GULF IN REVIEW
17 - 22 February 2019
Kingdom of Bahrain
Monday, 18 February—The Chief Executive of Bahrain’s Supreme Council for Environment, Dr Mohammed Mubarak bin Dainah, and Italy’s Ambassador to Bahrain, Domenico Bellato, discussed ways to advance cooperation between Bahrain and Italy in the area of environment.
Tuesday, 19 February—Bahrain hosted and International Conference on the Fourth Industrial Revolution titled ‘Industry 4.0 – transition and capacity of GCC countries,’ co-organised with the Bahrain Society of Engineers (BSE), the National Oil and Gas Authority (NOGA) and several companies. The event focused on supporting local industries using the opportunities provided by the 4th Industrial Revolution, particularly related to oil and gas, energy, engineering constructions, metal industries, and logistics.
Wednesday, 20 February—The UK-Bahrain Joint Working Group held a meeting, co-chaired by Bahrain’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al-Khalifa, and British Minister of State for the Middle East at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Alistair Burt, in Manama, which focused on ways to enhance bilateral cooperation and coordination. The British delegation also discussed boosting judicial cooperation with Bahrain’s Minister of Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments, Khalid bin Ali Al-Khalifa. Moreover, Mr Burt met with Bahrain’s Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister, Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, and reviewed areas of cooperation, both stressing the commitment to focus on advancing military cooperation.
Thursday, 21 February—The Head of the European Union’s (EU) Delegation to the GCC and its member states, Michele Cervone d'Urso, met in Manama with several Bahraini officials including the Speaker of Bahrain’s Council of Representatives, Fawzia Abdullah Zainal, and Assistant Foreign Minister, Abdullah bin Faisal bin Jabur Al-Doseri, to discuss regional and international issues of common concern and reviewed relations between Bahrain and the EU as well as the future of their cooperation. Both sides are keen to promote bilateral cooperation, Bahrain being particularly interested in trade and investments and efforts to maintain regional stability and fight against terrorism.
State of Kuwait
Thursday, 21 February—Speaker of Kuwait’s National Assembly, Marzouq Ali Al-Ghanim, received Qatar’s Ambassador to Kuwait, Bandar bin Mohammad Al-Attiyah, to discuss bilateral relations and ways to enhance them. Later that day, Qatar’s Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al-Thani, received a hand-delivered message from Kuwait’s Ambassador to Qatar, Hafeez Mohammed Al-Ajmi, containing a letter from Kuwait’s Emir, Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, addressed to Qatar’s Emir, Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, about ways to enhance bilateral ties and issues of common concern.
Thursday, 21 February—The Speaker of Iraq’s Parliament, Mohammed Al-Halbousi, reaffirmed the Parliament’s support for increasing commercial relations with Kuwait. The day before, Kuwait’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, Khalid Al-Roudhan, arrived in Baghdad for a two-day visit to promote bilateral relations, particularly in business and investments.
Thursday, 21 February—Kuwait’s Assistant Foreign Minister for the Office of Deputy Prime Minister, Dr Ahmad Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah, participated in consultations on the political and security pillars of the Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA) hosted in Washington, where senior officials from the GCC countries, Jordan, Egypt and the US discussed ways to enhance cooperation and coordination and exchanged views on MESA’s strategic objectives.
Sultanate of Oman
Tuesday, 19 February—Oman’s Minister of the Royal Office, General Sultan bin Mohammed Al-Numani, received Sigal Mandelker, the US Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, and her accompanying delegation, to discuss cooperation between the United States and Oman on issues of common concern.
Thursday, 21 February—The United Kingdom’s Secretary of Defence, Gavin Williamson, was received by Oman’s Sultan, Qaboos Bin Said, in the presence of Oman’s Minister of Defence, Sayyid Badr bin Saud bin Harib Al-Busaidi. They reviewed bilateral cooperation and opportunities for development as UK officials strive to cement ties and secure influence in the region before Brexit. Earlier that day, Williamson and his Omani counterpart signed a joint defence agreement.
State of Qatar
Tuesday, 19 February—Qatar’s envoy to the Gaza Strip, Mohammad Al-Amadi, announced to Hamas that Qatar will cut its electricity funds in Gaza. Since 2012, Qatar channelled over $1 billion in aid money to Gaza via the Muslim Brotherhood-linked group, classified as a terrorist group in numerous countries, including Europe, the United States, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain.
Wednesday, 20 February—Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohamed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, announced that Qatar plans to invest another €10 billion in Germany over the next five years in a bid to become the largest Arab investor in Germany with a total investment of €35 billion, Deutsche Bank being one of the possible investment opportunities.
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Tuesday, 19 February—Saudi Arabia's King Salman and Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin, praised the existing bilateral cooperation between Russia and Saudi Arabia and agreed on continued coordination in the global energy market during a telephone conversation.
Wednesday, 20 February—The armed forces of the six Gulf Cooperation Council countries began their joint Peninsula Shield 10 (Dir’ Al-Jazeera) military exercises in Saudi Arabia, one of the largest manoeuvres in the region, which will last until mid-March. The exercises aim at strengthening military cooperation of the GCC countries and coordinate their military strategies.
Friday, 22 February—Between 18 and 22 February, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman (MbS), travelled with his delegation of Saudi officials and businessmen to Pakistan, India and China, where he met with the countries’ leaders. In Pakistan, Saudi Arabia pledged $20 billion in investments to help the country in its precarious economic situation. In India, the Kingdom signed five cooperation documents in investments, tourism, housing, information and broadcasting in addition to the International Solar Alliance Framework agreement, while MbS announced he expects Saudi investments in India to exceed $100 billion in the next 2 years. In China, Saudi Arabia signed 35 agreements on economic cooperation amounting to $28 billion, Saudi Aramco signed a $10 billion deal to jointly develop a refining and petrochemical complex in Panjin with Chinese defence conglomerate Norinco and bought 9% stake in Zhejiang Petrochemical.
United Arab Emirates
Wednesday, 20 February—The French President, Emmanuel Macron, sent a letter to the UAE’s President, Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, in which he hailed bilateral relations between France and the UAE and touched upon ways to enhance them in various fields, as well as other issues of common interest, including latest regional and international developments.
Wednesday, 20 February—The UAE’s Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, represented by its Minister, Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al-Zeyoudi, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Ukraine's Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food, represented by the Deputy Minister, Olga Trofimtseva, to advance cooperation in agriculture and food safety and increase bilateral agricultural trade.
Wednesday, 20 February—The UAE hosted the annual International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX 2019) and the Naval Defence and Maritime Security Exhibition (NAVDEX 2019), where companies from around the world presented the latest technologies and innovations in security and defence industries. In four days, deals worth over AED 19.65 billion were signed by the UAE Armed Forces with both, local and international companies to help enhance UAE’s military and defence capabilities. On the occasion, the French multinational group Thales announced expansion in the UAE, launching the Thales Emarat Technologies, which will focus on radar, radio communications and a variety of defence aerospace technologies.
Thursday, 21 February—The UAE’s Attorney-General, Dr Hamad Saif Al-Shamsi, participated in the first Middle East and North African Regional Conference on enhancing international cooperation in Cairo, Egypt. This comes as the threats of terrorism finance and money laundering continue to grow. Experts and policy-makers discussed issues linked to countering terrorism and money laundering.