GULF IN REVIEW
23 - 28 June 2019
Kingdom of Bahrain
Tuesday, 25 June—Manama hosted the two-day ‘Peace to Prosperity Workshop: Unlocking Economic Development and Investment in the West Bank, Gaza and the Region’—the economic component of the US-proposed plan for solving the Israeli-Palestine Conflict. The economic plan calls for $50 billion in investments over the next 10 years in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and neighbouring Arab states. The participants included government officials from Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the US, the UAE as well as senior officials from the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and a team from the European Union.
Thursday, 27 June—Bahrain’s Embassy in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, was stormed by some 200 protesters from Iran-backed militias who replaced Bahrain's flag with Palestine's and damaged the interior of the building. The violence was, ostensibly, for Manama’s hosting of the ‘Peace to Prosperity’ economic workshop on the future of Palestine. Bahrain’s Foreign Ministry recalled its Ambassador to Iraq, Salah Ali Al-Maliki, for consultations, while holding the Government of Iraq fully responsible for the protection of the Kingdom's diplomatic missions and personnel in Iraq as stated in the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
State of Kuwait
Sunday, 23 June—The European Union’s (EU) Ambassador to Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Michele Cervone D’Urso, and Kuwait’s Acting Deputy Foreign Minister, Jamal Al-Ghanim, signed an Establishment Agreement between the EU and Kuwait to open an EU mission in Kuwait.
Thursday, 27 June—Kuwait’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Khaled Al-Jarallah, held talks with Ireland’s Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development, Ciaran Cannon, in Dublin. Among other things, they discussed the establishment of their respective embassies in each other’s capitals and expanding mutual interests.
Sultanate of Oman
Wednesday, 26 June—Oman’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that it will open an embassy in Ramallah, Palestine, as a sign of solidarity with the Palestinians. Oman would be the first of the Arab Gulf countries to have a diplomatic mission in the Palestinian territories.
Wednesday, 26 June—Oman’s Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs, Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdallah, received Jordan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, Ayman Al-Safadi, in Muscat. During the meeting, they discussed ways to further strengthen bilateral relations, highlighted the need to establish a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders and the importance of joint efforts to reduce tensions in the Gulf through dialogue.
State of Qatar
Sunday, 23 June—Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, the Emir of Qatar, held bilateral talks with Pakistan's Prime Minister, Imran Khan, in Islamabad. The two officials witnessed the signing of three Memoranda of Understanding on cooperation in trade and investments, establishing the Pakistan-Qatar joint working group; in tourism; and in financial intelligence sharing to prevent money laundering and terror financing. Following the visit, Qatar announced $3 billion in deposits and direct investments for Pakistan.
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Sunday, 23 June—Saudi Arabia’s Abha International Airport was hit by a drone launched by the Iran-backed Yemeni Houthis, which left 1 dead and 7 injured. Another drone was intercepted by Saudi air defence forces on Wednesday night. On Thursday, Saudi Arabia deployed security patrols on the Southern Al-Aridah Province bordering Yemen.
Wednesday, 26 June—Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, and South Korea’s President, Moon Jae-in, held talks on strengthening bilateral ties in Seoul. Following the talks, the two countries signed agreements with South Korean companies worth $8.3 billion, which includes a $6 billion deal between Saudi Aramco and its South Korean venture, S-Oil Corporation, to expand an oil refinery and petrochemical facilities in the country; or establishment of ship building business by the Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering Company in the Kingdom, among others. The two countries plan to expand their cooperation in various fields, particularly hydrogen energy, defence, ICT, automobile industry, smart infrastructure, or medical services. They also agreed on establishing the ‘Vision Realization Offices’ in Seoul and Riyadh as part of their Vision 2030 partnership.
United Arab Emirates
Monday, 24 June—Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, received the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, who arrived from his Saudi Arabia visit, to discuss the rising tensions with Iran, strategic alignment between the US and the Gulf countries on the Iranian challenge and the formation of the global alliance to confront Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism.
Wednesday, 26 June—The UAE’s Minister of Economy, Sultan bin Saeed Al-Mansouri, and Patrizio Fondi, EU Ambassador to the UAE, held talks on the UAE-EU development cooperation. Among the key topics discussed were also free trade negotiations between the EU and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and the possibility of launching a Joint Emirati-European Commercial Business Council in the UAE during the Expo 2020 Dubai.
Thursday, 27 June—The UAE’s Minister of State for Defence Affairs, Mohammed bin Ahmed Al-Bowardi, led the Emirates’ delegation to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) meeting in Brussels, where NATO Defence Ministers discussed defence spending, the Afghanistan mission and efforts to avoid further escalation with Iran. On the sidelines, Defence Ministers of the parties to the Global Coalition to Defeat Daesh held talks on how to eradicate Daesh both militarily and ideologically. Minister Al-Bowardi also held separate talks with Deputy Secretary General of NATO, Rose Gottemoeller, Defence Minister of Afghanistan, Asadullah Khalid, and France’s Minister of Armed Forces, Florence Parly, on enhancing defence cooperation.