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The Euro-Gulf Monitor 13 – 19 October 2023

BY Elen'Alba Vitiello

5 Top Points

  1. GCC Ministerial Council held an extraordinary session on Gaza.
  2. The European Union launched an EU Humanitarian Air Bridge operation for Gaza.
  3. Saudi Foreign Minister discussed Gaza with Iranian and Lebanese counterparts in Jeddah.
  4. Qatar and Britain’s Shell signed a 27-year gas supply deal.
  5. Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa visited the United Kingdom and Italy.

‘Round and About the Gulf

Al-Fateh Grand Mosque in Bahrain

Kingdom of Bahrain ​ Kingdom of Bahrain-img

Sunday, 15 October–Bahrain’s Deputy Prime Minister, Khalid bin Abdulla Al-Khalifa, inaugurated the first Gulf Aquaculture Company, in line with the country’s 2023-2026 programme. The new company will encourage Bahraini investors to set similar projects to contribute to boosting the national economy by producing high local quality food and therefore will raise levels of food security and diversify supply chains.

kuwait-img

State of Kuwait Sultanate of Oman-img

Tuesday, 17 October–Kuwait became the first country in the Middle East to appoint 90 female judges, in line with the countries’ stride in promoting gender equality within the judiciary system.

oman-img

Sultanate of Oman Sultanate of Oman-img

Tuesday, 17 October–Muscat LBP and Oman’s Public Authority for Special Economic Zones and Free Zones (OPAZ) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the potential allocation of land to develop green hydrogen derivatives within the Special Economic Zone at Duqm (SEZAD).

qatar-img

State of Qatar State of Qatar-img

Wednesday, 18 October–QatarEnergy and British Shell signed a 27-year agreement, providing Britain with 3.5 million tonnes of gas a year, following the agreements with Shell for a share of the countries’ North Field gas expansion project.

Saudi-arabia-img

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Kingdom of Saudi Arabia-img

Wednesday, 18 October–Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power signed seven cooperation agreements with Chinese firms for solar, green, hydrogen and water desalination projects, during the 3rd Belt and Road Forum held in Beijing. The Agreements were signed with the State Power Investment Corporation, one of the largest state-owned power generators in China, the Bank of China, Power China Group, Energy China Group and Jinko Solar.

United Arab Emirates-img

United Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates-img

Monday, 16 October–Abu Dhabi hosted the GITEX Global 2023, the largest technology event, starting from 16 October at the Dubai World Trade Centre. Abu Dhabi Government entities advanced sustainable innovation across key sectors as they showcased numerous projects and initiatives, such as the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department (ADJD), demonstrating how technologies can be used to improve government performance and be more competitive globally.

The EU Corner

Friday, 15 October–The European Council adopted a statement that sets the EU’s common position on the unfolding situation in the Middle East: the European Union condemns in the strongest terms Hamas and its terrorist attacks across Israel and remains committed to a lasting and sustainable peace, based on the two-state solutions through the Middle East Peace Process.

Monday, 16 October–Following Hamas’ incursion into Israel on 7 October, the European Union launched an EU Humanitarian Air Bridge operation consisting of several flights to Egypt, to bring lifesaving supplies to humanitarian organisations on the ground in Gaza. European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, also announced that the EU tripled its humanitarian assistance to over €75 million to support civilians in need in Gaza.

Tuesday, 17 October–The Council of Arab Ambassadors to the EU held a meeting in Brussels to discuss the outcomes of the co-chairs statement of the 27th joint Ministerial EU-GCC Council, which took place from 9 to 10 October in Muscat. In addition to further developing multilateral relations, they discussed the escalating situation in Gaza.

Tuesday, 17 October–The European Council decided to take the necessary steps to maintain the restrictive measures under the EU non-proliferation regime on Iran, in line with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) and the UN Security Council Resolution 2231, in view of Iran’s violations of its commitments under the JCPoA. The Council adopted legal acts to maintain the designations for individuals and entities involved in nuclear or ballistic missiles activities or affiliated to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

Wednesday, 18 October–UAE’s Minister of State, Noura Al-Kaabi, met with European Union Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, Lucie Berger, in Abu Dhabi. During the meeting they discussed UAE-EU relations and ways to enhance them across all fields.

Key official visits

Friday, 13 October–Bahrain’s Deputy King, Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, held a phone call with Palestine’s President, Mahmoud Abbas. They discussed the importance of providing humanitarian relief, food, water, electricity and medical aid into the Gaza Strip, and upholding the protection of civilians under international humanitarian laws.

Sunday, 15 October–Qatar’s Emir, Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, met with Iran’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, and his accompanying delegation, in Doha. They discussed bilateral relations and ways to support and enhance them. They also exchanged views on regional and international issues, especially the latest developments in Gaza.

Monday, 16 October–Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, travelled to Kuwait. He met separately with Kuwait’s Crown Prince, Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Sabeh, and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Salem Abdullah Al-Sabah. They discussed bilateral relations, aspects of cooperation, and the latest regional developments.

Monday, 9 October–Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, met with Iraqi Prime Minister, Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani, in Baghdad. They discussed their bilateral relations and ways to bolster them, as well as regional and international developments of mutual interest.

Monday, 16 October–Qatar’s Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, met with Russia’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Special Representative of the Russian President for the Middle East and African countries, Mikhail Bogdanov. During the meeting, they discussed bilateral relations and several regional and international issues, especially the development of the Russian-Ukrainian and Israeli-Palestine situations.

Tuesday, 17 October–Bahrain’s King, Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, travelled to the United Kingdom and to Italy. During his visit to London he met with King Charles III to discuss Bahrain-UK partnership. He also discussed regional and international developments, particularly the Middle East and the Gaza situation with British government officials. In Italy, he met with Pope Francis to review the bilateral relations between Bahrain and the Vatican. He also held talks with Italy’s President, Sergio Mattarella, and Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni. They discussed the latest situation in Gaza and stressed the importance of increasing efforts to prevent it from worsening, as well as open safe corridors for humanitarian aid delivery to the Gaza Strip.

Tuesday, 17 October–United States’ Secretary, Antony Blinken, travelled to Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates from 11 to 17 October, where he met with senior officials. Blinken reiterated US’ condemnation of the Hamas’ attack on Israel and reaffirmed its solidarity with Israel. Blinken met with Bahrain’s Deputy King, Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, Egypt’s President, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, Jordan’s King Abdullah II and the Head of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, Qatar’s Emir, Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman Al-Saud, and UAE’s President, Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.

Tuesday, 17 October–The GCC Ministerial Council held its 43rd extraordinary meeting in Muscat, chaired by Oman’s Foreign Minister, Badr bin Hamad Albusaidi, to discuss the developments in Gaza in light of the escalation of violence, with the participation of all GCC countries’ Foreign Ministers and GCC Secretary General, Jasem Albudaiwi. The Ministerial Council demanded an immediate ceasefire, called on all parties to protect civilians, expressed the need for a humanitarian aid operation, reaffirmed its support for the initiative of Saudi Arabia, the European Union and the League of Arab States to revive the Middle East Peace Process in cooperation with Egypt and Jordan, and urged the international community to take necessary measures, in line with the international law.

Wednesday, 18 October–The Executive Committee of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) held an extraordinary ministerial meeting in Jeddah, chaired by Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, to address the escalating military situation in Gaza and the deteriorating conditions of civilians and the overall security and stability of the region. All GCC countries participated in the meeting. On the sidelines, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister met separately with his Iranian and Lebanese counterparts, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and Abdullah Bou Habib, to discuss the military escalation and developments in Gaza and its surroundings, including international efforts to defuse tensions and protect civilians.

Wednesday, 18 October–The Italian Minister of Defence, Guido Crosetto, travelled to Qatar and Saudi Arabia to discuss opportunities for strengthening and developing bilateral defence and military relations. In Doha, he met with Qatar’s Emir, Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, and in Riyadh, he met with the Saudi Minister of Defence, Khalid bin Salman Al-Saud.

Wednesday, 18 October–Qatar’s Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, met with French Presidential Envoy for Lebanon, Jean-Yves Le Drian, in Doha, to discuss bilateral cooperation and the development of the Gaza situation and ways to de-escalate, as well as the latest updates in Lebanon.

Thursday, 19 October–Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Defence, Khalid bin Salman Al-Saud, met with the Chairman of the Yemeni Presidential Leadership Council, Rashad Al-Alimi, in Riyadh. They discussed developments in Yemen and efforts to support the Yemeni peace process, as well as regional and international issues of mutual concern. The Saudi Defence Minister reaffirmed Saudi Arabia’s support for the Yemeni Presidential Leadership Council.