GULF IN REVIEW

20 - 25 January 2019 

by

Nikola Zukalová

 

Kingdom of Bahrain
 

Sunday, 20 January—Bahrain’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al-Khalifa, and his accompanying delegation participated in the 4th Arab Economic and Social Development Summit in Beirut, Lebanon, the first time since 2013. The Summit was attended by representatives of all Arab countries except Syria and Libya.

Tuesday, 22 January—Bahrain’s Foreign Minister, Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al-Khalifa, arrived in Riyadh for an official visit. He held talks with Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Adel Al-Jubeir, where they tackled various issues, including recent regional developments, countering the Iranian regime’s destabilising policies, Yemen, Qatar Crisis, and the joint Arab action. The Bahraini Minister was later received by King Salman Abdulaziz Al-Saud to review the thriving relations between both nations, recent regional developments and Saudi Arabia’s central role in developing joint action, counterterrorism, and promoting and maintaining regional security and stability.

Tuesday, 22 January—Bahrain Defence Force and Egyptian Armed Forces held joint air and naval military drills, Hamad 3, to exchange expertise and the latest military techniques to be able to face wide range of challenges, increase operational readiness and enhance military cooperation and coordination between Egypt and Bahrain.

 

State of Kuwait

Tuesday, 22 January—Germany’s Federal Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, Andreas Scheuer, expressed keenness to bolster cooperation with Kuwait, particularly in commerce, industry, and technology. During the meeting with Kuwait’s Ambassador to Germany, Najeeb Al-Bader, they focused on cooperation in tourism and transport as well as investment opportunities between the two countries.

Tuesday, 22 January—The EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides, and Jasem Al-Budaiwi, the head of Kuwaiti Mission to the EU and NATO, discussed ways to boost cooperation between the EU and Kuwait in humanitarian aid.

Wednesday, 23 January—The United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, appointed the Kuwaiti economist and former Minister for Planning and Development, Dr Rola Dashti, as Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia.

Sultanate of Oman
 

Tuesday, 22 January—María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, President of the 73rd Session of UN General Assembly, arrived in Oman, where she met with several government officials, including the Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign, and Defence Ministers, to discuss issues of common concern and cooperation between Oman and the United Nations. She praised Oman’s mediation role and its contributions to regional peace and stability.

Wednesday, 23 January—Between 23-24 January, Oman hosted the Agricultural, Fish and Food Investment Forum, which strives to increase private sector’s investments in Oman’s agriculture and fishery, promote sustainable development and to help define the Sultanate’s future steps to successfully face challenges of food security in line with Oman Vision 2040.

 

State of Qatar
 

Monday, 21 January—Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Imran Khan, arrived for his first official visit in Doha to discuss cooperation with Qatari officials. Mr Khan held talks with the Qatari Emir, Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, where they discussed enhancing bilateral ties and cooperation in investments, energy, military, and food security, among others. Earlier, Mr Khan also discussed bolstering bilateral cooperation with Qatar’s Prime Minister and Interior Minister, Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al-Thani, and met with representatives of the Qatar Chamber and the Qatari Businessmen Association.

Tuesday, 22 January—Qatari Minister of Justice and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs, Dr Issa bin Saad Al-Jafali Al-Nuaimi, met with French deputy and a member of the Qatar-France Friendship Society at the French National Assembly, Naima Moutchou, to discuss ways to bolster judicial and legislative cooperation between Qatar and France. He praised the Group’s role in enhancing relations between Qatar and the French National Assembly.

Wednesday, 23 January—Sudanese President, Omar Al-Bashir, arrived in Doha for talks with Qatari Emir, Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, amid the ongoing anti-government protests in Sudan. They reviewed bilateral relations and focused on the latest developments and challenges in Sudan as well as the Darfur peace process. The Emir highlighted his country’s commitment to Sudan’s stability.

Friday, 25 January—Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohamed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani met the US Special Representative for Afghanistan, Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, to discuss ways to promote peace and stability in Afghanistan.

 

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
 

Sunday, 20 January—Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Labour issued a decree specifying conditions for women workers, their employers and workspace. The Ministry bans gender discrimination in wages—men and women must get paid equally for equal job. Employers shall create an adequate work environment for women, including setting up either women sections or—in the case of mixed workspaces—ensuring there are simultaneously at least two women, and providing women security guards or a female-operated electronic security system. Working hours for women at night are set until 23h with exceptions for certain positions and situations. Women should not work in men-only facilities, possibly dangerous industrial jobs, facilities’ cleaning, room service, or as hotel porter. Establishments violating the decree will be penalised.

Tuesday, 22 January—Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Development, Dr Tamazir bint Yousif Al-Ramah, arrived in Helsinki to hold meetings with Finland's Minister of Social Affairs and Health, Pirkko Mattila, and Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services, Mannika Saarikko. They discussed ways to enhance cooperation between Finland and Saudi Arabia and some issues of common concern.

Wednesday, 23 January—The Head of the EU Delegation to Saudi Arabia, Michele Cervone D'Urso, met with the GCC Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs and Negotiations, Dr Abduaziz Hamad Al-Owaishek. They discussed regional and international issues of common concern and the progress of the EU-GCC cooperation. The EU Ambassador also met with the Saudi State Minister of Foreign Affairs, Adel Al-Jubeir, Monday to review cooperation.

Thursday, 24 January—Saudi Minister of State for African Affairs, Ahmed bin Abdulaziz Qattan, received Sudanese Minister of Transport and Urban Development, Hatim Al-Sir Ali, to discuss bilateral relations and several issues of common interest.

Thursday, 24 January—Saudi Minister of Finance, Mohammed Al-Jadaan, the Kingdom’s Minister of Economy and Planning, Mohammad Al-Tuwaijri, and Chairwoman of the Saudi Stock Exchange, Sarah Al-Suhaimi, spoke at the World Economic Forum in Davos on the ‘Next Steps for Saudi Arabia.’ The panel confirmed that boosting the Kingdom’s economy and attracting foreign investments needs to go hand in hand with the social reforms of Vision 2030. James Gorman, the head of Morgan Stanley, applauded the social reforms for providing pillars for the envisaged economic reforms, while Total SA’s head, Patrick Pouyanne, suggested to move forward Jamal Khashoggi’s case.

United Arab Emirates

 

Monday, 21 January—Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (DEWA) inked a Memorandum of Understanding with Saudi Aramco to cooperate in management of power supply and demand. The partnership will also support digital transformation in the energy industry by creating a framework for identifying cooperation opportunities for engaging new technologies such as new energy and smart grid applications, digital transformation, and operational excellence.

Tuesday, 22 January—The World Economic Forum in Davos partnered with the UAE to establish the Emirates Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in the UAE. The agreement was signed by the UAE’s Minister of Cabinet Affairs and the Future, Mohammad bin Abdullah Al-Gergawi, and Professor Klaus Schwab, the Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum. The same Memorandum was signed between the WEF and Saudi Arabia.

Thursday, 24 January—Saud bin Saqr Al-Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al-Khaimah, received Italy’s Ambassador to the UAE, Liborio Stellino, to discuss opportunities for boosting Emirati-Italian cooperation and ways to bolster their trade and economic ties. Mr Stellino highlighted the positive investment situation in the Ras Al-Khaimah, several Italian companies are based in RAK and benefit from its Economic Zone, RAKEZ.

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