GULF IN REVIEW

16 - 21 June 2019

by

Nikola Zukalová

Kingdom of Bahrain
 

Thursday, 20 June—Bahrain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs strongly condemned Iran's downing of a US drone in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz. It said it considered the act a cowardly aggression and unjustifiable escalation by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). The Ministry affirmed full support to the US and called on the international community to take its responsibility and confront Iran’s reckless behaviour and stop such recurrent violations of international norms and law and put an end to Tehran’s attempts to undermine international peace and security. Iran shot down the surveillance drone, US Navy RQ-4A, by a surface-to-air missile claiming it had entered the Iranian air space.

 

Thursday, 20 June—Bahrain and Poland held political consultations, co-chaired by the Undersecretary for International Affairs at Bahrain’s Foreign Ministry, Dr Abdullah bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa, and Polish Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Maciej Lang, in Manama. They tackled prospects for enhancing investments and trade exchange as well as security. Dr Abdullah bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa called for changing the strategy of providing incentives to countries that threaten international peace and security and adopting a deterrent policy based on exclusion, containment and punishment. Mr Lang expressed Poland’s keenness to enhance cooperation and coordination with Bahrain, appreciating the Kingdom as an important ally in the Middle East.

 

June 20 (BNA): A delegation from Bahrain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs participated in the meeting of the Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA) Task Force on Counter-Terrorism, in Washington, DC. The meeting came as part of the efforts to establish the MESA to ensure regional security and confront Iran's malign actions and its support for terrorist groups, including Hezbollah and the Houthis, with the aim to undermine regional security and stability. It was chaired by the Political and Economic Affairs Advisor to Bahrain’s Foreign Minister, Dr Nasser Al-Balushi, who stressed the need to unify the countries’ terrorist groups’ lists and enhance information exchange and border security to boost cooperation in the combatting terrorism and its financing. On the sidelines, Bahraini officials held talks with the US Coordinator of Counterterrorism, Nathan A. Sales.

State of Kuwait

Wednesday, 18 June—Kuwait’s Emir, Sabah Al- Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, arrived in Iraq as part of the efforts to boost bilateral ties and continue to support the Iraq’s reconstruction, as well as to discuss the recent regional and international developments. This was the Emir’s second visit to Iraq after the first one in 2012. During the visit, the Emir held talks with Iraq’s President, Barham Saleh, Prime Minister, Adel Abdul-Mahdi, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mohamed Halbousi, during which they focused on political issues of common concern and opportunities for enhancing bilateral business cooperation.

Sultanate of Oman
 

Wednesday, 19 June—The Commander of the Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO), Air Vice Marshal Mattar bin Ali Al-Obaidani, received Lieutenant General Carl E. Mundy, Commander of the United States Marine Forces Central Command and his accompanying delegation, that was visiting Oman amid the rising tensions between the US and Iran and last week’s attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman.

 

Thursday, 20 June—Qatar’s Minister of Finance, Ali Shareef Al-Emadi, arrived to Oman for an official visit, during which he met with Oman’s senior officials, namely Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs, Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdallah, and the Deputy Prime Minister for International Relations and Cooperation Affairs, and the Personal Representative of the Sultan, Sayyid Asa'ad bin Tariq Al-Said, to discuss bilateral relations and ways to promote them.

State of Qatar

Wednesday, 19 June—Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, held talks with Romania’s Prime Minister, Viorica Dancila, and the country's Foreign Minister, Teodor Melescanu, during which they discussed the ways to enhance bilateral relations and cooperation, notably in investments, trade, energy, education and the Qatar 2022 World Cup projects. Speaking at the press conference, the Qatari Minister called on the international community to resolve the political differences and escalation between the United States and Iran through constructive dialogue.

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Wednesday, 18 June—A high-level investment forum, the Saudi-Japan Vision 2030 Business Forum, was held in Tokyo. The Forum, co-hosted by the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) and the Japan External Trade Organization, sought to enhance business ties between Saudi Arabia and Japan and attract Japanese investments into the Kingdom. It resulted in the signing of several agreements and Memoranda of Understanding between Saudi and Japanese entities, notably in industry and manufacturing, financing and education. The SAGIA also announced it handed permits to Japanese corporations to work in Saudi Arabia.

Wednesday, 18 June—The Arab Parliament that convened in Cairo designated the Iran-backed Houthis as a terrorist group for its role in deliberately targeting civilians and civilian installations and called on the League of Arab States and the United Nations to take firm position and classify the Houthis as a terrorist group as well. The Spokesperson of the Arab Parliament, Meshaal bin Fahm Al-Sulami, said the Houthis’ targeting of civilian areas in neighbouring countries are war crimes and said that the group is also threatening Yemen’s MPs for attending the Parliament sessions.

 

Thursday, 20 June—Saudi Arabia's Air Defence Forces intercepted a drone launched by the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen towards Jizan. A day earlier the Houthis fired a projectile that landed near to a desalination plant in the Al-Shuqaiq area in the Kingdom’s Jizan province without causing any casualties or damage.

 

Friday, 21 June—Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Defence Minister, Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, met with the United States’ Special Representative for Iran, Brian Hook, who is currently visiting the region. During the meeting they discussed the latest regional developments and the efforts to counter Iran’s hostile activities that undermine regional security and stability. They also discussed Iran’s provision of missiles and drones to the Houthis in Yemen, which they use to attack civilian areas in Saudi Arabia. Prince Khalid affirmed the Kingdom’s support for the US pressure campaign on Iran. Mr Hook will continue to the UAE, Oman, Kuwait and Bahrain to discuss Iran’s regional aggression and share additional US intelligence on active Iranian threats to the region.

United Arab Emirates

Monday, 17 June—UAE’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, met with French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian, in Paris. During the meeting they discussed bilateral ties and ways to boost cooperation, notably in economy, investments, commerce and culture. They also focused on the current situation in the region, including the recent escalations with Iran and Yemen. The UAE’s Minister visited France on the occasion of the inauguration of Fontainebleau, which was opened after 12 years of restoration works sponsored by the UAE.

 

Wednesday, 18 June—Abu Dhabi hosted the 5th Arab-China Political Strategic Dialogue and the 16th Meeting of Senior Officials of the Arab-China Cooperation Forum. The Dialogue discussed the Arab-Chinese cooperation in all fields and coordination between them in various issues, including the Palestinian cause, the Middle East peace process, Syria, fight against terrorism, security in the Gulf region and the situation in Yemen. Speaking at the conference, Wang Di, Director General of the Department of West Asian and North African Affairs at the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, praised the strengthening of Sino-Arab relations and the joint achievements in the Belt and Road Initiative, while expressing China’s willingness to strengthen coordination with Arab states and enhance cooperation in countering terrorism and extremism.

 

Wednesday, 18 June—The United States Navy showed the fragments of the limpet mine and a magnet that it removed from one of the two oil tankers attacked in the Gulf of Oman last week. Speaking at the US Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) facility near the UAE port of Fujairah, Commander Sean Kido, Commanding Officer of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Mobile Unit Eleven in NAVCENT, said the limpet mine used in the last week attack on the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous tanker strikingly resembled to Iranian mines that have been publicly displayed in Iranian military parades. He also said that they have collected evidence, including fingerprints, to build a criminal case against the perpetrators.

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