The Gulf Region & Yemen in August 2023

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August 1, 2023

  1. OPEC Production Declines in July Amid Saudi Voluntary Cut (Al Khaleej). A Reuters survey revealed that OPEC’s oil production decreased in July due to Saudi Arabia’s additional voluntary cut as part of the latest OPEC+ agreement to support the market. OPEC pumped 27.34 million barrels daily in July, down 840,000 barrels from June. Saudi Arabia extended its voluntary production cut of one million barrels per day into August, with the possibility of further extensions. Additionally, Nigeria’s supplies were halted during this period.
  2. Jeddah to Host Peace Talks on Ukraine Crisis, Russia Excluded (Elaph). Jeddah will host peace talks on the Ukrainian crisis on August 5 and 6, with delegates from Western countries, Ukraine, India, Brazil, China, and South Africa attending, among representatives from 30 countries. The summit aims to garner support for the Ukrainian peace plan, but Russia will not be included. Saudi Arabia’s role in mediating between Russia and Ukraine is highlighted, while Russia expresses its willingness to negotiate, accusing Ukraine of refusing to participate. The summit’s success depends on developing peace principles adhering to UN Charter values. However, Ukraine’s demands face opposition from some developing nations.

August 2, 2023

  1. Israeli National Security Adviser: Long Road Ahead to Normalize Relations with Saudi Arabia Amid Palestinian State Demands (France 24). Israeli National Security Adviser stated that the road to normalizing relations with Saudi Arabia is still long. The US administration is working towards a historic agreement, seen as a major step towards resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict. However, Saudi Arabia insists that Palestinian demands, including the establishment of a Palestinian state, must be addressed before moving forward with normalization.

August 3, 2023

  1.   Israeli Solar Company SolarEdge Partners with Ajlan & Bros for Solar Energy Adoption in Saudi Arabia (Jerusalem Post). Israel’s leading solar energy company, SolarEdge, has entered a joint venture with Ajlan & Bros Holding (AHB) to promote the adoption of solar energy solutions in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The partnership aims to support Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 initiative, which aims to reduce the country’s dependence on oil and promote renewable energy. The joint venture will offer a range of SolarEdge products, including production, storage, and energy management solutions, as well as consultancy services for organizations transitioning to renewable energy. The move reflects the growing ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia, despite the absence of official diplomatic relations.

August 4, 2023

  1. Kuwait Ready to Take Measures for Joint Ownership of “Durra” Gas Field, Calls for Negotiations with Saudi Arabia and Iran (Al Sharq Al Awsat). Kuwait expresses readiness to take any necessary steps, including negotiations, to secure joint rights over the submerged “Durra” gas field, disputed with Saudi Arabia. Kuwait’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Oil, Saad Al-Barrak, affirmed that the field belongs to both Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, and both nations have called on Iran to negotiate the boundary of the submerged area. Kuwait and Saudi Arabia had signed an agreement to develop the field. This announcement coincided with the reception of the new Iranian ambassador’s credentials and discussions on Kuwaiti-Iranian relations, including an invitation for the Kuwaiti Foreign Minister to visit Iran.
  2. Saudi Arabia Extends Voluntary Oil Production Cut to Support Market Stability and Economic Goals (France 24). Saudi Arabia has announced the extension of its voluntary oil production cut of one million barrels per day, which began in July, for another month, including September. The cut is in addition to a voluntary reduction announced in April and will extend until the end of December 2024. This decision comes ahead of a meeting of the Technical Committee of oil exporting countries. 

August 7, 2023

  1. Iran Issues Warning Amidst Dispute Over Disputed Islands with UAE (Al Khaleej Online). Iranian General Staff Spokesperson Brigadier General Abu al-Fadl Shikarji issued a warning implied to the UAE.  Shikarji’s statement, reported by the Iranian “Tasnim” agency, cautions that such “greedy people” should consider Iran’s military capabilities before making any ill-advised moves.

Saudi Arabia Hosts Diplomatic Summit Amidst Russia’s Global Struggles

As Russia contends with setbacks in Ukraine and navigates complex African geopolitics, Saudi Arabia organized a summit engaging representatives from over 40 nations to address the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Notably excluding Russia, the conference demonstrated Saudi Arabia’s dedication to addressing intricate global challenges. While yielding limited concrete outcomes, the event showcased the kingdom’s proactive role in diplomacy, reinforcing its position as a critical player in intricate geopolitical scenarios.

Saudi Arabia Hosts Talks on Ukraine Conflict in Diplomatic Endeavor

Saudi Arabia has taken a bold step onto the international stage by hosting talks addressing the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. The discussions, held in the coastal city of Jeddah over the weekend, were part of Riyadh’s effort to play a diplomatic role in global affairs. However, expectations for a significant breakthrough in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict remain cautious.

The talks brought together representatives from approximately 40 countries, excluding Russia. While the meetings concluded without a final statement, their primary aim was to create an understanding of basic principles for ending the conflict. The discussions focused on a potential peace formula that would entail a return to Ukraine’s former borders, including Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014. 

Notably, Russia’s absence from the negotiations did not deter discussions about President Vladimir Putin’s potential stance on critical issues such as cease-fires or peace deals. The talks also sought to involve crucial countries, including members of the “BRICS” bloc like China, India, and Brazil, which have adopted more neutral positions on the war.

China participated through its envoy to Ukraine, Li Hui, affirming the nation’s commitment to a constructive role in resolving the Ukrainian crisis. India, South Africa, and Brazil also sent officials, with Brazil emphasizing the importance of including all relevant parties in negotiations, including Russia.

The diplomatic initiative underscores Saudi Arabia’s aspiration to enhance its role as a global mediator. Experts note that Riyadh’s diplomatic strategy centers on maintaining strategic relations with Ukraine and Russia, leveraging its position to mediate conflicts and bolster its international image.

While the ultimate outcome of the talks remains uncertain, Saudi Arabia’s multifaceted approach to diplomacy highlights its determination to contribute to conflict resolution and regional stability. By hosting discussions on the Ukrainian conflict, Saudi Arabia positions itself as a potential key player in navigating complex geopolitical landscapes and promoting global peace.

August 8, 2023

  1. Saudi Aramco Reports Decline in Q2 2023 Net Income (France 24). Saudi Aramco, the state-owned oil company of Saudi Arabia, announced a decline in net income for the second quarter of 2023. The company’s net income amounted to 112.81 billion Saudi riyals (approximately 30.08 billion US dollars), compared to 181.64 billion Saudi riyals (approximately 48.44 billion US dollars) in the same quarter of 2022. The decrease is attributed to lower crude oil prices and weak refining and chemicals profit margins. This decline follows a previous drop in the first quarter of 2023 and is in line with market expectations. Saudi Aramco’s production has also been impacted by cuts in supplies as part of efforts to support oil prices. The company’s CEO, Amin Nasser, highlighted its resilience and ability to adapt during market volatility.
  2. Egypt and Saudi Arabia Urged to Collaborate in Hydrogen Market (Al Sharq Al Awsat). The Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Egyptian Hydrogen Company, Eng. Khaled Naguib, has urged Egypt and Saudi Arabia to establish the groundwork for a hydrogen market in the region, aiming to secure a significant market share in this promising sector. Naguib emphasized that such collaboration could capture about a third of the market share in both the European and Asian markets, totaling between $50 to $100 billion annually within the next 3 to 5 years. The global hydrogen market, valued at approximately $150 billion in 2020, is projected to reach $600 billion by 2050. Naguib also estimated the current value of the Egyptian hydrogen sector to be between $200 to $300 billion. He emphasized that integrating Egypt and Saudi Arabia in this emerging market would have far-reaching economic implications, especially considering Europe’s keen interest in energy imports from Egypt and Asia’s reliance on Riyadh’s energy resources.

August 9, 2023

  1. Saudi Arabia Extends Voluntary Oil Production Cut through September (Al Khaleej). During its session on Tuesday, the Saudi Council of Ministers affirmed that “the Kingdom will continue to strengthen the precautionary efforts of the (OPEC Plus) group of countries aimed at supporting the stability of oil markets, including extending the voluntary cut of one million barrels per day, which began to be applied last July, to include the month of September.” 

August 10, 2023

  1. American Newspaper Says Normalization of Saudi-Israeli Relations is Possible Within a Year (Al Nahar). The Wall Street Journal quoted US officials as saying that it is possible to reach an agreement to normalize relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel under the auspices of the United States within a year at most…The American newspaper indicated that an agreement was reached between Washington and Riyadh on the broad lines of the deal, but essential issues still take time to resolve…She added that Saudi Arabia would demand “significant concessions” from Israel on the Palestinian issue without giving details about it…And she said that the United States would guarantee Saudi Arabia steps toward the Palestinians in return for Saudi Arabia obtaining American aid in the civil nuclear field, which Israel opposes.
  2. More Than 1.3 Million Amphetamine Tablets Seized in Riyadh (Al Ekhbariya). The Anti-Narcotics Department seized more than 1,300,000 tablets of the narcotic amphetamine hidden in a shipment of electric machines inside a warehouse…Its promoters, residents of both Jordanian and Syrian nationalities, were also arrested, suspended, and preliminary legal measures were taken against them and referred to the Public Prosecution.
  3. Saudi-American Alliance to Establish an Infrastructure for Drones in the Kingdom (Press Bee). At a time when Saudi Arabia is moving towards launching significant partnerships in the field of drones, the Saudi Technology Excellence Holding Company and Aerobotics Ltd., a subsidiary of the American Ondas Group – a leading provider of private industrial wireless networks, commercial drones, and automated data solutions – announced a strategic alliance to create a local drone infrastructure throughout the Kingdom…The Saudi and American companies plan to establish an office inside the Kingdom to localize unmanned aerial systems and solutions and provide air data solutions to local government and commercial entities, according to a joint statement.
  4. Saudi Embassy Officially Starts Activities in Tehran (Shorouk News). The official Iranian news agency IRNA, quoting an unnamed informed source, revealed that the Saudi embassy in the capital, Tehran, has started its work months after the two countries announced the resumption of relations under Chinese mediation…Today, Wednesday, the source confirmed that the Saudi embassy in Tehran officially started its work three days ago without giving further details…The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Nasser Kanaani, spoke at a press conference last Monday about a “positive trend” regarding his country’s relationship with Saudi Arabia.

August 11, 2023

  1. Prominent Yemeni Commander Among Four Killed in Suspected al-Qaeda Attack in Abyan (Al Arabiya News). A bombing in southern Yemen killed four fighters loyal to the Southern Transitional Council, including a prominent commander who previously survived assassination attempts by al-Qaeda, a security official said. The roadside bomb detonated while their convoy was near the village of Mudiyah in Abyan province, said the source who spoke anonymously. The convoy had been en route to a flashpoint area with regular confrontations with al-Qaeda fighters.
  2. Aramco’s Profits Move Saudi Budget From Deficit to Surplus (Al Khaleej Online). Bloomberg Economics reported that Saudi Arabia is preparing to record a budget surplus for the second year in 2023, thanks to Aramco’s dividend increase…Emerging markets analyst at the agency, Ziyad Daoud, said that he expects the Saudi budget to achieve a surplus by the end of this year, shifting from the deficit in the first half of the year, driven by the decline in oil prices and social support programs…Dawood referred to the voluntary reduction of oil production by the Kingdom, and thus lower revenues for Aramco, in which the Saudi government has a share of about 90%. Still, the consequential increase in oil price may change the revenue value. 
  3. Saudi-Kuwaiti Agreement to Continue Dorra Field Plan (Al Khaleej Online). A Kuwaiti newspaper revealed that the executive committee between Kuwait and Saudi Arabia for the Dorra field project held a meeting last Tuesday, reviewing the latest developments in the field…Today, Thursday, the Kuwaiti newspaper, Al-Rai, quoted informed sources as confirming the agreement of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to continue with the agreed action plan according to the timetable…The sources indicated that the meeting was held in the presence of the leaders of the Kuwait Gulf Oil Company and Aramco officials…a day after the CEO of Aramco, Amin Al-Nasser, confirmed that the plans related to the Dorra field would proceed as planned with Kuwait.

August 14, 2023

  1. Saudi Customs Thwarts Smuggling of 2.2 Million Captagon Tablets Hidden in a Consignment of Baklava (Al Sharq Al Awsat). The Saudi Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority at Jeddah Islamic Port thwarted an attempt to smuggle 2,242,560 Captagon pills after finding them hidden in a consignment that came to the Kingdom through the port…The authority stated that a shipment of sweets containing “baklava” was received, and when it was subjected to customs procedures and inspected through security techniques, that quantity of grains was found hidden under the “baklava” layers.
  2. US Navy Deploys Two Advanced Drones in the Gulf (Middle East News). The US deployed two MQ-9 Reaper drones in the Gulf region…According to the US Department of Defense, the deployment aims to “deter aggression, enhance awareness of the maritime domain, and strengthen the commitment to our regional partners.”…Recently, the United States has intensified the deployment of military forces in the Gulf region. On August 7, the US Fifth Fleet announced the arrival of more than 3,000 US sailors and soldiers to the Middle East as part of a plan previously reported by the US Department of Defense.

August 15, 2023

  1. Oman Concludes 4-Year Gas Export Agreement With Germany (Al Khaleej Online). The Sultanate of Oman announced the conclusion of an agreement with Germany to export about 400 thousand metric tons of liquefied natural gas annually, starting in 2026 and for four years….According to a statement issued by the Oman LNG Company today, Monday, it has concluded the first agreement with the German company “Sevi,” which specializes in securing energy for Europe….Mahmoud Al Balushi, Head of Commercial Operations at the Omani company, said: “The signing of the binding clauses agreement with Sevi Company is an important step that consolidates the position of Omani liquefied gas exports in the global markets in general, and the German ones in particular.”

August 16, 2023

  1. Saudi Arabia Asks Jordan to Prevent Entry of Syrian Trucks (Al Khaleej Online). An official in the government of the Syrian regime revealed a joint Jordanian-Saudi decision to prevent the entry of Syrian trucks coming through the Nassib border crossing between Syria and Jordan…”There are about 1,200 refrigerated trucks still parked at the Nassib crossing, as a result of the decision issued by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” said the official of the border crossings of the Federation of Cargo Shipping Companies in Syria, Ayman Joban, to the Russian agency “Sputnik.”
  2. Abu Dhabi Supplies Wheat to Egypt in  $500 Million Deal (The National News). Abu Dhabi-based Al Dahra Agribusiness and the Abu Dhabi Export Office (Adex) have concluded a multi-year, $500 million deal to supply wheat to Egypt…Al Dahra said in a statement on Tuesday that the five-year agreement worth $100 million annually will provide Egypt with imported milled grain starting this year…“Adex’s low-cost financing package helps us obtain high-quality wheat at the lowest financing cost, with convenient payment terms… The three parties have worked hard over the past few months to achieve this,” Ali Moselhi, Egypt’s Minister of Supply and Internal Trade, said.
  3. India Pays in Rupees For The First Time to Buy Oil From The UAE (Dot Al Khalij). The Indian Embassy in the UAE announced the start of trade exchange with Abu Dhabi in their local currencies. The embassy said in a statement yesterday, Monday, that the Indian Oil Corporation paid “rupees” to the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) in return for buying one million barrels of oil from the UAE…The operation comes after a deal that included the sale of 25 kilograms of gold from an Emirati gold source to a buyer in India for about 128.4 million rupees ($1.54 million).

August 17, 2023

  1. US Beefs Up Gulf Deployment Over Iran Oil Tanker Threat (New Arab). The United States is increasing its military presence in the Gulf region as Iranian seizures threaten oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz. Three thousand additional US personnel on troop-landing warships have passed through the Red Sea, and US-led maritime forces are cautioning ships against approaching Iranian waters. This move follows a series of ship captures and attempted captures in the region. The US military has stated that Iran has seized or tried to take nearly 20 internationally flagged vessels in the past two years. The US aims to strengthen security and stability in the critical waterway and is considering unprecedented measures, including putting Marines and Navy personnel aboard commercial tankers. Tensions and incidents persisted while a prisoner release deal was reached between the US and Iran.
  2. Saudi Arabia and UAE Secure Nvidia GPUs in Race to Build an AI Industry (The New Arab). Saudi Arabia has bought 3,000 of Nvdia’s latest H100 GPUs for $120 million, with the UAE buying thousands more, according to the Financial Times. Each GPU costs $40,000 and has been described by Nvidia president Jensen Huang as “the first computer [chip] in the world designed for generative artificial intelligence.”…It comes as the two countries accelerate their ambitious development plans, known as Vision 2030 in Saudi Arabia and Vision 2031 in the United Arab Emirates, which aim to shift their economies away from the oil industry.

August 18, 2023

  1. Saudi Delegation Attends Moscow Conference on International Security to Discuss Defense Cooperation (Al Sharq Al Awsat). A Saudi delegation led by Engineer Talal Al-Otaibi, Assistant Minister of Defense, participated in the Eleventh Moscow Conference on International Security 2023 alongside defense and foreign ministers, military leaders, and policymakers worldwide. The conference aims to address contemporary military challenges and threats while fostering discussions among decision-makers and experts in politics, defense, and security. During the meeting, Saudi Assistant Defense Minister Al-Otaibi engaged in conversations with several counterparts, including Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin, Chinese Minister of Defense Li Shangfu, Pakistani Secretary-General and Deputy Minister of Defense Hammoud Zaman Khan, and Iranian Deputy Chief of the General Staff Brigadier General Aziz Naseerzadeh. 
  2. Saudi Arabia and China Sign Investment Agreements Worth Over $1.3 Billion (Lusai  News). Saudi Arabia and China have inked investment agreements exceeding 5 billion Saudi riyals (approximately 1.3 billion US dollars) on the sidelines of the Saudi-Chinese Forum held in Beijing. The forum emphasized collaboration and explored investment prospects between the two nations, particularly in infrastructure, housing, real estate development, and financing. A total of 12 agreements and memorandums of understanding were signed, strengthening their partnership in areas including housing and infrastructure. The value of trade between China and Arab countries, which surged 30% to $421 billion in the past year, had Saudi Arabia accounting for around 25% of the total at $106 billion in 2022.
  3. Iran Engages in Investment Talks with Qatar and UAE for Free Zones Expansion (BNReport). Iran has initiated discussions with Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) regarding investment opportunities in Iranian-free zones. Hojjatullah Abdul-Malik, Adviser to the Iranian President and Secretary of the Supreme Council for Free and Private Commercial, Industrial, and Economic Zones, highlighted that his country is engaged in ongoing talks with Qatar and the UAE to expand collaboration. He emphasized the significance of cooperation with these nations, adding that Iran is also negotiating with other Arab and Islamic countries to establish joint free economic zones, similar to its arrangement with Oman. The World Bank’s latest report projects Iran’s economy to grow by 2.2% in 2023, outpacing global growth rates, despite ongoing sanctions and the deflationary monetary policies of central banks worldwide.
  4. Iran’s Foreign Minister Visits Riyadh for Talks on Bilateral Relations (Al Sharq Al Awsat). Iran’s Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, has visited Riyadh for one day. He is expected to hold discussions with his Saudi counterpart, Prince Faisal bin Farhan. The talks will focus on bilateral relations and their development, particularly following the restoration of diplomatic ties between the two countries in March, facilitated by China. The visit coincides with the official assumption of duties by the newly appointed Iranian ambassador to Riyadh, Ali Enayati. Enayati expressed confidence in deepening cooperation and emphasized the importance of dialogue as the foundation for Gulf region discourse. Saudi Arabia and Iran had signed an agreement to resume diplomatic relations after a nearly 7-year break, and they pledged to respect sovereignty and avoid interference in internal affairs in their joint statement.

August 21, 2023

  1. Emir of Qatar Begins Official Visit to Hungary to Enhance Cooperation Between Doha and Budapest (Al Seyassah). The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad, began an official visit to the Hungarian capital, Budapest, yesterday, at the invitation of Hungarian President Katalin Novak. The visit and meetings discussed strengthening cooperation between the two countries in various fields, in addition to discussing the most important regional and international issues of common concern.
  2. Saudi Arabia and Iran Discuss Future Opportunities (Al Sharq Al Awsat). Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Crown Prince and Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia, discussed with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian opportunities for the future, relations between Riyadh and Tehran, and means of cooperation between the two countries and its development, in a meeting held in Jeddah on Friday. The meeting witnessed a discussion of developments in the situation on the regional and international arenas, and the efforts exerted towards them. 
  3. Including UAE, Saudi Arabia, Algeria and Egypt… 8 Arab Countries Request to Join “BRICS” (Anahar).Several Arab countries are awaiting the BRICS summit, which South Africa will host between August 22 and 24, to discuss requests to join the group, which seeks to break the hegemony of the West. The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Algeria and Egypt, in addition to Bahrain, Kuwait, Morocco and Palestine, submitted official requests to join BRICS, among the 23 countries that took the same step.
  4. Saudi Arabia Launches $200 Million Fund to Invest in High Tech (The National News). Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has launched a $200 million fund to invest in local and international high-tech companies as part of the kingdom’s economic diversification plan. The Saudi Press Agency reported on Sunday that the fund comes within the framework of the new strategy of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). The report said the strategy focuses on “increasing the likelihood of transforming research into economically beneficial innovation” through three main drivers. Initiatives include the launch of the National Transformational Applied Research Institute (NTI) to advance technology development and commercialization. Restructuring research centers to align with national priorities for research, development and innovation; and the creation of a new fund.

August 22, 2023

  1. UAE Central Bank’s Foreign Assets Surpass $161 Billion, Marking Historic Milestone (Al Khaleej Online). The UAE Central Bank has achieved a historic milestone as its total foreign assets exceeded $161 billion after June, marking the first instance in its history. According to data released by the UAE Central Bank, these foreign assets witnessed a monthly increase of 0.33%, rising from 590.19 billion dirhams (equivalent to $160.68 billion) in May to 592.11 billion dirhams (approximately $161.21 billion) by the end of June 2023. This upward trajectory amounts to an increase of 1.9 billion dirhams (approximately $520 million).
  2. UAE Ranks First in Arab World, 37th Globally in UN’s Technology and Innovation Report 2023 (Emarat-News). The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has secured the top position in the Arab world and ranks 37th globally, per the Technology and Innovation Report 2023 published by the United Nations. This achievement underscores the UAE’s increasing prominence in the realm of technology and innovation, solidifying its global standing and showcasing its leadership in sectors associated with environmentally friendly and sustainable industries of the future.

August 23, 2023

Qatar Says Prisoner Exchange Agreement Between America and Iran Entered Into Force (Al Khaleej Online). The official spokesman for the Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Majid Al-Ansari, confirmed that the prisoner exchange agreement between Washington and Tehran, which was mediated by the State of Qatar, has entered into force. Al-Ansari explained in the weekly media briefing, today, Tuesday, that the Qatari role is still continuing, as communication is underway with various parties to implement the agreement, release prisoners, and lift the freeze on Iranian funds in banks.

Qatar and Hungary Agree on Strategic Partnership (Kuwait). The State of Qatar and the Republic of Hungary announced raising the level of bilateral relations between them to the level of strategic partnership, yesterday, Monday, following an official visit by the Emir of the State of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, to Budapest. The visit witnessed the signing of an agreement between the two countries in the fields of youth and sports, and a number of memorandums of understanding and cooperation, including environmental protection, diplomatic training and agricultural cooperation.

Yemeni Minister Says Houthis Have Detained Two UN Employees Since 2021 (Al Sharq Al Awsat).Yemen’s Minister of Legal Affairs and Human Rights Ahmed Arman confirmed, on Monday, that the Houthi group is holding two UN staff working in the humanitarian field, one of whom is an employee of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the other of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Arman said in statements to the “Arab World News Agency” (AWP), that the period of detention of these two employees exceeded a year and a half after the group detained them in November (November) 2021, returning that this is “a big problem and we are seeking to solve it in cooperation with the United Nations.”

Government of Yemen Approves Joint Telecom Company with UAE (Al Khaleej Online). The Yemeni Cabinet approved a draft agreement to establish a joint telecommunications company between a Yemeni institution and an Emirati institution to provide mobile and Internet services in the country. According to the Yemeni news agency “Saba”, the ratification of the draft agreement was discussed yesterday, Monday, “in light of the draft signed between the Yemeni Public Telecommunications Corporation and the Emirati company “NX”, and what it includes in terms of granting a license to provide mobile services and operating and licensing frequency spectrum.”

August 24, 2023

  1. America Rules Out an Imminent Announcement About Saudi Arabia’s Nuclear Program or Normalization (Maan News).The US National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan, has ruled out achieving normalization of relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel, or issuing an announcement soon regarding the Kingdom’s acquisition of peaceful nuclear capabilities. Sullivan confirmed in a statement on Tuesday that the United States seeks to clarify the position of the International Atomic Energy Agency regarding the possibility of granting Saudi Arabia peaceful nuclear capabilities. Sullivan explained the importance of normalization between Saudi Arabia and Israel, noting that this “will represent an important event capable of achieving greater regional stability and enhancing integration in the Middle East region.”
  2. Qatar Most Likely Candidate to Manage 3 Airports in Pakistan (Al Sharq). The Center for International Aviation “CAPA” confirmed that the State of Qatar has the best chances to win the tenders offered to manage three airports in Pakistan, namely: the capital Islamabad airport, and the airports of the cities of Karachi and Lahore. Today, Wednesday, the center attributed the possibility of Qatar winning the bids to the fact that it was the first to announce its intention to take over the tasks of managing the three airports in Pakistan, at the beginning of 2022. Qatar announced its intention to invest $3 billion in Pakistan in several sectors, including tourism and food security, which reflects the good relations between Doha and Islamabad. 
  3. Saudi Arabia Thwarts Smuggling of 38 Tons of Narcotics (Al Khaleej Online).The official spokesman for the General Directorate of the Saudi Border Guard, Colonel Misfer Al-Quraini, announced that attempts to smuggle narcotic substances have been thwarted in a number of regions of the Kingdom. And according to what was reported by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), on Wednesday, Al-Quraini said that the land patrols of the border guards in the regions of Najran, Jazan, Asir, Tabuk and the Eastern Province thwarted 36 tons and 481 kilograms of the narcotic khat plant, one ton and 472 kilograms of narcotic hashish, and 29 thousand and 572 regulated tablets.
  4. IMF Says Kuwait’s Economic Recovery Faces Great Risks (Al Sharq Al Awsat). The International Monetary Fund announced, on Wednesday, that the economic recovery in Kuwait is continuing, but the risks to its future are “still great,” and that the stalemate between the government and the National Assembly could lead to continued delays in reforms. The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund said, in an assessment following “Article IV” consultations with the Kuwaiti government, that real gross domestic product is expected to slow to only 0.1 percent this year after growth of 8.2 percent in 2022, mainly due to oil production cuts. Last May, the International Monetary Fund predicted a slowdown in real GDP to 0.9 percent. Despite the expected recession, the Fund on Wednesday expected real non-oil GDP to grow 3.8 percent this year from 4 percent in 2022.

August 25, 2023

  1. Saudi Arabia, Iran, UAE, Egypt, Argentina, and Ethiopia to Join BRICS in January 2024 (France 24). The BRICS group has strengthened its ranks by accessing six new countries, including Arab countries, as confirmed by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday during a group summit in Johannesburg. The list of countries joining the group seeking to enhance its influence included Iran, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Argentina, and Ethiopia, as of January 2024.

August 28, 2023

  1. Saudi Arabia Explores Nuclear Partnerships Beyond US (BBC). Saudi Arabia considers nuclear energy collaborations with China, France, and Russia, diversifying beyond traditional alliances.

August 29, 2023

  1. Saudi Fighter Jet Crashes, Crew Survives (Al-Khalij Now). On Monday, the Saudi Ministry of Defense announced that a Royal Air Force fighter plane crashed during a routine training mission at King Abdulaziz Air Base in Dhahran. The crew survived, according to Brigadier General Turki Al-Maliki.
  2. Iran Denies Territorial Ambitions in Kuwait, Aims for Peaceful Resolution with Saudi Arabia (Al-Khaleej Online). A senior aide to Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Asghar Khaji clarified that Iran has no territorial ambitions in Kuwait and aims to peacefully resolve the “Durra field” dispute with Saudi Arabia.
  3. Saudi Arabia and Palestine Engage in Cooperative Talks in Amman (I 24 News). Saudi Ambassador to the Palestinian Authority Nayef bin Bandar Al-Sudairi discussed cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Palestine with Hussein Al-Sheikh, Secretary of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

August 30, 2023

  1. Kuwait and UK Forge Investment Partnership to Strengthen Bilateral Ties (Al Sharq Al Awsat). Kuwait and the UK signed an MOU for investment partnership, aiming to enhance economic, security, and cultural cooperation. Crown Prince Sheikh Mishaal Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah and UK PM Rishi Sunak attended the signing at 10 Downing Street. 

August 31, 2023

  1. GCC and New Zealand Discuss Free Trade Agreement (Press Bee). Jassim Muhammad Al-Budaiwi, Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council, met with New Zealand Minister of Trade Damian O’Connor to explore avenues for a free trade agreement. The meeting aimed to bolster foreign trade and attract foreign investment.
  2. Qatar Supplies Fuel to Lebanese Army (Raya). The Qatar Fund for Development will supply the Lebanese army with $30 million worth of fuel for six months. This aid is part of Qatar’s ongoing commitment to support Lebanese institutions and citizens.

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