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The Euro-Gulf Monitor 4 – 10 March 2022

BY Arnold Koka & Veronica Stigliani

5 Top Points

  1. Saudi Arabia’s hosted the ‘World Defense Show’ in Riyadh, recording €7.1 billion (EUR) in deals.
  2. Italy and Qatar agreed to expand energy partnership amid global energy market turmoil.
  3. Austria’s Chancellor, Karl Nehammer, toured Qatar and the UAE to discuss EU-Gulf cooperation to reduce European energy reliance on Russia.
  4. EU and Bahrain discussed economic and political relations in Manama.
  5. Oman announced it will allow foreign investors to own real estate in the Sultanate.

‘Round and About the Gulf

Al-Fateh Grand Mosque in Bahrain

Kingdom of Bahrain Kingdom of Bahrain-img

Wednesday, 9 March–Bahrain and Israel signed a cooperation agreement in the health sector. The deal includes collaboration in research and innovation projects, medial emergencies, medical data sharing as well as tackling medical emergencies and the COVID-19 pandemic. The partnership was signed during a visit of Israel’s Health Minister, Nitzan Horowitz, to Manama, where he met with his Bahraini counterpart, Faeqa bint Saeed Al Saleh.


State of Kuwait Sultanate of Oman-img

Wednesday, 9 March–Kuwait appointed new Ministers of Interior and Defence. The country’s Emir Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah decreed the appointment of Ahmad Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah as Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister, and of Talal Khaled Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah as Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister.


Sultanate of Oman Sultanate of Oman-img

Wednesday, 9 March–Oman’s Minister of Housing and Urban Planning, Khalfan bin Said Al-Shaaili, announced that foreign investors will be allowed to own real estate in the Sultanate. The move is part of Oman’s aim to attract foreign investment in the country and enhance its national economy.


State of Qatar State of Qatar-img

Wednesday, 9 March–Qatar’s state owned energy company, QatarEnergy, announced an expansion of the objectives of its ‘Sustainability Strategy’, as part of Doha’s efforts to tackle climate change and facilitate energy transition. The new plan aims to reduce the carbon intensity of Qatar’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities by 35% and of its upstream facilities by 25%, while developing innovative renewable energy technologies.


Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Kingdom of Saudi Arabia-img

Tuesday, 8 March—Saudi Arabia’s Council of Ministers approved the Personal Status Law, regulating engagement, marriage, divorce and children’s custody, which aims to improve women’s legal rights.

Tuesday, 8 March–Spanish infrastructure and renewable energy company, Acciona, got a €433 million (EUR) contract for the construction of three independent sewage treatment plants (Madinah-3, Buraydah-2 and Tabuk-2) powered by renewable energy in Saudi Arabia, which will provide recycled water for agriculture and manufacturing use.

Wednesday, 9 March–Riyadh hosted its first ‘World Defence Show’, a three-day event dedicated to the innovation in the global military industry, organised by the General Authority for Military Industries (GAMI). The exhibition featured almost 600 companies from 42 countries and 80 military delegations. Saudi Arabia signed defence agreements worth €7.1 billion (EUR), including a €900 million (EUR) investment pledged by the US defence firm, Lockheed Martin, which agreed to localise the manufacturing of components of the Thaad missile-defence system in the Kingdom.

United Arab Emirates-img

United Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates-img

Tuesday, 8 March–The UAE will invest over €147 billion (EUR) in energy diversification, as part of its commitment to diversify the country’s economy and tackle climate change, according to the country’s Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure.

Wednesday, 9 March—Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince, Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, received phone calls from Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, while Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, held a phone call with US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken. The talks mainly focused on the Ukrainian crisis.

The EU Corner

Tuesday, 8 March‒The Bahrain Center for Strategic, International and Energy Studies (Derasat) organised an event on EU-Bahrain economic and political relations. The speakers included the Head of the EU Delegation to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman, Patrick Simonnet, the Chief of European Affairs at Bahrain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ahmed Al-Qarainees, the Managing Director of Eni in Bahrain and Lebanon, Andrea Cozzi, and the Executive Director of the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Bahrain, Rim Jalali. The panel was chaired by Derasat Executive Director, Hamad Ebrahim Al-Abdullah, and addressed challenges and opportunities for cooperation in several fields, such as trade, research, industry, energy, environment, human rights, and education.

Tuesday, 8 March—The European Commission unveiled the ‘REPowerEU’ plan to replace two-thirds of Russian gas imports (100 bcm) by the end of 2022 and make Europe independent from Russian gas by 2030. It seeks to increase Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and pipeline gas imports from non-Russian suppliers, boost biomethane and renewable hydrogen production and imports, and gradually replace natural gas with renewables as well as help people and businesses affected by the energy crisis.

Key Official Visits

Saturday, 5 March–Italy’s Foreign Minister, Luigi Di Maio, travelled to Doha for a meeting with Qatar’s Emir, Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, and Minister of State for Energy, Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi. They agreed on expanding energy cooperation, in light of Italy’s need to diversify its energy sources amid the current turmoil in the global energy market, and discussed developments in Ukraine, the Libyan file and Italian-Qatari commercial relations.

Monday, 7 March–Austria’s Chancellor, Karl Nehammer, visited the UAE and Qatar. In the Emirates, Chancellor Nehammer was received by Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan. In Doha, he was received by Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani. The discussions focused on EU-Gulf cooperation in reducing European energy dependency on Russian gas, developments in Ukraine and the need to ensure humanitarian support to civilians. Austria and the UAE signed a hydrogen energy cooperation agreement.

Monday, 7 March–Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Defence Minister, Khalid bin Salman Al-Saud, met with Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani in Doha. They discussed Saudi-Qatari cooperation in regional security and in the military industry sector.

Tuesday, 8 March–Qatar’s Minister of State for Energy and CEO of QatarEnergy, Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, met with US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, and with the UK’s Minister for Energy, Greg Hands, in Houston, Texas. They discussed ways to expand energy cooperation amid the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on the global energy market, as well as joint action to tackle climate change.

Tuesday, 8 March–Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah-Al Sisi, visited Riyadh, where he was received by Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Abdulaziz Al-Saud and Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman Al-Saud. They discussed Middle Eastern security, Saudi-Egyptian strategic relations and the global impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The leaders also examined the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) issue, developments in Yemen, Lebanon, Sudan and Libya.

Tuesday, 8 March–Iraq’s Defence Minister, Juma Inad Al-Jubouri, met with Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Defence Minister, Khalid bin Salman Al-Saud, in Riyadh. They reviewed Iraqi-Saudi relations and defence cooperation.

Wednesday, 9 March–Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Mohamed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, met with his German counterpart, Annalena Baerbock, in Berlin. They discussed developments in Ukraine, Afghanistan, Libya and the Iranian nuclear file. During the trip, Qatar’s Minister met also with the Advisers to German Chancellor on Economic Affairs and on Foreign and Security Policy, Jorg Kukies and Ambassador Jens Plotner.

Thursday, 10 March—Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, travelled to Paris for a meeting with the French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian. They discussed bilateral cooperation and the latest developments regarding Libya and Ukraine, the Iran nuclear talks and the Chadian peace talks to be hosted by Doha in the coming days.