GULF IN REVIEW
24 - 29 November 2019
Kingdom of Bahrain
Sunday, 24 November—Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa inaugurated the Aluminium Bahrain’s (Alba) Line 6 Expansion project, which made one of the world’s largest aluminium smelters. The expansion should increase the company’s aluminium production by 540,000 tonnes a year to more than 1.5 million tonnes without increasing its energy consumption due to a special sustainable technology. The company’s contribution to the Kingdom’s GDP will increase to 15%.
Sunday, 24 November—Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa received Fayez Al-Sarraj, the Chairman of Libya’s Presidential Council and Prime Minister of the Government of National Accord (GNA). During the meeting they discussed bilateral relations and the latest developments in Libya.
Tuesday, 26 November—Bahrain’s Minister of Oil and Gas, Mohammed bin Khalifa Al-Khalifa, inaugurated a new solar power plant at Tatweer Petroleum, which could produce 3 megawatts (MW) of electricity, as part of national environment-friendly efforts to reduce the use of natural gas for electricity generation.
State of Kuwait
Thursday, 28 November—Kuwait’s National Assembly Speaker, Marzouq Al-Ghanem, conveyed a message from Emir of Kuwait, Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, to Qatar’s Emir, Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, concerning bilateral ties and the latest regional developments amid reported signs of possible breakthrough in the Gulf crisis.
Thursday, 28 November—Kuwait’s sovereign wealth fund, the Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA), and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund, consider investing in the initial public offering (IPO) of the world’s largest oil producer, Saudi Aramco.
Sultanate of Oman
Monday, 25 November—Oman’s Public Authority for Investment Promotion and Export Development (Ithraa) unveiled the ‘Invest in Oman’ platform, the country’s first online investment portal that showcases local projects of local entrepreneurs and companies to attract foreign investments to the country.
Monday, 25 November—Oman’s government mandated local banks, Bank Muscat, Bank Nizwa and Alizz Islamic Bank, to create the Omani Rial Sovereign Sukuk Programme, an Islamic bond issuance programme, and launch the first debt sale under the plan. Investors can subscribe for 5-year and 7-year denominated Islamic bonds between 25 November and 8 December.
State of Qatar
Monday, 25 November—Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, attended the 5th meeting of the Qatar-Turkey Higher Strategic Committee, co-chaired with Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, in Doha. The two sides signed several agreements, notably on raising the limit of an existing currency-swap deal to an equivalent of 5 billion USD, and discussed enhancing cooperation, for instance, in relation to the 2022 FIFA World Cup and Ankara’s plan to settle over 1 million of Syrian refugees in northeast Syria. President Erdogan also visited the new Khalid bin Walid military base in Qatar, which hosts 5,000 Turkish troops.
Monday, 25 November—Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defence Affairs, Dr Khalid bin Mohamed Al-Attiyah, and France’s Minister of the Armies, Florence Parly, discussed bilateral relations and ways to develop them, in addition to the latest regional developments. During the meeting in Doha, they signed an agreement concerning the legal status of French military forces in Qatar, which will allow the stationing of French troops in the Gulf state.
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Sunday, 24 November—Saudi Arabia’s Military Chief of Staff, General Fayyad bin Hamed Al-Ruwaili, inaugurated the first Saudi International Maritime Forum, which was held in Riyadh under the auspices of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence. The event featured talks between military and civilian officials about challenges related to global maritime security and ways to address them, alongside an exhibition of the latest maritime technology and equipment.
Sunday, 24 November—Niels Annen, Minister of State at the German Federal Foreign Office, arrived to Riyadh to participate in the Regional Conference of Germany’s Ambassadors in the Gulf. He also met with Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir, to discuss bilateral ties, and held talks with President of the Saudi Human Rights Commission, Dr Awwad bin Saleh Al-Awwad, on human rights situation in the Kingdom.
Monday, 25 November—Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Labor and Social Development signed a Memorandum of Understanding with several government entities, namely the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources, the Human Resources Development Fund, the Council of the Saudi Chambers and the Technical and Vocational Training Corporation, to nationalise over 35,000 jobs in the industrial sector by 2021 as part of Saudisation efforts.
Wednesday, 27 November—Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark A. Milley, was received by Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense. During the meeting, they focused on bilateral defence cooperation, particularly in relation to the deployment of additional US forces and equipment to the Kingdom, and the latest regional developments.
United Arab Emirates
Sunday, 24 November—The French naval base in Abu Dhabi will serve as a command centre of the European-led mission to protect maritime safety in the Gulf, independent of the US-led mission. The announcement came after the French Minister of the Armies, Florence Parly, visited the UAE and held talks with Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and Minister of State for Defence Affairs, Mohammed bin Ahmed Al-Bowardi. The UAE and French Defence Ministries also signed an agreement to exchange liaison officers to assist in operational communications and military cooperation.
Thursday, 28 November—A new research and innovation centre for the UAE’s peaceful nuclear energy programme, the Emirates Nuclear Technology Centre, was launched by the UAE Ministry of Energy and Industry in cooperation with South Korea’s Ministry of Science and Information and Communications Technology at the Khalifa University Campus in Abu Dhabi. The two Ministries signed a Memorandum of Understanding, which will enable the Centre to benefit from South Korea’s nuclear energy and industry expertise.
Thursday 28 November—At the 2nd Saudi-Emirati Coordination Council meeting, co-chaired by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, and Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince, Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, in Abu Dhabi, the two sides discussed increasing overseas investments, introducing a joint tourist visa system for residents, enhancing cybersecurity, developing the 70 billion USD oil refinery project with a capacity of 1.2 million barrels per day in Maharashtra, among others, and signed several Memoranda of Understanding, including in culture, food security, health, and space.