GULF IN REVIEW
14 - 19 July 2019
Kingdom of Bahrain
Monday, 15 July—Bahrain’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al-Khalifa, travelled to Washington DC for an official visit. He attended the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom held in the US capital. On the occasion, he held talks with the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, on maritime security, deterring Iran’s destabilising activities and promotion of religious freedom. Bahrain’s Foreign Minister also met with Senior Advisor to the US President, Jared Kushner, US National Security Advisor, John Bolton, and US Assistant Secretary of Near Eastern Affairs, David Schenker, among others.
Thursday, 18 July—Bahrain will host a Maritime and Air Navigation Security Meeting amid the rising threats to navigation in the Gulf. The event will discuss ways to enhance security and stability in the region and strengthen international cooperation in light of Iranian threats to the regional freedom of navigation, including commercial vessels. The conference, prepared in cooperation with the United States and Poland as a follow up to the International Conference in Support of Security and Peace in the Middle East held in Warsaw in February 2019, should be held in autumn and will see the participation of around 60 countries.
State of Kuwait
Sunday, 14 July—The EU Delegation to Kuwait was officially inaugurated by Federica Mogherini, EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission, and Kuwait’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Sabah Khalid Al-Hamad Al-Sabah. This is the third EU Delegation in the Gulf after Abu Dhabi and Riyadh and signals the commitment of both sides to the strengthening of their partnership. On the occasion, HR/VP Mogherini was received by the Emir of Kuwait, Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, and Kuwait’s Prime Minister, Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah.
Monday, 15 July—Kuwait extradited eight Muslim Brotherhood-linked Egyptians, who have fled to Kuwait after being convicted of carrying out terrorist attacks in Egypt, to Cairo. The move came three days after the Kuwaiti authorities uncovered the Muslim Brotherhood-linked cell in the country and arrested its members.
Sultanate of Oman
Tuesday, 16 July—Khazaen Economic City revealed the details of the approved plan for the first phase of the 51.6 million square meters large integrated economic city north of Muscat. The Khazaen is the largest joint public-private project in Oman and its first phase will include the first dry port in Oman, a free zone, logistics and industrial complexes, social infrastructure, along with residential, commercial and entertainment components. The award of the first construction contract is expected soon.
State of Qatar
Sunday, 14 July—Qatar’s Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al-Thani, inaugurated the Al-Daayen Naval Base, which will serve as the new premises of the General Directorate of Coasts and Borders Security. On the occasion a new fleet of boats recently added to the Directorate was launched aiming to enhance Qatar’s maritime security.
Wednesday, 17 July—Doha saw the opening of the Investment Promotion Agency LLC, established to attract foreign direct investments to Qatar in the country’s priority sectors in line with the National Vision 2030. The entity’s Advisory Board is chaired by Qatar’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, Ali bin Ahmed Al-Kuwari.
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Tuesday, 16 July—The Arab Coalition downed three drones launched by the Iran-backed Houthis from Amran in Yemen towards Jazan and Abha in southern part of Saudi Arabia, said the Coalition’s Spokesman, Colonel Turki Al-Maliki. On Monday, the Coalition intercepted another two drones heading towards southern Saudi Arabia. Speaking to the UN Security Council, the UN envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, expressed his concerns over the Houthis’ continued attacks on civilian infrastructure in the Kingdom.
Wednesday, 17 July—Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to Iraq announced that the border crossing between the Kingdom and Iraq, which has been closed since Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990, will be officially opened on 15 October 2019 as part of rapprochement between the two countries.
Thursday, 18 July—Lieutenant General Prince Fahd bin Turki bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, Commander of the Saudi-led Coalition fighting the Houthis in Yemen, received General Kenneth McKenzie, the Commander of the United States Central Command. General McKenzie said that the United States and the international community were discussing the protection of freedom of navigation in the Middle East, including the passages to two vital shipping routes, the Strait of Hormuz and Bab Al-Mandeb.
United Arab Emirates
Tuesday, 16 July—The UAE rebutted the claims that the Panama-flagged oil tanker, Riah, which disappeared on 14 July in the Strait of Hormuz after entering Iranian waters, would belong to the UAE. The UAE’s state news agency, WAM, quoted an official, saying that the vessel was not owned or operated by the UAE and did not carry any Emirati personnel aboard nor did it emit a distress call as claimed by Iran, which was suspected of seizing the tanker.
Tuesday, 16 July—The UAE, Egypt, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States issued a joint statement calling for an immediate end to the fighting around the Libyan capital, Tripoli, and urged the parties to return to the UN-sponsored political process to reestablish stability in Libya, while warning against potential exploitation of the political vacuum by terrorist groups.
Thursday, 18 July—Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, received Finland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and EU Special Representative for Sudan, Pekka Haavisto, who was visiting Abu Dhabi as part of a regional tour. They discussed bilateral cooperation, the latest regional developments and both sides efforts to contribute to security and stability in Sudan. The Finnish Foreign Minister also held talks with his UAE counterpart, Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.