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GULF IN REVIEW 12 – 15 November

BY Nikola Zukalová

Al-Fateh Grand Mosque in Bahrain

Kingdom of Bahrain Kingdom of Bahrain-img

Wednesday, 14 November — Chairwoman of Bahrain’s National Institution for Human Rights (NIHR), Maria Khoury, received the Head of Political Section of the European Union Delegation to Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Alexis Konstantopoulos, in the presence of NIHR’s Vice-Chairman, Abdulla Ahmed Isa Al-Derazi, and NIHR’s Secretary-General, Khalifa Bin Ali Al-Fadhel. They discussed Bahrain’s upcoming parliamentary and municipal elections, to be held on 24 November, and NIHR’s observation role to guarantee their fairness and integrity. Mr Konstantopoulos supports Bahrain’s democratic reforms as manifest through regular elections.

Wednesday, 14 November — Between 14-16 November, the Kingdom hosted the 5th Bahrain International Airshow (BIAS) at Sakhir Air Base, under the auspices of King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa. The BIAS 2018 promotes Bahrain’s status as a vital aviation industry hub and attracts investment to the Kingdom. The show brought major local and international aviation players, such as Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft, Etihad and the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency, together with senior civil and military officials from around the world.


State of Kuwait Sultanate of Oman-img

Sunday, 11 November — Kuwait’s Emir, Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, received Iraq’s President, Barham Saleh, and his accompanying delegation. During the meeting they discussed bilateral relations between Kuwait and Iraq and ways how to boost cooperation. The visit included delivering part of Kuwait’s property stored by Iraq’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Saleh reiterated his country’s keenness to work with Kuwait to overcome the past, stained by Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

Monday, 12 November — The Kuwait Army and the French Armed Forces launched military drills with live ammunition under the name ‘Pearl of the West 2018.’ The joint drills aimed at improving combat readiness of the Kuwaiti forces are scheduled to last until 30 November.


Sultanate of Oman Sultanate of Oman-img

Monday, 12 November — The Chairman of Oman’s Public Authority for Civil Defence and Ambulance (PACDA), Major General Abdullah bin Ali Al Harthy, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the United Nations Office for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief, represented by UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock, to coordinate Omani-UN responses to emergency situations and improve PACDA’s response capabilities.


State of Qatar State of Qatar-img

Monday, 12 November — Qatar’s Delegation attended a crisis summit on the stabilisation of Libya organised by Italy in Palermo, Sicily between 12-13 November. The event brought together international and regional players, including the two main Libyan fractions: the UN-backed Prime Minister of the Government of National Accord in Tripoli, Fayez Serraj, and General Khalifa Haftar, leader of the Libyan National Army based in the East of Libya. Haftar arrived in Palermo, held bilateral meetings with Italian and European leaders but did not participate in the actual conference—he was protesting Turkey’s and Qatar’s presence at the summit, they support his rivals, mainly Islamist groups, in Libya. Turkey walked out of the conference in dissatisfaction with its proceedings.

Wednesday, 14 November — Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, Dr Khalid bin Mohammad Al-Attiyah, met with US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, in the Pentagon to discuss security and stability in the region and focused on: the formation of the Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA), the expansion of the Qatari Al-Udeid Air Base, and the upcoming US-Qatar Strategic Dialogue. This follows, a day earlier, Al-Attiyah’s meeting with US Secretary of Defence, James Mattis.


Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Kingdom of Saudi Arabia-img

Sunday, 11 November — The British Prime Minister’s Special Envoy, Simon McDonald, held talks with King Salman bin Abdulaziz, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Foreign Minister, Adel Al-Jubeir to review Saudi-UK relations and cooperation, while preparing ground for the visit of UK’s Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, to Riyadh.

Monday, 12 November — The United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, travelled to Riyadh to meet with King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir before flying to the UAE and returning to Riyadh to meet Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman. Hunt sought a de-escalation of coalition operations in Yemen and further information in the case of Jamal Khashoggi.

Wednesday, 14 November — French President, Emanuel Macron, announced that he agreed with the President of the United States, Donald Trump, to put pressure on Saudi Arabia and other oil producers to limit the rise of oil prices.

Thursday, 15 November — The Saudi-led coalition responded to international requests for a cease fire and ordered a pause in the fighting in Yemen’s port of Hodeidah against the Iran-backed Houthi rebels, in order to allow the Houthi representatives to attend future United Nations peace talks aimed at ending Yemen’s war.

United Arab Emirates-img

United Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates-img

Monday, 12 November — Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, met with Iraq’s President, Barham Saleh. During the meeting they explored ways for strengthening Iraq-UAE relations, particularly in trade. Mohammed bin Zayed expressed UAE’s keenness to boost cooperation and relations with Iraq and emphasised the importance of Iraq’s stability for the stability of the Middle East. They also called for cooperation between the Arab countries and the international community to combat terrorism and extremism.

Monday, 12 November — The United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, travelled from Riyadh to the UAE for talks with Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Zayed, and other senior officials. During the meetings Hunt pressed for a cease fire in Yemen and raised the case of British PhD student Matthew Hedges, imprisoned in the UAE on charges of spying for a foreign state.

Monday, 12 November — The United States’ National Security Advisor, John Bolton, travelled to the UAE to meet with Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan where they discussed US-UAE cooperation and regional developments particularly in relation to Yemen and joint international cooperation in combatting terrorism.

Tuesday, 13 November — As the UAE’s state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) strives to achieve gas self-sufficiency for the Emirates and become a net gas exporter, it announced two deals with major European oil and gas giants within three days—with French Total SA for a 40% stake in ADNOC’s Ruwais Diyab Unconventional Gas Concession, and the Ghasha Concession Agreement with Italy’s ENI for a 25% stake in ADNOC’s offshore ultra-sour gas fields.