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Kuwaiti deputy foreign minister Khaled Al-Jarallah has said his government is keeping a close eye about what is said about the country on social media platforms abroad and is prepared to take “all legal actions to retaliate” against anyone defaming Kuwait or its symbols.

Kuwait | Saudi Arabia
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Despite the cooling of relations after 9/11, the Kingdom has worked hard to maintain close security ties to the US, and mutual hostility towards Iran will further deepen the relationship. The death of Crown Prince Sultan, the longstanding defence and aviation minister, marks the end of a remarkable career during which he worked with 13 US defence secretaries.

Saudi Arabia
Issue 1010 - 18 February 2016

Al-Thani hunters still missing from Iraq

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Nine Al-Thanis kidnapped in December while hunting in southern Iraq are still being held, according to a senior member of the Qatari ruling family. The nine were part of a group of 26 people who were on a hunting trip in Al-Muthanna province’s Samawa desert when armed militias attacked their camp in the middle of the night. Some of the group escaped because they were away on a night hunting expedition. Following the kidnap, Al-Muthanna governor Faleh Al-Zayadi banned all Gulf hunting parties from the area.

Iraq | Qatar
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Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and deputy supreme commander of the UAE Armed Forces Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan (MBZ) travelled to Pakistan on 6 January for a meeting with prime minister Imran Khan. He was greeted by Khan and a guard of honour at the Nur Khan Military Airport in Islamabad; the two leaders held official talks the following day at the prime minister’s residence.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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King Salman Bin Abdelaziz held talks with President Mahmoud Abbas of Palestine on 21 December, in the wake of US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and amid ongoing allegations of Saudi meddling in the domestic politics of a number of Levant countries. The king closed out the year by hosting Kuwait’s recently appointed first deputy prime minister and defence minister Sheikh Nassir Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah at Al-Auja Palace on 31 December.

Saudi Arabia
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Egypt’s Finance Minister Youssef Boutros Ghali has been selected as the new chairman of the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC), which sets the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) political direction and overall policy priorities. The chairmanship lasts for a term of up to three years.

Egypt
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Mystery surrounds the whereabouts of 32-year-old Sheikha Latifa Bint Mohammed Al-Maktoum, daughter of the federal Vice President, prime minister and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum (MBR). On 4 March, the American-registered yacht Nostromo was reportedly boarded by an armed group some 50 miles off the coast of India. On board were Sheikha Latifa, US-French duel national Hervé Jaubert, Finnish citizen Tiina Jauhiainen and three others.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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One of the region’s strongest financial systems has weaknesses to address despite its successful management of last month’s mini-crisis.

Kuwait
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Saudi Arabia has again been included on a priority watch list by US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. Washington says this is due to its lax attitude to the protection of intellectual property rights. In a report issued on 30 April, the kingdom was listed among ten priority countries. Among the criticisms levelled at Saudi Arabia are its failure to take action against pirate satellite company BeoutQ, a lack of effective protection for pharmaceutical products and long-standing concerns about counterfeit goods.

Saudi Arabia
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Indonesian energy firm Valco is at the heart of a $1bn investment in two coal-mining firms in a deal that shows Gulf SWFs are still hard at work.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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Concern over the sultanate’s current account and other balances are being reflected in an upturn in sovereign and corporate debt issuance. The most eye-catching deal of the Omani summer was a $3.6bn loan agreed by the government with a group of unnamed Chinese financial institutions. Finalised in July and unveiled in August, the five-year unsecured loan was only marketed to Chinese lenders; it is something of a departure for the sultanate, which has tended to rely on financial aid from rich regional allies such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE, or loans from western lenders.

Oman
Issue 1021 - 09 September 2016

King Salman: Back home

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King Salman returned to the Kingdom in mid-August after several weeks in Morocco. Soon after his arrival he ordered a month’s extra pay for Saudi military and security personnel actively involved in operations in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia
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A report by the Saudi-owned daily Asharq Al-Awsat that the suspected mastermind of the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing had been handed over to Saudi authorities threatens further complications in Riyadh’s relations with Iran and the United States, ahead of congressional votes on the nuclear deal and President Barack Obama’s scheduled 4 September meeting with King Salman Bin Abdelaziz at the White House. Ahmed Al-Mughassil, a senior leader of Iranian-backed Saudi group Hizbollah Al-Hijaz, had been living in Beirut under Lebanese Hizbollah’s protection.

Saudi Arabia
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Moves by JMP members to renegotiate an Aden port deal with Dubai giant DP World could herald further investigations into deals made by outgoing president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Yemen
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On 5 March, Sheikh Nasser Mohammed Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah was re-appointed by his uncle, the emir, to the post of prime minister. He will be tasked with forming his seventh government in five years, despite heavy opposition from several MPs and youth activists

Kuwait