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28 October - 02 November 

Antonino Occhiuto


Kingdom of Bahrain

Sunday, 28 October—Bahrain hosted the 2018 IISS Manama Dialogue on regional security. The event, hailed as a success, was attended by senior government figures from the US the EU the Middle East and beyond. The speakers, among others, included: US Defense Secretary, James Mattis, King Abdullah II of Jordan, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Adel Al-Jubeir, Germany’s Minister of Defence, Ursula von der Leyen, Italy’s Minister of Defence, Elisabetta Trenta, and Japan’s Minister of Foreign Affaris, Taro Kono.

Sunday, 28 October—Bahrain’s Foreign Minister, Khalid bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa, has said that he expects a planned security alliance, titled the Middle East Security Alliance (MESA), including Egypt, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE and open to other Arab countries, to be formed next year. The purpose of this alliance is to deter Iran’s expansionism in the region. Bahrain’s Foreign Minister added that the country will host the upcoming security summit in which the alliance will be activated.

Wednesday, 31 October—Bahrain’s Government unveiled a report showing that Bahrain’s non-oil GDP expanded by 2.8%, this year, driven by the construction (up 6.7%) and manufacturing sectors (up 4.5%). Bahrain is on its way to carry out a comprehensive diversification programme.

State of Kuwait

Monday, 29 October—Kuwait Airways announced the opening of a new air route to Milan Malpensa Airport in Italy. The Kuwaiti carrier is planning future expansions in the EU market.

Thursday, 1 November—Kuwait’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, and India’s Foreign Minister, Sushma Swaraj, signed a memorandum of understanding on domestic workers, and an agreement for visa exemption for holders of diplomatic, special and official passports. Both Ministers expressed interest in developing the India-Kuwait relations further.

Sultanate of Oman

Sunday, 28 October—Oman’s Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs, Yusuf bin Alawi, represented the Sultanate at the 2018 IISS Manama Dialogue on regional security. In his speech, he reiterated Oman’s effort to mediate solutions to regional crises including with regard to the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Thursday, 1 November—Oman’s Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al-Said, received, in Muscat, Israel’s Prime Minister, Benyamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu’s visit was the first by an Israeli prime minister to the Gulf in over two decades. Oman could potentially become a new mediator in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The leader of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud  Abbas, visited Oman the week before Netanyahu’s visit.

State of Qatar 

Tuesday, 30 October—Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Bin Al Thani, issued a law enabling foreigners to own property in areas designated by Qatar’s cabinet in order to stimulate the struggling internal propriety market. In addition to opening up the property market, Qatar has allowed for 100% foreign ownership of companies, relaxed entry visa requirements and introduced permanent residency for expatriates.

Wednesday, 31 October—Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Bin Al Thani, met Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini, in Doha. The meeting focused on Italy-Qatar cooperation on the Libya dossier and on the decision, by Doha’s Sovereign Wealth Fund, to make Italy its number 1 investment destination in the EU—in the near futu