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GULF IN REVIEW 25 – 30 August 2019

BY Nikola Zukalová

Al-Fateh Grand Mosque in Bahrain

Kingdom of Bahrain Kingdom of Bahrain-img

Sunday, 25 August—Narendra Modi became the first Prime Minister of India to visit Bahrain. During the visit, he met with several senior officials, notably King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, who awarded Modi the The King Hamad Order of the Renaissance. The two countries signed three Memoranda of Understanding in space, solar energy and culture, while highlighting the importance of enhancing ties in other fields, such as defence and trade. On the occasion, Modi also addressed the local Indian community and inaugurated a 1.6 million BHD (3.86 million EUR) renovation project of the 200-year-old Shri Krishna Hindu temple in Manama.

Thursday, 29 August—Bahrain’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al-Khalifa, met the UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash, and Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State for African Affairs, Ahmed bin Abdulaziz Al-Qattan, to consult and coordinate on some of the most pressing regional and international issues and ways to ensure security, stability and progress in their countries.

State of Kuwait

State of Kuwait Sultanate of Oman-img

Monday, 26 August—Poland’s Foreign Minister, Jacek Czaputowicz, held talks with Kuwait’s Crown Prince, Nawaf Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, in the presence of the Speaker of Kuwait’s National Assembly, Marzouq Al-Ghanim, and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Hamad Al-Sabah. The officials discussed boosting cooperation in various fields, notably trade, investments, military and tourism. The focus was also on some key issues, notably security in the Middle East, particularly Syria and Yemen, and on further efforts within the Warsaw Process framework.

Friday, 30 August—The Speaker of Kuwait’s National Assembly, Marzouq Al-Ghanim, travelled to Doha to meet with the Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, and delivered to him a letter from Kuwait’s Emir, Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. During the meeting they also reviewed bilateral ties and how to strengthen them.


Sultanate of Oman Sultanate of Oman-img

Monday, 26 August—Oman’s Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs, Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, received Russian Presidential Envoy for the Middle East and North Africa and Deputy Foreign Minister, Mikhail Bogdanov. They exchanged views on issues of common concern and highlighted the importance of enhancing cooperation and understanding for ensuring security and stability in the world. Later, the Russian envoy and Oman’s officials held bilateral political consultations to discuss cooperation and ways to enhance it, notably in economic and cultural fields. During his visit to Oman, Bogdanov met separately with leaders of the National Salvation Council, the Houthi-self proclaimed ‘government’ based in Yemen’s Sana’a, and with a delegation of the Houthis, led by the group’s Spokesman, Mohammed Abdul Salam.

Thursday, 29 August—The US Treasury Department partnered with the Omani government to sanction four individuals in Oman for allegedly facilitating transfers of tens of millions of dollars from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force (IRGC-QF) to Hamas in the Gaza Strip.


State of Qatar State of Qatar-img

Sunday, 25 August—Qatar and Iran launched a new direct shipping route, connecting Iran’s port city of Bushehr to Qatar’s capital Doha. The line will carry both passengers and cargo once a week and it will take anywhere between 12 to 20 hours according to Bushehr’s Ports and Maritime Department.

Wednesday, 28 August—The US Department of Defense announced that the Boeing was awarded a $500 million contract for services on Qatar Emiri Air Force’s F-15QAs, namely aircrew and maintenance training, with the first delivery expected in 2021 and the last in 2026.

Tuesday, 27 August—Germany’s Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, Thomas Bareiß, met with the Chairman of the Qatar Chamber of Commerce & Industry (QCCI), Khalifa bin Jassim Al-Thani, in Berlin. They focused on enhancing cooperation between the two countries as well as their private businesses, and exploring investment opportunities. Bareiß accepted an invitation to visit Qatar in the near future.


Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Kingdom of Saudi Arabia-img

Monday, 26 August—Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation issued a joint statement expressing concern over the developments in Yemen’s interim capital Aden, and Abyan and Shabwa governorates and reaffirming their commitment to preserve Yemen’s integrity and security, while fighting the Houthis’ and other terrorist organisations. They urged the southern secessionists and the Yemeni government to attend the proposed dialogue in Jeddah.

Wednesday, 28 August—Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Defence Minister, Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, met in Washington with the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo. They focused mainly on the situation in southern Yemen, notably in and around Aden, where the separatist Southern Transitional Council (STC) has fought the Yemeni government forces. The US reaffirmed that they support Yemen’s territorial integrity, opposing the STC’s secessionist goals. Among other topics the two officials discussed was the need for stronger maritime security cooperation to promote freedom of navigation in the Gulf, countering the Iranian regime’s regional destabilising activities, and human rights.

Thursday, 29 August—The UN Security Council issued a statement, condemning the Houthis’ escalated attacks on civilian infrastructure in Saudi Arabia and calling on the group to immediately stop such attacks. The UNSC also expressed deep concern about the escalation in southern Yemen and called on all involved parties to show restraint and preserve the country’s territorial integrity. This week the Coalition air defence intercepted several drones and ballistic missiles launched by the Houthis toward Saudi Arabia’s cities.

United Arab Emirates-img

United Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates-img

Sunday, 25 August—During the Strategy Summit between the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) and Huawei, focusing on enhancing cooperation in investments and exchange of best practices, the two companies launched a joint Artificial Intelligence laboratory in Dubai, through which they will develop and implement AI digital services for the Middle East. They also launched a training and development programme for DEWA staff in the 4th Industrial Revolution and disruptive technologies.

Wednesday, 28 August—The Ras Al-Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ) unveiled the BusinessWomen Package, the UAE’s first business package designed to encourage women to entrepreneurship. The 1 or 3 year plans, include a free zone licence, a shared workstation and various value added services. RAKEZ’s Group CEO, Ramy Jallad, announced they are preparing more initiatives to attract more women into business.

Thursday, 29 August—The UAE carried out precision air strikes in Yemen’s Aden against terrorist militias to prevent attacks against the Coalition forces as terror cells have increased their activity over the past few weeks, taking advantage of the chaos in South Yemen, where the UAE-backed secessionist Southern Transitional Council (STC) has fought the Yemeni government forces. The airstrikes came in retaliation for an earlier attack on the Coalition forces at the Aden Airport by terrorist-affiliated armed groups. Meanwhile, Yemen’s President accused the UAE of targeting government forces.