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GULF IN REVIEW 08 – 13 September 2019

BY Nikola Zukalová

Al-Fateh Grand Mosque in Bahrain

Kingdom of Bahrain Kingdom of Bahrain-img

Tuesday, 10 September—Bahrain’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al-Khalifa, participated in the 152nd Ordinary Session of the Council of the League of Arab States. The Council discussed a complaint lodged by Bahrain against Qatar’s Al-Jazeera Channel for violations against Arab states, highlighting its hosting terrorist groups and circulation of fabricated news to incite sectarianism and undermine stability. The Council also condemned Iran’s interference in Bahrain’s internal affairs, provoking sectarianism and supporting terrorism via the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the Asa’ib Ahl Al-Haq and Hezbollah, smuggling weapons and explosives to the Kingdom, and voiced support for Bahrain’s fight against terrorism.

Wednesday, 11 September—Bahrain welcomed the emergency meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) called by Saudi Arabia in reaction to the pledge of Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to annex the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea in the West Bank settlement in case he is reelected on 17 September. The member states’ Foreign Ministers will meet at the OIC’s headquarters in Jeddah on 15 September 2019. The Gulf Cooperation Council and OIC condemned Netanyahu’s plan.

Thursday, 12 September—The Crown Prince’s Court announced that Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister, will travel for an official visit to the United States, where he will meet with a number of US officials, including President Donald Trump.

State of Kuwait

State of Kuwait Sultanate of Oman-img

Friday, 13 September—The 90-year-old Emir of Kuwait, Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, was released from a hospital in the United States, where he was admitted earlier this week for medical tests amid his deteriorating health. Emir’s meeting with the US President, Donald Trump, scheduled for this week had to be postponed.


Sultanate of Oman Sultanate of Oman-img

Sunday, 8 September—The Royal Air Force of Oman launched joint air forces’ exercises with the United Kingdom and the United States at the Thumrait Air Base in southern Oman. The joint aerial training is scheduled to last until 19 September.

Monday, 9 September—Oman’s Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs, Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdallah, met Pascale Baeriswyl, Switzerland’s State Secretary of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, in Geneva to discussed regional and international issues.

Wednesday, 11 September—Oman’s Minister Responsible for Defence Affairs, Sayyid Badr bin Saud bin Harib Al-Busaidi, participated in the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI), a leading event of defence and security sector. On the sidelines, he met with Ben Wallace, the United Kingdom’s Secretary of State for Defence. During the event, Al-Busaidi and Ismail Demir, President of the Turkey’s Defence Industries, agreed to enhance cooperation in defence, particularly in land and marine systems.


State of Qatar State of Qatar-img

Thursday, 12 September—Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, received the Foreign Minister of the Netherlands, Stef Blok, in Doha to discuss bilateral economic relations in addition to regional developments, human rights, foreign funding and the need for transparency.


Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Kingdom of Saudi Arabia-img

Sunday, 8 September—Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud appointed Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman bin Abdulaziz as the Kingdom’s new Energy Minister, replacing Khalid Al-Falih, who was at the post since 2016. The move came as part of the ongoing restructuring of the Ministry of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources, which will be separated into two—Ministry of Energy and Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources—from 1 January 2020. Earlier this month, Al-Falih was also replaced as Chair of the world’s largest oil producer, Saudi Aramco, by Yasir Othman Al-Rumayyan, Ģovernor of the Public Investment Fund (PIF), the Kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund.

Wednesday, 11 September—Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir, and France’s Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, met in Paris to discuss bilateral relations and latest regional developments. Al-Jubeir also visited the French National Assembly and met with several French Deputies to discuss regional developments and ways to enhance bilateral ties.

Wednesday, 11 September—Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ibrahim bin Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Al-Assaf, visited Cyprus, where he met with the country’s President, Nicos Anastasiades, Foreign Minister, Nikos Christodoulides, and other Cypriot officials. It was the first such high-level Saudi visit to the island state. They explored ways to develop bilateral relations, particularly in investments and tourism, and how to tackle common challenges, such as the rise of extremism and terrorism. Christodoulides said that cooperation between Saudi Arabia and the European Union is key for dealing with regional challenges.

Thursday, 12 September—Vladimir Voronkov, the Head of the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism and Executive Director of the UN Counter-Terrorism Center (UNCCT), visited Saudi Arabia to strengthen the partnership and leverage Saudi experiences in countering terrorism. Voronkov discussed possible cooperation with the Director of Counter-Terrorism Permanent Committee of the Presidency of State Security, and visited the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology (Etidal) and the Ideological War Center, among others. Voronkov praised the Kingdom’s contribution to the UN counterterrorism efforts during his meeting with Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Ibrahim bin Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Al-Assaf.

United Arab Emirates-img

United Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates-img

Sunday, 8 September—The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia welcomed the response by the Yemeni Government and the Southern Transitional Council, on the call for a dialogue in Jeddah, to end the recent clashes in southern Yemen’s Aden, Abyan and Shabwa governorates.

Monday, 9 September—On the sidelines of the 24th World Energy Congress, held in Abu Dhabi between 9 and 12 September, Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, held talks with Patrick Pouyanné, Chairman and CEO of Total, about opportunities for cooperation between Total and Adnoc Group, bilateral relations between France and the UAE as well as the latest regional developments.

Thursday, 12 September—The Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar), a subsidiary of the Mubadala Investment Company, signed an agreement to form a joint venture energy services company,ESCO, with the EDF, French utility company, to focus on energy efficiency investments and non-utility scale renewables, such as solar technology below 50 MW, in the Arabian Gulf and other emerging markets.