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GULF IN REVIEW 19 – 24 July 2020

BY Arnold Koka

Al-Fateh Grand Mosque in Bahrain

Kingdom of Bahrain Kingdom of Bahrain-img

Sunday, 19 July — Bahrain’s Foreign Minister, Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani, held a phone call with his Saudi counterpart, Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah Al-Saud. The two ministers reviewed bilateral relations and discussed ways to enhance the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) joint action as well as the recent regional and international developments. Bahrain’s Minister praised Saudi Arabia’s role in strengthening regional security and stability.

Wednesday, 22 July — Bahrain’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani, held a phone call with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, discussing bilateral cooperation and ways to strengthen it, particularly in the field of business, education and culture, as well as the fight against COVID-19. During the talks they also reviewed the efforts to find a peaceful resolution to the ongoing crises in Libya, Syria and Yemen, keeping close coordination of foreign policy issues, and establishing a dialogue on regional security challenges.

Thursday, 23 July — Bahrain’s Minister of Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments, Khalid bin Ali Al-Khalifa, held a meeting with British Ambassador to Bahrain, Roderick Drummond. The two ministers reviewed the Bahrain-British relations and ways to strengthen them in various fields, with a focus on the legal and judicial ones.


State of Kuwait Sultanate of Oman-img

Tuesday, 21 July — Kuwait’s Assistant Foreign Minister for European Affairs, Ambassador Waleed Al-Khubeizi, held a virtual meeting with Turkey’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Sedat Onal. They discussed bilateral relations and ways to boost security and military cooperation as well as trade exchange. They also tackled regional issues concerning Iraq, Libya, Syria and the Middle East Peace Process, reiterating their support for their diplomatic settlement.

Wednesday, 22 July — During a session of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on the situation in the Middle East, Kuwait’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN), Ambassador Mansour Al-Otaibi, called on Israel to halt the expansion of its settlements in Palestine and reaffirmed Kuwait’s commitment to the two-state solution, while stressing the importance of intensifying the activities of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic.


Sultanate of Oman Sultanate of Oman-img

Tuesday, 21 July — Oman’s Supreme Committee, tasked with tackling the COVID-19 pandemic developments in the country, announced a two-week nationwide lockdown, between 25 July-8 August 2020. The decision came following a spike in COVID-19 cases in the Sultanate, recording over 70,000 cases in total as of 24 July.


State of Qatar State of Qatar-img

Monday, 20 July — Qatar’s Minister of State for Defence Affairs, Khalid bin Mohammed Al-Attiyah, met with his Turkish counterpart, Hulusi Akar, in Ankara. The two ministers discussed their countries’ strategic partnership and cooperation in security and defence with focus on the Libya file. Turkey’s Minister praised Qatar’s support for security and stability in Libya. On Sunday, Minister Akar was visiting Doha, where he held talks with Qatar’s Amir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.

Wednesday, 22 July — Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, held a phone call with Hungary’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Peter Szijjarto. They reviewed bilateral relations and agreed on a long-term strategic cooperation between Hungary’s energy company, MVM, and Qatargas, they also agreed on cooperation between their diplomatic academies and on developing and testing a vaccine against COVID-19.


Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Kingdom of Saudi Arabia-img

Monday, 20 July — Iraq’s Minister of Finance, Ali Allawi, led a high-level delegation to Riyadh. During the visit, Iraq and Saudi Arabia inked several investment agreements in energy and sports as well as a Memorandum of Understanding in the health sector, which includes Saudi medical assistance to Iraq amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thursday, 23 July — Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, Mohammed bin Salman Al-Saud, held a phone call with United States (US) President, Donald Trump. During the conversation, the Crown Prince reassured President Trump about King Salman’s health conditions. They also discussed recent regional and international developments of mutual concern.

Thursday, 23 July — Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah, held a phone call with Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikos Dendias. The two ministers discussed bilateral relations and regional and international developments, notably in relation to Turkey and tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Thursday, 23 July — Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Adel Al-Jubeir, held a phone call with Romania’s Foreign Minister, Bogdan Aurescu, as a follow up to his visit to Romania earlier this year. They focused on ways to enhance bilateral cooperation, notably in trade and investments.

United Arab Emirates-img

United Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates-img

Monday, 20 July — The UAE successfully launched its Mars mission, Hope, marking the first Arab interplanetary mission in history. The spacecraft was launched from the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan and is expected to reach Mars’ orbit in February 2021, where it will collect and provide information regarding the planet’s atmosphere and climate dynamics.

Tuesday, 21 July — Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, held a phone call with United States’ President, Donald Trump. They discussed regional security, notably the crisis in Libya and the urgent need for deescalation, political negotiations and removal of foreign forces from the territory.

Wednesday, 22 July — Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, held a phone call with Austrian Federal Chancellor, Sebastian Kurz. The two leaders reviewed ways to strengthen bilateral relations and the latest regional and international efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. They also reviewed a number of regional and international issues, particularly regarding the Middle East.

Wednesday, 22 July — The UAE’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, held a phone call with Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Luigi Di Maio. They discussed the Italy-UAE strategic relations and ways to bolster cooperation in key sectors, such as trade, investment, technology and food security. Furthermore, they covered the latest international issues, including the latest developments in Libya, and the importance of international cooperation to curb the COVID-19’s impact.

Thursday, 23 July — Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, held a meeting with Jordan’s King, Abdullah II ibn Al-Hussein, in Abu Dhabi. They reviewed a number of regional and international issues of mutual interest, focusing on Israel’s plan to annex West Bank territories and its threat to regional security. Both leaders condemned the annexation plan and called for a political solution in order to establish security, peace and stability, highlighting the importance of pan-Arab coordination to safeguard the region.