GULF IN REVIEW
19 - 22 November
Kingdom of Bahrain
Tuesday, 20 November—Bahrainis around the world chose their representatives in the parliamentary elections in 29 diplomatic missions of the Kingdom of Bahrain abroad. Bahrainis in the Kingdom will go to the polls on Saturday, 24 November. This is the 5th legislative term since the first parliamentary elections in October 2002, when all citizens of the Kingdom were granted the right to vote as well as to be elected.
Wednesday, 21 November—Chairman of the Bahrain Centre for Strategic, International and Energy Studies (DERASAT), Dr Abdulla bin Ahmed Al-Khalid, signed an agreement with CEO of the Gulf Cooperation Council Interconnection Authority (GCCIA), Ahmed Al-Ibrahim, on cooperation, expertise exchange as well as studies and research, mainly in renewable energy sector and energy security, which should help Bahrain to fulfil the goals of its Economic Vision 2030.
State of Kuwait
Wednesday, 21 November—Kuwait hosted the 56th Meeting of the Commercial Cooperation Commission of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Secretariat General, attended by GCC Ministers of Commerce and Industry and Secretary General, Abulatif Al-Zayani. The agenda included addressing obstacles for establishing common GCC market, adoption of digital system for Arab resolutions in commerce, GCC policies’ and legislative unification. Kuwait’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, Khaled Al-Roudhan, stressed the role of partnerships between public and private sectors for economic correlation and unity in the GCC. The officials were later received by the Emir of Kuwait, Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.
Thursday, 22 November—The first Kuwait-China Investment forum was held in Shanghai under the auspices of Kuwait’s Finance Minister, Dr Nayef Al-Hajraf, to discuss investment opportunities in Kuwait and the attractiveness of its market for Chinese investors. The two countries strive to increase bilateral economic cooperation to achieve New Kuwait 2030 economic vision and China’s Belt and Road Initiative as they partnered to revive the historic Silk Road and establish a large commercial zone.
Sultanate of Oman
Sunday, 18 November—On the occasion of Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al-Said’s birthday, Oman celebrated the 48th anniversary of the creation of the Sultanate of Oman in 1970 and the reign of Sultan Qaboos, the longest serving Arab leader, who ascended to the throne in 1970 and began the Renaissance process to modernise the country.
Monday, 19 November—Two government-owned companies, the Oman Oil Company (OOC) and the Oman Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industries Company (ORPIC), merged their downstream businesses in the first phase of an integration plan to create one large trading and refining company. The boards of directors of the two companies appointed Musab Al-Mahruqi as the new CEO of the Group from 2 December. According to Bloomberg, the merged company will have the refining capacity of 1.1 million barrels per day in Oman, Hungary, India and oil and gas production in Oman.
State of Qatar
Monday, 19 November—The Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, met with Croatia’s President, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, in Zagreb to discuss how to enhance cooperation mainly in energy, food and defence industries and tourism. The leaders witnessed the signing of eight agreements and Memorandums of Understanding to boost bilateral relations in various fields including: agriculture, culture, defence, education, scientific research and sports.
Tuesday, 20 November—The Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, travelled to Rome, where he met with Italy’s Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, and President, Sergio Mattarella, as well as other officials. The visit resulted in signing of several cooperation agreements and Memorandums of Understanding in: education and science; youth and sports; healthcare; food security; and agriculture. The leaders also discussed bilateral ties, the need to resolve the Gulf Crisis through dialogue, the international efforts to ensure stability and security in Libya, as well as the two-state solution of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Monday, 19 November—Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister, Khalid Al-Falih, announced that Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, will attend the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina scheduled for 30 November and 1 December, where he is expected to meet with the President of the United States, Donald Trump, as well as Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Monday, 19 November—President of the Saudi Human Rights Commission, Dr Bandar bin Mohammed Al-Aiban, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the US State Department’s Office, to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons to enhance technical cooperation in the field and strengthen national capacities by the exchange of expertise. During the meeting, Mr Al-Aiban stressed the Kingdom’s keenness to boost international cooperation in combatting human trafficking.
Tuesday, 20 November—Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, Supervisor General of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief), and Reem Al-Hashimi, the UAE’s Minister of State for International Cooperation, announced a joint Saudi-Emirati $500 million aid programme to address the food crisis and the overall humanitarian situation in Yemen.
Thursday, 22 November—The Foreign Ministry of Denmark announced the suspension of exports of weapons and military equipment to Saudi Arabia citing the killing of Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, and the war in Yemen. The decision concerns only future approvals and will not affect those contracts already approved.
United Arab Emirates
Tuesday, 20 November—The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed, met with Jordan's King, Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein, in Amman. During the meeting they discussed the two-state solution of the Israel-Palestine conflict and boosting of the joint Arab action to face challenges threatening the region. The UAE signed a $100 million grant to support 22,000 Jordanian small and medium-sized enterprises. Both leaders expressed their countries’ keenness keen to further develop ties and continue cooperating in the fight against terrorism.
Wednesday, 21 November—The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, Mohammed bin Zayed, met with French President, Emmanuel Macron, in Paris to discuss recent developments in the Middle East, particularly the political solution of the war in Yemen, and the advancement of cooperation in various fields, including investments, trade and culture.
Wednesday, 21 November—British PhD student, Matthew Hedges, was sentenced to life imprisonment by the UAE’s Federal Court of Abu Dhabi on charges of spying on the UAE and providing sensitive security and intelligence information to third parties. He has the right to appeal within 30 days.