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Issue 1012 - 01 April 2016

King Salman: Congressional audience

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King Salman Bin Abdelaziz on 21 March received a US congressional delegation headed by Senator Benjamin Cardin (Democrat-Maryland). Other members included Senators Edward Markey (D-Massachusetts), Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) and Cory Gardner (Republican-Colorado). This comes ahead of President Barack Obama’s planned visit to the kingdom in April (see Politics). The royal audience was attended by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef, state minister Musaid Al-Aiban, culture minister Adel Altoraifi, foreign affairs and minister Adel Al-Jubair. Defence minister and second deputy premier Prince Mohammed Bin Salman separately met with the delegation.

Saudi Arabia
Issue 965 - 06 March 2014

UAE: MBZ in Tokyo

Subscriber

Hot on the heels of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Salman, Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed (MBZ) and a high-ranking delegation undertook a two-day official visit to Japan on 25-26 February, meeting Emperor Akihito, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and a number of other senior officials. He was greeted at Tokyo’s Haneda airport by Crown Prince Naruhito. While in Japan, he also met the Japanese minister of economy, trade and industry Toshimitsu Motegi. MBZ’s delegation included the chief of his court, Sheikh Hamed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, foreign minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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Senior military figures in Pakistan say they are increasingly worried that Middle East conflicts, stoked by the regional rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia, could exacerbate sectarian rifts within Pakistan. Behind the scenes, they have been calling for Pakistani political leaders to do more to try and mediate between Riyadh and Tehran, saying that Pakistan needs to convince Tehran that its efforts to encircle the Gulf Arab countries with Shia-dominated regimes will ultimately prove counter-productive, and to convince Riyadh that its export of radical Wahhabist ideology is similarly problematic.

Iran | Saudi Arabia
Issue 887 - 16 October 2010

New law to tackle bribery

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The Serious Fraud Office is to crack down on companies that offer inducements or ‘kickbacks’ to foreign governments in return for preferential treatment. The move is a result of a new Bribery Act drawn up by the former Labour government after the SFO abandoned an enquiry into BAE Systems’ £43bn Al-Yamamah arms deals with Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia
Issue 861 - 26 September 2009

Ghaya Bint Sultan Death

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Ras Al-Khaimah ruler’s court in mid-September announced the death of Sheikha Ghaya Bint Sultan Bin Salem Al-Qasimi

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Issue 933 - 12 October 2012

Al-Sultan sell up in Morocco

Subscriber

The family of the late Crown Prince Sultan Bin Abdelaziz are selling palaces and other assets in Morocco, as they resolve inheritance issues and reorient the Al-Sultan’s interests. Prince Sultan spent long periods in his Agadir palace before his death on 22 October 2011

Saudi Arabia
Subscriber

Alwaleed Bin Talal is launching a 24-hour news channel with the same talk of ‘press freedom’ that Al-Jazeera pioneered but with more potential political pitfalls than the Qatari-owned channel faced. The station will probably be based in Bahrain or Dubai, but Alwaleed is giving highest priority to building an audience in his national market

Saudi Arabia
Subscriber

There is renewed speculation that the UAE’s two main airlines – and flagships for their respective emirates – Emirates and Etihad Airways may merge, after it emerged that the expensively assembled Abu Dhabi-based carrier has been offering its pilots the opportunity to move to Dubai-based Emirates for two years on secondment. Loss-making Etihad is in the midst of a restructuring effort that has seen it abandon its strategy of investments in struggling airlines in Europe and Asia, drop unprofitable routes, scale back its fleet and replace its management team.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Issue 976 - 05 September 2014

Qatar: Money For Gaza

Free

Qatar has promised to give $1,000 to those in Gaza whose properties have been destroyed by Israeli’s Operation Protective Edge, according to the Palestinian Safa news agency. On 16 August, Safa quoted deputy minister of social affairs Omar Al-Darbi as saying the emergency funds from the Qatari committee for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip would be distributed in the following two days.

Qatar
Issue 978 - 03 October 2014

Qatar: Barclays probe

Subscriber

Britain’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has served Section 2 notices on former board members of Barclays, as part of its probe into the bank’s dealings with Qatar, according to a 24 September report in the Financial Times (FT). Section 2 notices require a person to provide information, whether through interviews, producing material, or having premises searched, and are usually given to people who have a duty of confidence to their clients. The SFO is investigating Barclays’ capital raising from Qatari investors in 2008, and has been struggling with accessing evidence.

Qatar
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European powers finally launched a watered-down version of a new payments system with Iran on 31 January, after months of delay. Designed to bypass United States sanctions on Tehran, the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (Instex) has been developed by France, Germany and the UK and has, initially at least, been limited to dealing with areas of trade not subject to US sanctions, such as food, medical devices and pharmaceuticals. Its scope may be expanded to cover more contentious good and other trading partners in the future.

Iran
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Interior minister Prince Abdelaziz Bin Saud Bin Naif Al-Saud has been on a short tour of south-east Asian nations. He arrived in Malaysia on 13 March and held talks with defence minister Hishammuddin Hussein, interior minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and foreign affairs minister Anifah Aman the following day. On 15 March he met Prime Minister Mohammed Najib Tun Abdul Razzaq and House of Representatives speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia.

Saudi Arabia
Subscriber

The government is scrambling to deal with the fallout from the death of two trainee officers, Hadib Al-Swarij and Falih Al-Azmi, at Ali Al-Sabah Military Academy on 29 August. Local reports said the two men died after being forced to stand outside in the summer heat while carrying heavy weights and being denied water. A number of other cadets are reported to be in a poor condition.

Kuwait
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The UK parliament’s Committee on Arms Export Controls has launched an inquiry into the sale of weapons to the Gulf amid growing public unease about London’s support for the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen. Among other topics the committee will examine is whether UK arms have been used by Saudi forces in Yemen and whether any export licence criteria have been broken.

Saudi Arabia
Free

Sultan Qaboos Bin Said Al-Saeed’s three-day official visit to Iran has cemented decades of steady relations between the troubled Islamic Republic and Oman, for long seen as a moderate and sensible state whose good offices are valued by international partners. The visit, the Sultan’s first since Shah Reza Pahlavi’s fall in 1979, has highlighted the importance that Muscat attributes to maintaining steady relations with its large and powerful neighbour.

Iran | Oman