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Ministerial grillings: The government survived its latest brush with the National Assembly, following a marathon grilling session by MPs on 30 April of prime minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, oil, electricity and water minister Bakheer Al-Rashidi and social affairs and labour minister Hind Al-Sabeeh. The questioning was followed by votes of no-confidence in Al-Rashidi and Al-Sabeeh on 10 May which they survived; Sheikh Jaber managed to avoid a vote as MPs had failed to reach the required ten votes to table it.

Kuwait
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Abu Dhabi sent a formidable delegation to pay respects following the death of Sultan Qaboos Bin Said Al-Said, headed by United Arab Emirates Armed Forces deputy supreme commander and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed (MBZ), and his brothers Sheikhs Hazza, Saif, Tahnoun and Mansour Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan. Mansour Bin Zayed is believed to have particular responsibilities for Oman. In parallel, ‘Mother of the UAE’ Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak visited newly installed Sultan Haitham Bin Tariq’s wife Sayyida Ahad Bint Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Busaidiyah.

Oman | United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Issue 961 - 09 January 2014

British visa woes in Saudi

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It seems that British business has been having trouble getting visas to Saudi Arabia. Two UK trade missions in the autumn had to be delayed because of a change in visa regulations, which has added new layers to the application process.The Department of Trade and Industry (UKTI) told GSN its trade mission was postponed while still in the planning stage because of changes in rules regarding visas for trade missions. “A new trade delegation is due to visit the country in February 2014,” a spokesman said.

Saudi Arabia
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Saudi Arabia National Guard commander Prince Miteb Bin Abdullah gave a late February interview to Okaz/Saudi Gazette in which he described his father’s daily routine, which includes waking for the Fajr prayer, reading the Quran, sleeping again and then performing the Dhuhr prayer.

Saudi Arabia
Issue 863 - 24 October 2009

Carriers tap ECA money

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The UAE’s two leading airlines have tapped nearly $650m in bond and debt facilities backed by export credit agencies (ECAs), reflecting the attractiveness of long-term ECA support at a time when commercial debt remains scarce and highly priced.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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Spanish sporting giant Real Madrid (RM)’s president Ramon Calderón has been in talks with Ajman Crown Prince Sheikh Ammar Bin Humaid Al-Nuaimi with the idea of training talented young Emirati footballers in Spain, as well as opening RM football schools in the UAE.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Issue 1074 - 07 February 2019

Iran: Crude exchange fails again

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A plan by National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) to sell up to 1m barrels (bbls) of oil on a domestic exchange flopped on 4 February, when no offers were made for the crude.

Iran
Issue 1094 - 13 December 2019

GCC security academy by 2023

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The Gulf Co-operation Council is moving forward with setting up a long-planned Gulf Academy for Strategic and Security Studies, to be funded equally by the six member states from 2022 onwards. The academy is due to start offering courses from the 2023/24 academic year, according to the final communiqué issued at the end of the 40th GCC Supreme Council in Riyadh on 10 December

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s latest Article IV consultation for Oman concluded with a polite restatement of the macroeconomic problems confronting the sultanate, and the recommendation that further fiscal reform is essential, amid continuing pressure on macroeconomic balances from the soft oil price and a tendency towards overspending by the government, to buy social peace. The overall fiscal deficit is projected at 14.8% of GDP in 2015 and seems set to rise further unless the government takes urgent remedial action.

Oman
Issue 1054 - 22 February 2018

5 March-3 June: The Louvre in Tehran

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Having finally opened in Abu Dhabi, the Louvre is taking French cultural diplomacy to another level with a major exhibition opening at the National Museum of Iran in Tehran. The Louvre in Tehran will include 50 works drawn from the Paris museum’s collection and from the Musée Eugène Delacroix; it is sponsored by car-maker Renault and Fondation Total. The exhibition, themed around the Louvre’s development since 1793, will include Greek, Roman and Persian artefacts.

Iran
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UAE joint defence committee with US; Mayall tour of UAE and Yemen; Yemeni coastguard base on Miyoun Island

Yemen | United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Free

The much-publicised initiative for Morocco and Jordan to join the Gulf Co-operation Council surprised many when it was announced by new GCC secretary-general Abdelatif Al-Zayani, but it was not a new suggestion – it was proposed some years ago but quietly dropped – and has a political and economic logic for most of those involved.

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Government ministries and entities will in future be required to certify that consultancy services cannot be supplied by Saudi providers before signing contracts with foreign firms, according to a royal decree published on 7 September.In 2018, the General Audit Bureau estimated foreign consulting firms undertook business worth $3.2bn in the kingdom, up 9% on the previous year largely because of the growth in work related to the healthcare sector and to Vision 2030, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s national strategic plan.

Saudi Arabia
Issue 1057 - 17 April 2018

Saudi Arabia: US approves $2.4bn deals

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A number of large defence contracts were unveiled between Saudi Arabia and the United States, during the visit of Crown Prince and defence minister Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) in late March/early April – a noted contrast to the lack of deal making during his visit to the UK earlier in March, where the only development was a commitment to continue discussing an order for Typhoon jets. The American deals totalled close to $2.4bn and came in two batches. The largest element was a $1.3bn order for howitzers announced by the State Department on 5 April.

Saudi Arabia
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The politics were long in the making before the crisis erupted between Qatar and three major Gulf Co-operation Council partners turned adversaries – Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE (the ‘GCC-3’) – plus Egypt and other allies from the wider Muslim world, but several of the immediate consequences emerging from the conflict are nevertheless unexpected.

Saudi Arabia