GULF IN REVIEW
17 - 22 November 2019
Kingdom of Bahrain
Wednesday, 20 November—Bahrain’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Khalid bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa, held talks with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, in Moscow. The discussions focused on enhancing bilateral ties, notably in politics, trade, investments and culture. They also reviewed key regional issues, including the situation in Syria, Iraq, the Middle East Peace Process, the fight against terrorism and Russia’s proposal to create a collective regional security system to ease tensions in the Arabian Gulf, stressing the need for a peaceful resolution to the regional conflicts.
Thursday, 21 November—Bahrain and Switzerland held the 4th round of political consultations, co-chaired by Bahrain’s Undersecretary or International Affairs at the Foreign Ministry, Abdulla bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa, and the Director General of the Middle East and North Africa Division at the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Maya Tissafi. Ways to enhance bilateral ties and cooperation, implementation of the existing agreements, innovation, as well as some regional issues of common concern were at the forefront of the talks.
Friday, 22 November—Between 22-24 November 2019, Bahrain hosts the 15th Manama Dialogue, a regional security summit, co-organised by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) and Bahrain’s Foreign Ministry. The event will welcome senior officials from numerous countries, including China, France, Germany, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, UAE, the United Kingdom and the United States, who will have the opportunity to hold private bilateral meetings on the sidelines. The sessions will focus on some of the region’s most pressing challenges related to security and stability, notably regional competition and cooperation, defence, cybersecurity, maritime security, asymmetric threats, geopolitics and geo-economics and the US policy and alliances.
State of Kuwait
Tuesday, 19 November—Kuwait’s Emir, Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, named former Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Sabah, as the country’s new Prime Minister, responsible for the formation of the new government. He replaced Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah, who declined to be reappointed as Prime Minister on Monday, following his and the Cabinet’s resignation last week amid allegations of mismanagement and corruption.
Tuesday, 19 November—The first Belgium-Kuwait Joint Economic Committee meeting, co-chaired by Ambassador Anick Van Calster, Director General for Bilateral Affairs at Belgium’s Foreign Ministry, and Amal Al-Hamad, Kuwait’s Assistant Foreign Minister for Economic Affairs, was held in Brussels, where the two sides discussed the current opportunities and challenges in bilateral economic cooperation and highlighted their commitment to strengthen it.
Sultanate of Oman
Sunday, 17 November—The flight operations at the Muscat International Airport were temporarily disrupted on Saturday evening due to a detected drone activity in the airspace.
Sunday, 17 November—On Saturday, Oman’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, Ali bin Masoud Al-Sunaidi, and Egypt’s Minister of Trade and Industry, Amr Nassar, inaugurated the Omani-Egyptian Joint Business Council, which seeks to strengthen bilateral economic cooperation. During the ceremony in Oman’s capital, Muscat, the two sides also discussed the possibility of linking Oman’s Sohar and Egypt’s Suez ports and establishing an industrial complex in the Sohar Free Zone.
Monday, 18 November—Oman celebrated its 49th National Day, marking the anniversary of Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al-Said’s accession to power, his 79th birthday and the country’s 369th anniversary of independence from Portugal (1650), which makes Oman the oldest independent Arab state. On the occasion, Sultan Qaboos attended a military parade in Muscat and issued a royal pardon for 332 prisoners, including 142 foreigners.
State of Qatar
Sunday, 17 November—Armenia’s President, Armen Sarkissian, arrived on a state visit to Qatar. Upon the arrival, he was welcomed by Qatar’s Minister of Transport and Communication, Jassim Saif Ahmed Al-Sulaiti, and other officials, before meeting with Qatar’s Prime Minister and Interior Minister, Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al-Thani, as well as the Emir, Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani. President Sarkissian praised the positive impact of the visa regime cancellation and opening of Armenian Embassy in Doha on the development of bilateral relations. The two sides agreed on enhancing cooperation in various areas, notably health, education, research and technology.
Wednesday, 20 November—Moscow hosted the 4th Session of Russian-Qatari Joint Committee for Economic, Trade and Technical Cooperation, co-chaired by Ali bin Ahmed Al-Kuwari, Qatar’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, and Alexander Novak, Russia’s Minister of Energy, aiming to consolidate economic ties between Moscow and Doha and boost trade exchange and investments. The two officials also witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in investment promotion between the Qatar Investment Promotion Agency and the Russian Investment Agency.
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Sunday, 17 November—The Yemeni Houthis seized one Saudi-flagged and two South Korean vessels with 16 people on board in the Red Sea, near Uqban island. Three days later, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, received South Korea’s Defence Minister, Jeong Kyeong-doo, and the three vessels were released from the Yemeni port of Salif.
Monday, 18 Noveember—On the sidelines of the 2019 Dubai Airshow, Commander of the Saudi Royal Air Force, Lieutenant General Turki bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz, held talks about the latest regional developments and military cooperation with Commander of the United Arab Emirates Air Force, Major General Ibrahim bin Nasser Al-Alawi, Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force, General David L Goldfein, and Commander of the French Air Force, General Philippe Lavigne.
Thursday, 21 November—The Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) signed several investment agreements worth over 2 billion USD (1.81 billion EUR) with five petrochemical majors—the Japanese Mitsui & Co, the German BASF, the Anglo-Dutch Shell, the French SNF and the Dutch Advanced Metallurgical Group (AMG)—at the Invest Saudi event in Riyadh.
United Arab Emirates
Sunday, 17 November—Abu Dhabi hosted the first tripartite ministerial meeting between Greece, Cyprus and the UAE. The three countries’ Foreign Ministers—Nikos Dendias, Nikos Christodoulides and Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan—discussed ways to develop cooperation in various fields and exchanged views on the latest regional developments and issues of common interest, notably Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria and Turkey. Greece’s Foreign Minister Dendias then travelled to Kuwait to promote bilateral relations and economic cooperation as Greece seeks to develop closer ties with the Arab Gulf countries.
Tuesday, 19 November—Major General Ishaq Saleh Al-Blooshi, the Deputy Executive Director of the Military Committee of the Dubai Airshow 2019, announced that the UAE Armed Forces will buy 24 B-250 light attack aircraft from the local aerospace company, Calidus, two GlobalEye airborne early warning and control aircraft (G 6000-SRSS), capable of detecting ballistic missiles, from the Swedish company, Saab, and three Aerial Refueling Tanker aircraft A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (330MRTT) from Airbus.
Thursday, 21 November—UAE’s Energy Minister, Suhail Al-Mazroui, was received by Sudan’s Finance Minister, Ibrahim Elbadawi, to discuss bilateral economic cooperation and Emirati investments in Sudan to support the development, open up the market and attract investors during the country’s transitional period.