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Issue 1003 - 29 October 2015

Oman: Syrian mediation

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Talks in Damascus on 26 October have underlined Oman’s status as the most practised of Gulf Co-operation Council states in acting as a back channel and mediator. Sultan Qaboos’ veteran aide, foreign minister Yusuf Bin Alawi, held talks with President Bashar Al-Assad, which Syrian state news agency Sana said “discussed ideas that have been put forward to address the Syrian crisis”. It followed Assad’s visit to Moscow.

Oman
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Another of Sultan Haitham Bin Tariq Al-Said’s early March decrees elevated Sayyid Mansoor Bin Majid Bin Taimur Al-Said to advisor to the sultan with the rank of minister. He is a grandson of Sultan Taimur (1913-31) and had been a long-running advisor to culture minister Haitham.

Oman
Issue 854 - 30 May 2009

SHEIKHA BUDOOR: Appointment

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Sharjah Ruler Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al-Qasimi’s prominent daughter Sheikha Budoor has been appointed chair of the UAE Publishers Association’s first board of directors.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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The three-year, slow-burning conflict in Bahrain remains a minor headache to most international governments, in a region full of thumping migraines. But as l’affaire Malinowksi reminded us this month, for all the West’s efforts to coax the Al-Khalifa into submission with the vocabulary of “longstanding bilateral relationships” and “strong partnerships”, the problem of Bahrain will not fade away.

Bahrain
Issue 1014 - 07 May 2016

Kuwait: PM’s Asian tour

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Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah met Bangladesh President Mohammed Abdul Hamid at the presidential palace in Dhaka on 4 May. The PM handed him a message from Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah inviting Abdul Hamid to visit Kuwait. Jaber was to go on to Vietnam for a two-day official visit that coincides with the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries. The PM’s Asian trip also includes South Korea and Japan.

Kuwait
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In any week Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani is photographed presiding over events from football finals to conflict negotiations. With a beaming smile he glad-hands power-brokers and ordinary citizens, the very model of a younger generation Gulf Co-operation Council leader – his age alone breaking a mould of gerontocracy that several senior GCC heads hardly appreciated when he took over from the now ‘Father Emir’, Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, in June 2013. Tamim is reputed for a canny understanding of his people and the peninsula’s potential. But in many respects he remains an enigma, with his style of rule the subject of speculation among the expensively assembled guests who attended the 21-23 May Qatar Forum. (GSN should disclose they included its editor.)

Qatar
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Asir governor Prince Faisal, now the only prominent son of King Khalid, has chaired the first meeting of the Asir Region Youth Council. Following protests by students at King Khalid University in Abha in March, he promised that a council made up of 40 male and female youths would be formed.

Saudi Arabia
Issue 986 - 05 February 2015

Saudi Arabia: Government List

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A new list of Council Ministers, and Ministers of State announced as part of King Salman’s first government.

Saudi Arabia
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King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa travelled to the UAE on 26 September on what the UAE state news agency described as a “private visit”.

Bahrain
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US-based Bechtel has been awarded a contract to help set up and operate the National Project Management Organisation (NPMO), intended to support government agencies in delivering complex infrastructure projects. NPMO’s establishment is seen as a key part of efforts to boost the projects market’s efficiency. Two other US firms, Aecom and Parsons were shortlisted for the contract, according to Dubai-based projects tracker MEED.

Saudi Arabia
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Prime Minister and interior minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Bin Khalifa Al-Thani hosted one of the most influential members of Morocco’s Parti de la Justice et du Développement (PJD)-led government, justice minister Mustapha Ramid, on 13 April. Also involved in meetings were Qatar’s justice minister Hassan Lahdan Al-Mohannadi, attorney-general Ali Bin Fetais Al-Marri and chairman of the Supreme Judicial Council Massoud Mohammed Al-Amri. Among areas of growing co-operation is discussion of Morocco providing judges to serve in Qatari courts.

Qatar
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Prime minister Prince Khalifa Bin Salman Al-Khalifa is to lend his name to a new award for local doctors to recognise their achievements in therapeutic and medical research. The award will be handed out on the first Wednesday in November each year, a day which is also now being designated Bahraini Doctor’s Day.

Bahrain
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Saudi authorities are investigating a preacher for comments about the late Kuwaiti comedy actor Abdulhussain Abdulredha, who died in London on 11 August. Sheikh Ali Al-Rabieei tweeted that believers should not pray for Abdulredha because he was an “Iranian Shiite who died misguided”. English-language Saudi daily Arab News reported that the Ministry of Culture and Information had referred Al-Rabieei to the Copyright Infractions Committee for violating press laws. Al-Rabieei has deleted his tweet and apologised to Kuwaitis.

Kuwait | Saudi Arabia
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A rare strike by Kuwaiti oil workers began on 17 April, with members of the Union of Petroleum and Petrochemical Workers protesting against changes that could lead to cuts in salaries and other benefits (see Politics). It was notable that only Kuwaiti workers went on strike: foreigners showed up for work as usual – which makes sense given the vulnerable position of overseas labourers in Kuwait, as in other GCC economies. The strike highlights the difficulty Gulf governments face in making changes to their bloated public sectors, at a time when they are struggling to deal with growing budget deficits.

Qatar
Issue 1046 - 20 October 2017

Sabah Al-Ahmed: Another regional visit

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Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah arrived in Riyadh on 16 October for “a fraternal visit” to Saudi Arabia, which was linked to efforts to resolve the crisis pitting the GCC-3 and Egypt against Qatar. Sheikh Sabah was welcomed at the airport by Riyadh governor Prince Faisal Bin Bandar Bin Abdelaziz and his deputy Prince Mohammad Bin Abdelrahman Bin Abdelaziz. He then met King Salman Bin Abdelaziz to discuss what official media said were “bilateral relations”.

Kuwait