experiences ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Monday, 11 November—Saudi Arabia granted the first residencies to 73 foreign applicants from 19 countries under a new scheme, which allows foreigners to do business or buy a property in the Kingdom without a Saudi sponsor. Saudi Arabia newly offers a permanent residency to foreigners for 800,000 SAR (approximately 194,000 EUR) or 1-year renewable permit for 100,000 SAR (24,000 EUR) in a bid to attract foreign investments to the country.
Wednesday, 13 November—Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Adel Al-Jubeir, arrived for an official visit to Greece to strengthen bilateral relations and cooperation. During his visit, Al-Jubeir identified opportunities in boosting trade and investments in various fields, notably energy, defence industry, shipping and tourism during talks with Greek President, Prokopios Pavlopoulos, Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, and Foreign Minister, Nikos Dendias, in addition to discussing some regional issues of common interest.
Thursday, 14 November—Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah Al-Saud, met with the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, in Washington, DC. They reviewed bilateral ties and discussed ways to enhance them along with the latest regional developments and their partnership in the fight against terrorism and extremism.
United Arab Emirates
Sunday, 10 November—The UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr Anwar Gargash, called on Iran to begin discussions with international powers and the Arab Gulf countries on a new deal, which would address Iran’s ballistic missile programme and its use of proxies to interfere in other countries’ domestic affairs in addition to its nuclear programme.
Monday, 11 November—Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, received the President of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region, Nechirvan Barzani. They discussed enhancing bilateral ties, possible Emirati private investments in the Kurdistan Region and the security situation in Iraq, including the threat of Daesh and other terrorist groups and the ongoing dispute between Erbil and Baghdad.
Thursday, 14 November—Egypt’s President, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, and his accompanying high-level delegation, were received by Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. During the meeting the two leaders discussed ways to enhance bilateral relations, the security situation in Libya, hailed the Riyadh Agreement and denounced Turkey’s military offensive in northern Syria, among others. The UAE and Egypt announced a 20 billion USD (18.1 billion EUR) joint investment fund to implement economic and social projects, which will be run via Egypt's new sovereign wealth fund and the Abu Dhabi Development Holding Company.
Thursday, 14 November—Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and ruler of Dubai, opened the 17th term of the Federal National Council (FNC), the UAE’s 40-member parliamentary body, which for the first time includes equal representation of men and women. The new FNC Speaker is Saqr bin Ghubash Saeed Ghubash, former Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation and Ambassador to the United States.