GULF IN REVIEW
2 - 7 August 2020
Kingdom of Bahrain
Sunday, 2 August—Bahrain’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani, and the UAE's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Anwar Mohammed Gargash, discussed the latest regional issues with a focus on the UAE-Turkey dispute regarding the latter’s interference in Arab countries’ internal affairs. Bahrain’s Foreign Ministry voiced its support for the UAE, condemning the statement by Turkey’s Defence Minister, Hulusi Akar, accusing the UAE of malicious activities in Syria and Libya for which it will pay at the right place and time, as a hostile provocation.
Wednesday, 5 August—Bahrain’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani, expressed solidarity with Lebanon in the aftermath of the explosion of 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate in the Port of Beirut during a phone call with his Lebanese counterpart, Charbel Wehbe. Bahrain also pledged to dispatch emergency medical and humanitarian aid to Beirut as did Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
State of Kuwait
Sunday, 2 August—Kuwait marked the 30th anniversary of the Iraqi invasion that began the Gulf War.
Wednesday, 5 August—Kuwait’s government agencies began the process of reducing the number of foreign personnel by 50% over the next three months as part of the national Kuwaitisation process.
Thursday, 6 August—The Kuwait Red Crescent Society's (KRSC) dispatched 36 tonnes of critical aid supplies to Lebanon in light of the Beirut Port explosion, which caused more than 150 casualties and wounded over 5,000 people. A second shipment of emergency supplies was delivered by Kuwait through cooperation between its Foreign and Defence Ministries.
Sultanate of Oman
Wednesday, 5 August—Oman’s Supreme Committee tasked with confronting the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Sultanate ordered to lift the internal travelling ban, in place from 25 July 2020 to prevent the spread of COVID-19 during the Eid Al-Adha holiday and reduce the curfew for the following week by two hours from 21:00 to 6:00, instead from 19:00. Dhofar province continues to be under complete lockdown.
Friday, 7 August—Oman’s Sultan Haitham bin Tarik ordered the dispatch of critical medical materials and essential supplies to Beirut, delivered by the Royal Air Force of Oman.
State of Qatar
Sunday, 2 August—Qatar’s Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al-Thani, and France’s Prime Minister, Jean Castex, discussed the recent developments in Libya and ways to settle the conflict and establish stability through diplomacy. They also discussed a number of bilateral issues, such the Qatari-French cultural year, collaboration regarding the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and ways to enhance economic and investment exchange.
Wednesday, 5 August—Qatar delivered critical medical aid supplies to Lebanon, including 500-bed field hospitals and a team from the Qatari Search and Rescue Team of the Internal Security Force (Lekhwiya) to assist local emergency authorities.
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Wednesday, 5 August—The Saudi Agricultural Development launched a SR337 million ($90 million USD) financial package, consisting of financial loans, facilities and credit guarantees, to assist small and medium enterprises (SMEs) operating in the Kingdom’s agricultural sector. The package aims to enhance the country’s food security, through food importation projects, as well as limiting the economic impact of the ongoing pandemic.
Thursday, 6 August—Saudi Arabia's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, and his accompanying delegation travelled to Cyprus for talks with his Cypriot counterpart, Nikos Christodoulides. They agreed to sign several agreements, notably in energy, finance, judiciary or intelligence sharing, and establish direct flights between them by the end of 2020, in addition to discussing relations between the European Union and Saudi Arabia and tensions with Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean, among others.
Friday, 7 August—Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Energy, Abdulaziz bin Salman Al-Saud, and Iraqi Minister of Oil, Ihsan Abdul Jabbar Ismail, discussed Iraq’s commitment to the OPEC+ deal to cut crude oil output to alleviate the global energy crisis. Iraq’s Minister affirmed that Iraq will cut 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) in August and September to compensate for its previous overproduction and that it will reach conformity to the OPEC+ deal in August.
Friday, 7 August—The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) delivered the first batch of 120 tonnes of medical aid supplies to Beirut as well as KSRelief-funded emergency teams which will aid local medical authorities and teams in dealing with the blast’s aftermath.
Friday, 7 August—Italy’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Luigi Di Maio, received Saudi Arabia's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, in Rome. The talks focused on bilateral ties and regional crises, especially Libya. The previous week Prince Faisal bin Farhan toured North Africa countries.
United Arab Emirates
Saturday, 1 August—The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) announced the successful start of the first reactor of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant, the Arab world’s first commercial nuclear power plant. The Barakah Plant is expected to be fully operational by 2023 and it will produce as much about 5.6 gigawatts, one fifth of the country’s total electric capacity, in a project worth over $25 billion (USD).
Sunday, 2 August—The UAE’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, held a virtual meeting with Iran's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohamed Javad Zarif. The two ministers discussed bilateral relations and regional issues of mutual concern, stressing the need of cooperation to tackle the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the future regional challenges.
Thursday, 6 August—The UAE sent 30 tonnes of emergency medical supplies to Lebanon to help with the impact of the Port of Beirut explosion on the country's healthcare system along with 12 tonnes of diagnostic devices and emergency supplies to combat COVID-19.