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GULF IN REVIEW 7 – 12 April 2019

BY Nikola Zukalová


As sustained public protests have pushed Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir out of office on April 11 after 30 years of leadership, Sudan’s partners in the Arab Gulf have reacted with caution. Bahrain and Qatar, the only ones to having release statements already, called for the upholding of Sudan’s interests as a nation. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Oman have not so far released official statements. However, behind the scenes Gulf policymakers are looking at the future to whom will replace Bashir. Bashir’s regime had in several Gulf states financial partners in tackling its economic challenges.

Al-Fateh Grand Mosque in Bahrain

Kingdom of Bahrain Kingdom of Bahrain-img

Tuesday, 9 April — Bahrain‘s Foreign Affairs Minister, Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al-Khalifa, conducted an official visit to Islamabad, where he met with the country‘s senior officials, including his Pakistani counterpart, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, President Dr Arif ur Rehman Alvi, Prime Minister, Imran Khan, and Pakistan Army’s Chief of Staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, focusing on the long-standing relations between Bahrain and Pakistan.

Wednesday, 10 April — Bahrain’s Interior Minister, General Rashid bin Abdullah Al-Khalifa, travelled to the United States for an official visit. He met with the country’s officials, including Senator Ron Johnson, Chairman of Senate Homeland Security Committee, and Senator Jim Risch, Chairman of Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee. They discussed bilateral relations and opportunities for development of cooperation, with focus on security challenges, counter-terrorism, and Iranian meddling in Bahrain’s domestic affairs. Bahrain’s Interior Minister also held talks with the Secretary of US Treasury Department, Steven Mnuchin, about cooperation in the fight against terrorism financing and money laundering, and the strengthening of cooperation within the framework of the Terrorist Financing Targeting Center.


State of Kuwait Sultanate of Oman-img

Tuesday, 9 April — The United Kingdom’s Defence Advisor for the Middle East, Sir John Lorimer, and Undersecretary of Kuwait’s Interior Ministry, Lieutenant General Essam Al-Naham, discussed ways to advance bilateral cooperation, with focus on new mechanisms of cooperation, notably in the exchange of information, experiences, and mutual visits.

Tuesday, 9 April — A delegation of Kuwaiti parliamentarians from the Kuwaiti National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs Committee, led by the Committee’s Head, Abdulkarim Al-Kandari, travelled to France for a three-day official visit. They visited the French Senate and discussed bilateral relations with several French lawmakers, touched upon affairs concerning Kuwaitis living in France, as well as regional issues, including the Gulf Crisis. The delegation met with the Head of the French Senate Friendship Group, Jean-Marie Bockel, Director of International Relations and Protocols of the Senate, Philippe Adnot, and Foreign Relations and Head of Defence and Armed Forces Committee of the Senate, Christian Cambon, among others.

Tuesday, 9 April — Military Attachés of the member states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) gathered for talks at the NATO-Istanbul Cooperation Initiative Regional Centre in Kuwait to discuss prospects for cooperation, recent international developments and the achievements of the Centre, launched in 2017, on the occasion of the Alliance’s 70th anniversary.


Sultanate of Oman Sultanate of Oman-img

Monday, 8 April — Sayyid Badr bin Hamad bin Hamoud Al-Busaidi, the Secretary General of Oman’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, met with Anne Sipiläinen, Finland’s Undersecretary of State Foreign and Security Policy, and her accompanying delegation, who visited Oman on the occasion of the regional conference for Finland’s Ambassadors to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries, organised by Finland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Tuesday, 9 April — Dr Yahya bin Mahfoudh Al-Mantheri, Chairman of Oman’s State Council, and his accompanying delegation, travelled to Russia for an official visit on the invitation of the Russian Federation Council’s President, Valentina Ivanova Matvienko, in a bid to strengthen bilateral relations and cooperation, particularly in the parliamentary field. Speaking at Russia’s Federation Council, Dr Al-Mantheri highlighted the depth of ties between Oman and Russia.


State of Qatar State of Qatar-img

Wednesday, 10 April — Peter Estlin, the Lord Mayor of the City of London, the main business district of London, the United Kingdom, visited Doha, where he met with Qatar’s Prime Minister and Interior Minister, Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al-Thani, as well as the Emir, Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, to discuss bilateral relations and opportunities for their improvement, with focus on trade and investments.

Thursday, 11 April — Bulgaria’s President, Rumen Radev, and his accompanying delegation arrived in Doha for an official visit. He held talks with Qatar’s senior officials, including the Emir, Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani. They discussed bilateral relations and ways to develop them, particularly in agriculture, education, infrastructure, and technology and touched upon the Qatari-Bulgarian Business Forum, held on the occasion of the Bulgarian President’s visit and attended by both countries’ senior officials and businesspersons, contributing to the strengthening of trade and investment ties.

Thursday, 11 April — Germany’s Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas, held talks with Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, in Berlin. They discussed bilateral relations, economic cooperation and regional as well as international issues of common concern, notably the situation in Libya and Syria.


Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Kingdom of Saudi Arabia-img

Tuesday, 9 April — Dr Abdel Aziz Hamad Aluwaisheg, The Gulf Cooperation Council‘s (GCC) Assistant Secretary-General for Political and Negotiation Affairs, and Michele Cervone D’Urso, European Union’s (EU) Ambassador to the GCC and its member states, discussed the progress in the implementation of the GCC-EU programmes and initiatives as well as the revival of negotiations about the GCC-EU free trade agreement (FTA), along with the latest regional and international developments, notably the creation of the Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA) and the situation regarding Palestine.

Wednesday, 10 April — Saudi Aramco raised $12 billion from its initial international bond issuance in an unprecedented debt offering, which attracted over $100 billion in orders from investors. The issuance comprises of five tranches of senior unsecured notes under the Saudi Aramco’s Global Medium Term Note Programme due between 3 and 30 years. The offering should close on 16 April.

Wednesday 10 April — The Gulf Cooperation Council‘s (GCC) Assistant Secretary-General for Political and Negotiation Affairs, Dr Abdel Aziz Hamad Aluwaisheg, met with Steve Conway, the Senior Manager of International Partnerships at the United Kingdom’s Home Office, at the headquarters of the GCC Secretariat in Riyadh. They discussed ways to enhance cooperation between the GCC and the United Kingdom, notably in combating terrorism and violent extremism.

United Arab Emirates-img

United Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates-img

Tuesday, 9 April — Senior officials from the United States (US), led by John Rood, Undersecretary of Defence for Policy, and the UAE, led by Vice Chairman of the UAE Armed Forces, Eisa Al-Mazrouie, attended the 4th Meeting of the Joint Military Dialogue, held between 9-10 April in Washington, DC, to discuss defence and security cooperation between the US and the UAE, notably in counterterrorism, air and missile defence, countering regional threats, as well as border and maritime security.

Wednesday, 10 April — A delegation from the UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, led by Khalifa Shaheen Al-Marar, Assistant Minister for Political Affairs, held the 2nd round of political consultations with representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, led by Andre Haspels, Director-General of Political Affairs, in the Hague. They discussed bilateral cooperation, particularly in political and economic affairs, and efforts to boost cooperation notably in trade, investments, climate change, fight against terrorism and extremism. The Emirati delegation highlighted its efforts in education, women’s empowerment and humanitarian aid.

Thursday, 11 April — Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE’s Minister of Climate Change and Environment, led the Emirati delegation to the 161st Session of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Council, held in Rome. On the sidelines, Dr Al-Zeyoudi, held talks with Luca Sabbatucci, Director General of Global Affairs at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as FAO’s Director General, José Graziano da Silva, about opportunities for cooperation and food safety projects, the use of new technologies for environmental sustainability and agriculture.