GULF IN REVIEW

11 - 16 August 2019

by

Nikola Zukalová

Kingdom of Bahrain
 

Sunday, 11 August—Norway’s Prime Minister, Erna Solberg, received Bahrain’s Cabinet Affairs Minister, Mohammed bin Ibrahim Al-Mutawa, who delivered her a letter from Bahrain's Prime Minister, Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al-Khalifa, which included ways to enhance bilateral relations and an invitation for the Prime Minister to visit Bahrain. The Cabinet Minister assumed the Norwegian Guest of Honour Award 2019, which was granted to Bahrain’s Prime Minister in recognition of his efforts to promote regional and global peace, security, tolerance and harmony.

 

Tuesday, 13 August—Bahrain inked an agreement to purchase Raytheon’s Patriot Integrated Air and Missile Defence System from the US Army. The US Government will now commence negotiations with the company for production of an undisclosed number of systems and missiles but in May, the US State Department cleared the possible foreign military sale of the Patriot for estimated $2.7 billion. The mobile defence system is designed to intercept ballistic and cruise missiles as well as manned and unmanned aircraft and will improve Bahrain’s defence capabilities against regional threats.

 

Tuesday, 13 August—The Commander-in-Chief of the Bahrain Defence Force (BDF), Field Marshal Khalifa bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa, visited the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence, where he was received by General Sir Nicholas Carter, the Chief of the UK’s Defence Staff. The two senior officials reviewed the historic bilateral relations and discussed ways to strengthen military cooperation between the two countries.

State of Kuwait

Wednesday, 14 August—Kuwait’s Health Minister, Dr Basel Al-Humoud Al-Sabah, leads Kuwait’s delegation to the 2nd Chinese-Arab Health Forum held in Beijing between 16-18 August, where the Chinese and Arab Health Ministers and other representatives will witness the launch of the Beijing Declaration 2019 on Sino-Arab joint health cooperation.

 

Friday, 16 August—Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, will visit Kuwait on Saturday, 17 August, to meet with Kuwait’s officials, including his Kuwaiti counterpart, and discuss bilateral ties and the latest regional developments.

Sultanate of Oman
 

Wednesday, 14 August—Oman’s first wind farm, the 50-megawatt Dhofar Wind Farm, generated its first kilowatt hour of electricity. The first utility-scale wind farm in the Gulf Cooperation Council was developed with funds from the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development and should be fully commissioned and connected to Oman’s electricity transmission grid soon so it can launch commercial operations in late 2019. The 13 wind turbines are expected to supply clean energy to 16,000 homes in the Sultanate’s Dhofar governorate, reduce the Sultanate’s dependence on natural gas for power generation and decrease the CO2 emissions by 110,000 tonnes annually.

State of Qatar

Sunday, 11 August—Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammed Javad Zarif, arrived for an official visit to Qatar, where he held talks with Qatar’s senior officials, notably the Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani. They discussed the tensions between Iran and the United States in the Gulf. A day earlier, Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif held talks with the Yemeni Houthis’ Spokesman, Mohammed Abdul Salam, in Tehran.

 

Sunday, 11 August—Poland’s Ambassador to Qatar, Janusz Janke, met with the Assistant Director General of Coast and Border Security, Lieutenant Colonel Abdulaziz Ali Al-Mohannadi, to disscuss enhancing joint cooperation between Poland and Qatar and training Qatari cadets at the Naval Academy in Gdynia, Poland. 

 

Wednesday, 14 August—Turkey reportedly plans to expand its military presence in Qatar and significantly up the number of soldiers stationed in the small Arab Gulf state. The Turkish daily newspaper, Hürriyet, informed that Turkey is building a new military base near the Qatari Tariq bin Ziyad military base, which currently hosts around 3000 Turkish forces, and expects it to be opened in Autumn 2019.

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Sunday, 11 August—Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, met with Yemen’s President, Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, to discuss the latest developments in Yemen, particularly the infighting in Aden, a temporary seat of Hadi’s internationally recognised Yemeni government. The Saudi-led coalition intervened in Aden on Sunday in support of the Hadi government after the secessionist UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council (STC) took over Aden during the weekend by seizing government’s military bases and presidential palace. The Southern separatists demand the removal of members of the Islamist Islah party and Northeners from power in South Yemen. Saudi Arabia invited the Aden’s warring parties to an emergency meeting in Saudi Arabia to resolve the conflict over the control of Aden through dialogue. The STC’s leader, Aidaroos Al-Zubaidi, reaffirmed the group’s continuous support for the Coalition fighting the Houthis and agreed to attend the meeting.

 

Monday, 12 August—Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud held an annual reception for state leaders, Islamic dignitaries, government bodies, King’s guests, and other officials, who performed Hajj this year. Among the guests were: Yemen’s President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi; Prime Minister of Djibouti, Abdoulkader Kamil Mohamed, and Guinea, Dr Ibrahim Kasuri Fofan; former Prime Minister of Iraq, Haider Al-Abadi, President of the Malaysian People’s Justice Party, Anwar Ibrahim; Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister, Dr Wan Azizah bint Wan Ismail; and others.

 

Monday, 12 August—The world’s largest oil producer, Saudi Aramco, plans to buy a 20% stake in the world’s biggest oil refinery India's Reliance Industries Ltd, worth $75 billion in total, putting  the value of Aramco’s one fifth stake in the company at $15 billion.

United Arab Emirates

Monday, 12 August—Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, arrived to Saudi Arabia, where he met with the Kingdom’s officials, notably King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud and Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence. During the meetings they reviewed bilateral ties and ways to develop them, with particular focus on the recent developments in Yemen, notably the clashes in the Southern Yemeni city of Aden, where the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council (STC) has fought the Yemeni government forces since last week. Mohamed bin Zayed expressed support for the Saudi call for dialogue between the Yemeni rival parties over Aden.

 

Monday, 12 August—The governments of France, Italy, the UAE, the United Kingdom and the United States released a joint statement, welcoming the Eid Al-Adha truce around Tripoli in Libya. The five countries also stressed the need for a political solution to the conflict and called on all parties to protect civilians, Libya’s oil resources and infrastructure and immediately commence working on a ceasefire agreement.

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