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A review of gifts given to ministers at the UK’s foreign affairs ministry over the past decade shows that by far the most consistent and generous givers are Middle East governments and, in particular, the Gulf states. Between early 2010, when available records begin, to the most recent filing covering Q1 2020, a total of 36 countries offered presents to British foreign ministers, but the six Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) countries between them accounted for 55% of all the 130 gifts handed over. Saudi Arabia alone was responsible for one-fifth of all the presents.
Issue 1120 - 18 February 2021
Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, United Arab Emirates (UAE)
GSN’s year-end Perspective/Agenda feature provides a look back – and forwards – at key events across the region in 2020-21. It gives an opportunity to update the Risk Grades included with each of our regular Risk management reports. After another year of tragedy, Yemen is effectively a failed state (rated F6, the bottom political and financial grades). Qatar has shown itself to be robust in the face of its neighbours’ boycott, its finances warranting an upgrade to 1, putting it on a par with the UAE. Iraq’s political standoffs and financial woes remain deeply troubling, but the situation is improving rather than deteriorating and the prospect of higher oil prices next year should help further; it has been upgraded from E5↑ to D4↓. Oman’s fiscal challenges continue to mount, prompting a downgrade of its economic rating to 3.
Issue 1116 - 10 December 2020
Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Yemen, Oman, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Iraq, Qatar
Politics, Royals watch, Defence & security, Energy & industry, Finance & business, Diplomatic brief