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The Gulf Region & Yemen in July 2023

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July 3, 2023

Kuwait Summons Swedish Ambassador in Protest Against Qur’an Burning (Elaph). The foreign ministry ministry expressed Kuwait’s protest against the continued permission of the Swedish authorities to grant permits to burn copies of the Holy Qur’an and called on the Swedish government to take responsibility for stopping the granting of these permits and to take immediate action to prevent the recurrence of these abuses targeting the symbols and sanctities of Muslims and to hold the perpetrators accountable.

Iran Says it Reached Agreement with Saudi Arabia to Develop Joint Oil Fields (Al Khaleej Online). An Iranian official revealed an agreement between Tehran and Riyadh on plans to develop joint oil fields between the two countries, leading to increased production after the recent reconciliation between them. A plan was defined for all fields shared by Iran and Saudi Arabia, and the necessary approvals were obtained to carry out various operations, including increasing production, maintenance, and new development.

Iranian Diplomat Reveals Negotiations Between Tehran and Washington, Mediated By Oman with Help of Qatar and UAE (Al Mustaqila). The Chargé d’Affaires of Iran’s Embassy in Britain, Mehdi Hosseini Mateen, announced that the Omani authority is mediating the indirect negotiations between Tehran and Washington, with the assistance of Qatar and the UAE…Hosseini Mateen confirmed to USA Today the possibility of reaching an agreement to lift the unjust and illegal sanctions imposed on Iran partially. The diplomat expressed optimism about a possible agreement between Iran and the United States soon.

Yemeni Interior Ministry Arrest an ISIS Leader Who is a Syrian National (Yemeni News). The Ministry of the Interior of the legitimate government announced that the security services were able to seize a leader in the terrorist organization ISIS, who is a Syrian citizen…security services in Al-Mahra governorate, in the east of the country, arrested the intelligence official of the terrorist organization ISIS, called Obeida Al-Razj, a Syrian national, nicknamed Abu Dania Al-Suri…Recently, Yemen has witnessed an increase in the activity of terrorist elements, as many terrorist operations have been carried out in several southern governorates, though they have all been attributed to Al-Qaeda.

July 4, 2023

  1. Bahrain Agrees to Invest $1.27B in the United Kingdom (Al Khaleej Online). Bahraini Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa began a visit to the United Kingdom on Monday, which witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding in which Manama will invest one billion pounds ($1.27 billion) in Britain…from the Bahraini private sector through the Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company, the Investcorp Company, the GFH Financial Group, and the Osoul Company.
  2. Kuwait Sends Message to Iran: the Durra Field is Ours and Saudi Arabia’s (Al Khaleej Online). A day after Iran threatened to start drilling and exploration operations in the “Durra” field, located in the submerged area shared between Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, the Kuwaiti government announced that Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have exclusive rights in the offshore Durra gas field. The source explained that “the marine area in which the Dorra field is located in the marine areas of Kuwait, and the natural resources in it are shared between Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, and they alone have exclusive rights to the natural wealth in the field,” according to KUNA.
  3. Saudi Arabia and Russia Extend Voluntary Oil Production Cuts in August (Al Arabiya). An official source in the Saudi Ministry of Energy announced on Monday that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia would extend its voluntary cut of one million barrels per day, which began to be implemented in July, for another month, including August, with the possibility of extending it. The source confirmed that this additional voluntary reduction reinforces the precautionary efforts made by the “OPEC +” countries to support the stability and balance of oil markets, quoting the Saudi Press Agency, SPA. This comes as Russia announced a reduction in its oil exports by half a million barrels daily in August. 

July 5, 2023

  1. Erdogan Will Visit Abu Dhabi Soon to Sign Comprehensive Agreements (Al Khaleej Online). A senior Turkish government official revealed that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will visit the UAE after two weeks, including signing comprehensive bilateral agreements. This came in a press statement by the Turkish Minister of Treasury and Finance, Mehmet Simsek, after the meeting of the Turkish government headed by Erdogan on Monday evening.
  2. Algeria, Saudi Arabia, and Russia…A Tripartite Bloc that Guarantees the Oil Market and Prices (Echorouk Online). The fluctuations of the international oil market showed that there is a trio that has been working for years, each according to its capabilities, to stabilize prices, and it is related to Algeria, Russia, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia within the framework of what has become known as the “OPEC +” alliance.

July 6, 2023

  1.  Saudi Arabia and Kuwait Assert Rights to Gas Fields Eyed by Iran (Times of Israel). Riyadh’s official press agency says Dorra field, known to Iranians as Arash, is under the joint ownership of Saudis and Kuwaitis; the declaration comes after Tehran said preparing to drill. The dispute over the field — whose recoverable reserves are estimated at some 220 billion cubic meters (seven trillion cubic feet) — dates back to the 1960s, when Iran and Kuwait awarded overlapping offshore concessions.
  2. Emirati Economic Zones Sign Investment Agreement with Israeli Manufacturers Association (Al Nahar). The Emirates News Agency, WAM, stated that the UAE and Israel are looking forward to enhancing mutual investment and cooperation in the field of manufacturing within the framework of an agreement signed by the Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zones “RAKEZ” with the Israeli Manufacturers Association today, Wednesday. WAM said that the memorandum of understanding calls for cooperation between the two sides to create investment opportunities and expand the scope of industrial partnership operations.

July 7, 2023

  1. A Kuwaiti-Iranian Meeting in Baku as Dispute Over “Durra” Field Continues (Al Khaleej Online). Kuwait and Iran stressed the necessity of continuing dialogue between the two countries and supporting all efforts to enhance regional security and stability amid differences between the two countries over the Durra gas and oil field located in the Gulf waters and [after] Kuwaiti’s confirmation of the continued development of the field in partnership with Saudi Arabia. The statement issued by the Kuwaiti Foreign Ministry said that Minister Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah met on Wednesday with his Iranian counterpart, Hussein Amir Abdullahi, on the sidelines of the ministerial meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement held in Baku.
  2. Iraq and Kuwait Agree on Mechanism for Investing in their Joint Oil Fields (Elaph). Iraq and Kuwait agreed to cooperate in setting up mechanisms for investing in their oil fields on their borders of 6 fields. The Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, “The Iraqi-Kuwaiti joint committee held its work in Kuwait on Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss the memorandum of understanding on joint oil fields between the two countries.”
  3. Abu Dhabi and Washington Discuss Regional Issues and Cooperation in UN Security Council (Al Khaleej Online). On Wednesday, Emirati Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed discussed with his US counterpart Anthony Blinken the relations between the two countries, in addition to several issues and cooperation in the UN Security Council, where Abu Dhabi currently has a non-permanent seat. 
  4. UAE to Provide $15 Million to Rehabilitate West Bank City of Jenin (Gulf Today). Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs, discussed with Philippe Lazzarini, Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)…that the UAE decided, based on the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the State, to provide $15 million to support the agency’s operations and services and to provide urgent aid to Palestinian families. The aid also aims to rehabilitate the city of Jenin and its refugee camp, which has recently been subjected to Israeli attacks, causing repercussions for thousands of citizens.

July 10, 2023

  1. Türkiye Expects Imminent Gulf Investments of $10 Billion (Al Khaleej Online). Reuters said today, Friday, that Turkiye expects direct Gulf investments in local assets amounting to $10 billion, as part of an upcoming visit by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the region, within two weeks. The agency quoted two senior Turkish officials – it did not name them – that total investments of up to $30 billion are expected to be pumped over a more extended period in Turkiye’s energy, infrastructure, and defense sectors.
  2. UAE May Mediate an Agreement on Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (Al Khaleej Online). Al-Araby Al-Jadeed newspaper quoted sources [saying] …that “there are new indications regarding the possibility of reaching a new agreement between Cairo and Addis Ababa, under Emirati auspices, that includes determining a share of the water” of the Nile to each side. In addition, “Among the recent indicators is Ethiopia’s reduction of the heights planned for the dam, allowing Egypt to obtain a larger amount of water.”
  3. Customs Thwarts Smuggling of 178,000 Captagon Pills Hidden in a Consignment of “Beehives” at Jedda Airport (Okaz). The Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah managed to thwart an attempt to smuggle (178,274) Captagon pills, which were found hidden in a consignment coming to Saudi Arabia through the airport. The authority stated that Saudi Arabia had received a consignment through King Abdulaziz Airport containing boxes containing “beehives.”
  4. Qatar Reportedly Brokered Meeting Between United States and Venezuela (Arabi 21). A report by the “Responsible Statecraft” magazine of the American “Quincy Institute for Responsible State Management” revealed that Qatar is a mediator between the United States and Venezuela. The magazine stated that Qatar held a secret meeting between Juan Gonzalez, US President Joe Biden’s advisor on Latin American affairs, and Jorge Rodriguez, the right-hand man of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro…the secret meeting hosted by Doha aims to establish a direct channel of communication between the two countries in the future and to explore ways to remove the tension between Washington and Caracas against the backdrop of sanctions imposed by the administration of former US President Donald Trump on Caracas, after accusing Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro of undermining democracy.​
  5. Russian and GCC Ministers to Meet in Moscow on Monday to Strengthen Relations (Al Araby). On Monday in Moscow, the sixth joint ministerial meeting of the strategic dialogue between the Gulf Cooperation Council and Russia will be held, which seeks to strengthen relations between the two sides. The Secretary-General of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, Jassim Al-Budaiwi, said: “The meeting seeks to strengthen relations between the two sides in a way that serves common interests.” During the meeting, topics on the agenda will be discussed, aimed at increasing cooperation on the one hand and providing an opportunity for exchanging views on several regional and international files on the other hand.
  6. Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to “Accelerate Business” in Dorra Field (CNN). The Kuwaiti Ministry of Oil announced on Sunday that the Kuwaiti-Saudi permanent joint committee “discussed accelerating the pace of work and achievements in oil projects related to the onshore divided zone and the offshore divided zone adjacent to it,” according to Kuwait News Agency (KUNA). The Undersecretary of the Kuwaiti Ministry of Oil, Sheikh Nimr Fahd Al-Malik Al-Sabah, said, in a statement, that “the meeting of the joint committee comes at a significant time, to follow up and evaluate work in the joint operations area, including Al-Wafra and Al-Khafji.”

July 11, 2023

  1. UN to Begin Transfer of Crude from Derelict Tanker off Yemen Next Week (Arab News). The transfer of crude oil from a decaying tanker off Yemen will begin early next week; the United Nations said Monday of an operation aimed at preventing a damaging Red Sea spill. The 47-year-old FSO Safer, long used as a floating storage platform and now abandoned off the Houthi-held Yemeni port of Hodeida, has not been serviced since the Arabian Peninsula country plunged into civil war more than eight years ago. 
  2. Launch of Sixth Russian-Gulf Strategic Dialogue in Moscow (Elaph). On Monday, the activities of the Sixth Strategic Dialogue between the GCC and Russia kicked off in Moscow.  At the outset of the meeting, in which the foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council participated, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov affirmed that Russia and the GCC countries have all the capabilities to develop cooperation on a strategic and methodical basis. Lavrov declared, “Russian President Vladimir Putin is keen on communication and cooperation with the Gulf states.”
  3. Kuwait’s Draft 2023-2024 Budget Includes $22.8B Deficit (An Nahar). A Kuwaiti newspaper quoted a member of parliament today, Monday, that Kuwait’s draft budget for the fiscal year 2023-2024 estimates a deficit of 6.8 billion dinars ($22.2 billion) on lower oil prices and production. Al-Dustour newspaper stated, in a report published by the National Assembly (Parliament) account on Twitter, quoting Representative Osama Al-Zaid saying that the draft budget for the year that began on the first of April, in which oil revenues amounted to 17 billion dinars, a decrease of 19.5 percent from the budget. previous.

July 12, 2023

  1. Saudi Arabia Hosts Turkish Economic Delegation ahead of Erdogan Visit (Al Khaleej Online). The Saudi Minister of Municipal, Rural Affairs, and Housing, Majid Al-Hogail, held talks in Ankara on strengthening relations between the two countries. At the same time, a high-ranking Turkish economic delegation will head to the Kingdom tomorrow, Wednesday, before an expected visit by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

July 13, 2023

  1. 16 cooperation agreements crown the Turkish-Saudi Business Forum (Al Khaleej Online). Turkish Trade Minister Omar Polat revealed that the volume of foreign trade between his country and Saudi Arabia amounted to $3.4 billion in the first half of this year. In addition, Turkish and Saudi companies signed 16 cooperation agreements in various fields.This occurred during the Turkish-Saudi Business Forum, held at the Turkish Foreign Economic Relations Council (DEIK) headquarters in Istanbul today.
  2. Saudi “Narcotics Control” Seized 1.8 Million Narcotic Pills in Underground Stores (Al Sharq Al Awsat). The official spokesman for the General Directorate for Drug Control, Major Marwan Al-Hazmi, announced that the security follow-up of drug smuggling networks targeting the security of the Kingdom and its youth resulted in the seizure of 1,882,198 tablets of amphetamine hidden in secret underground storage inside a farm in the city of Sakaka in Al-Jouf region and the arrest of four Yemeni residents and three Saudi citizens. 

July 14, 2023

  1. Violent Protests Erupt in Yemen as Rial Hits Record Low (Arab News). Protests erupted in many Yemeni cities controlled by the internationally recognized government on Wednesday, as the Yemeni rial fell to a new low. The rial sank to 1,500 per dollar in Aden and other cities, plummeting from the May figure of 1,300 and ending months of stability. Angry demonstrators blocked key roads and set tires on fire in Aden and Al-Mukalla, while businesses, exchange firms and shops closed their doors in protest at the currency’s depreciation. Local trade unions and social media users have called for widespread protests and civil disobedience in government-controlled areas until the Yemeni government intervenes.
  2. Kuwait and Britain are Discussing Strengthening Cooperation in the Field of Investment (Kl Youm). Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Salem Al-Abdullah discussed with British Investment Minister Dominic Johnson the strengthening of relations between the two countries in various vital financial and investment sectors. And according to what was reported by Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) on Wednesday, the two ministers’ meeting came within the framework of the official visit Johnson and his accompanying delegation are making to Kuwait.
  3. Minister: France Strengthens Trade Relations With the UAE and Qatar (Riyad Herald). Trade relations between France and Gulf Arab states, notably Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, are expanding yearly, the French Minister of Trade told AFP on Thursday, hailing the deepening partnership as “good news.” During a visit to the UAE, Olivier Pechet said French-Emirati trade relations total more than 7 billion euros annually, up from 6 billion euros before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic

July 17, 2023

Hidden in “Cheese and Thyme” Boxes…Saudi Arabia Thwarts The Smuggling of 130,000 Captagon Tablets (Al Khaleej Online). The Saudi Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority announced that it thwarted an attempt to smuggle 130,635 Captagon pills found hidden in a vehicle coming to the Kingdom through the Haditha border crossing with Jordan. And the authority stated that, when inspecting one of the vehicles coming through the Haditha port, “Captagon” pills were found hidden in traditional Lebanese cheese balls covered in thyme.

Saudi Arabia and Japan Sign 26 Agreements and Joint Memorandums (Al Mawqea Post). On Sunday, Saudi Arabia and Japan signed 26 joint agreements and memorandums of understanding in various fields ranging from renewable energy, space, technology, and artificial intelligence.This came on the sidelines of a visit by a Japanese economic and political delegation headed by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to Saudi Arabia.Saudi Investment Minister Khalid Al-Falih said that the memorandums of understanding and agreements “will strengthen economic relations between the two countries and expand the circle of trade partnership between two major poles (Tokyo and Riyadh).

‘Risk Is High’: Ship Arrives to Pump Oil from Yemen Tanker (AFP). A UN-owned ship arrived off war-torn Yemen on Sunday for a risky operation to pump more than a million barrels of oil from a decaying tanker and prevent a catastrophic spill. After years of tense diplomacy between the United Nations, Yemen’s Huthi rebels, and the internationally recognized government, the Nautica entered Yemeni waters at midday and was expected to moor soon alongside the FSO Safer, a rusting super-tanker in the Red Sea. The delicate operation to transfer 1.14 million barrels of Marib light crude to the Nautica, bought by the United Nations for the operation, is expected to begin towards the end of the coming week. Despite stringent safety checks, concerns remain about a possible spill or an explosion. The Safer carries four times as much oil as the Exxon Valdez, which ran aground off Alaska in 1989.

July 18, 2023

  1.  Saudi Arabia Backs Interpol with One Million Euros in Technological Support (Al Khaleej Online). Colonel Abdul Malik bin Ibrahim Al Suqiyyah, the representative of the Saudi Ministry of Interior and Director General of the International Police, signed a draft agreement with Interpol, committing one million euros as a voluntary contribution to bolster the organization’s technological capabilities. 
  2. The UAE & Japan Ink 23 Economic Agreements (Sky News Economics). During the UAE-Japanese Business Forum in Abu Dhabi, the UAE and Japan signed 23 agreements and memorandums of understanding to enhance their economic, trade, and investment relations. The areas of collaboration encompass trade and investment, energy, renewable energy, industry, advanced technology, artificial intelligence, space, health, transportation, shipping, environment, and the circular economy.

July 19, 2023

  1. Saudi Arabia Hosts the Gulf Summit with Central Asian Countries (Al Sharq Al Awsat). The first summit between the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council and the five Central Asian countries (Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan) starts on Wednesday in the city of Jeddah (western Saudi Arabia). The Uzbek Deputy Foreign Minister Bahramjan Alaev said the summit represents a new form of interregional cooperation between two important regions.

July 20, 2023

  1. Gulf Summit Wraps Up with Central Asian Countries, Fostering Economic Cooperation (Al Khaleej Online). The closing statement of the Gulf Summit with Central Asian countries, held in Jeddah, emphasized the importance of bolstering economic cooperation, particularly in the trade sector, and fostering joint investment. 
  2. The Netherlands Lifts Arms Embargo on Türkiye, UAE, and Saudi Arabia (Middle East Eye). The Dutch government changed its policy after Turkish support for Sweden’s membership in NATO, with Saudi Arabia and the UAE also benefiting. 

July 21, 2023

  1. Saudi Arabia Summons Swedish Embassy’s Charge d’Affairs, Condemns Permits for Quran Desecration (Al Nahar). The Saudi Foreign Ministry takes a decisive stance, summoning the Charge d’Affairs of the Swedish Embassy to protest the repeated and irresponsible actions of granting extremists official permits to burn and desecrate copies of the Quran. The Kingdom strongly condemns these disgraceful acts and calls upon the Swedish government to take immediate and necessary measures to halt such behavior.
  2. UAE Achieves Milestone in Carbon Capture Technology with First Well Drilled for Carbon Dioxide Sequestration (Al Nahar). The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, ADNOC, announces a groundbreaking achievement with the completion of the first well in the world designed for injecting and sequestering carbon dioxide in the carbonic aquifer, showcasing the UAE’s dedication to carbon capture technology. 

July 25, 2023

  1.  Iran: We Welcome the Mediation of Qatar and Oman, and Our Relationship With The Gulf is Positive (Al Khaleej Online). The Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs praised the relations that bind Tehran with the Arab Gulf states, welcoming the efforts of Qatar and the Sultanate of Oman to mediate between the parties to the Iranian nuclear agreement. 
  2. Kuwait Begins Placing Gulf and International Terrorism Lists in Its Ports (Kl Youm). A Kuwaiti newspaper said that the authorities in the country began to put “Gulf and international terrorist lists” within the database of border crossings in Kuwait. The local newspaper “Al-Qabas” quoted sources in the Ministry of the Interior as saying that, within the framework of measures aimed at consolidating security, “the ministry moved internationally to protect Kuwait from the dangers of terrorism, organized crime and drugs by taking this step, in addition to regional and international coordination to pursue those wanted and convicted of crimes, according to security agreements.”

July 26, 2023

  1. Saudi Arabia Establishes International Center for Ethics of Artificial Intelligence (Al Khaleej). The Council of Ministers headed by Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince and Prime Minister, approved the establishment of the International Center for Research and Ethics of Artificial Intelligence. This decision comes in light of international warnings of the danger of artificial intelligence and its threat to humanity due to its negative and immoral uses.

July 27, 2023

  1.  Saudi F-15 Crashed, Killing Its Crew (Zaman Al Wasel). The Fighter jet crashed during a training exercise near the King Khaled Air Base in Khamis Mushait, 815 Km southwest of Riyadh. 
  2.  United Arab Emirates Opens ‘Aid Coordination’ Office in Damascus (New Arab). The UAE opened an “aid coordination office” in Damascus, Syria, to boost its humanitarian efforts. The office’s inauguration was attended by the UAE Assistant Foreign Minister for Development and International Organisations and representatives from the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Local Administration and Environment. 

July 28, 2023

  1.  Kuwait to Commence Dorra Field Exploration Amid Border Demarcation Delay (Sky News). Kuwaiti Oil Minister Saad Al-Barrak stated that Kuwait plans to commence exploration and production activities in the Dorra gas field without waiting for the border demarcation with Iran. Al-Barrak had previously asserted Kuwait and Saudi Arabia’s “exclusive right” to the Dorra gas field in the Gulf and urged Iran to initiate the demarcation of its maritime borders to validate its claims in the area. 
  2. Kuwaiti Authorities Foil Smuggling of One Million Captagon Pills  (Al Sharq Al Awsat). The attempt was made by three accomplices of Arab nationality, who aimed to bring the illegal drugs into the country through the Shuwaikh port, cleverly concealed within a container carrying cement building materials. The Ministry’s statement explained that the operation was in cooperation with the State of Qatar.

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