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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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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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Pope Francis is to visit the UAE on 3-5 February in the latest sign of how some Gulf countries are gradually stepping up their interactions with other world religions. The visit is being made at the invitation of Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and UAE Armed Forces deputy supreme commander Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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Back from Berlin on 13 June, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and UAE Armed Forces deputy supreme commander Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan (MBZ) received the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (YDPA – Supreme King of Malaysia) Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah. Following a 21-gun salute, the two held talks at Qasr Al-Watan on how to boost bilateral ties. The YDPA paid a de rigueur visit to Wahat Al-Karama, the UAE’s national monument to fallen soldiers, and also had a meeting with presidential affairs minister Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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Tehran has been making clear its displeasure with Poland for planning to co-host an anti-Iran meeting with the United States on 13-14 February in Warsaw. US secretary of state Mike Pompeo announced the event in an interview with Fox News on 11 January, saying it would be “a global ministerial on Middle East peace and freedom and stability. We’ll bring together dozens of countries from all around the world… an important element of making sure that Iran is not a destabilising influence.”

Iran
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Pressure is growing on Saudi Arabia to decide whether the Hajj can go ahead in late July. Umrah pilgrimages have been suspended since 27 February. In late March Hajj and Umrah minister Mohammed Saleh Bin Taher Banten called on pilgrims to wait until more was known about Covid-19 before confirming Hajj travel plans.

Saudi Arabia
Issue 1084 - 05 July 2019

UAE appoints new UK ambassador

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Mansoor Abulhoul, a member of the family that owns the Dubai-based Magrudy’s retail business, has replaced Sulaiman Almazroui as the UAE’s ambassador in London.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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The Bahrain authorities have spent close to $9m with at least 12 firms to lobby branches of the United States government as well as US corporations, media and the general public over the past decade, according to GSN analysis of filings lodged under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (Fara) since January 2010.Much of the focus of the activity is on general lobbying and public relations, but a number of contracts underline some of the particular policy priorities and challenges Manama has been dealing with over this time.

Bahrain
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An employee at JFK airport in New York has been charged with taking bribes from Qatar and other unnamed governments in return for allowing them to park government jets overnight at the airport. Marlene Mizzi, an assistant airport duty supervisor at JFK until being suspended earlier this year, faces up to four years in jail if convicted.

Qatar
Issue 1070 - 29 November 2018

UAE: Abdullah Bin Zayed’s Albanian talks

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Foreign affairs and international cooperation minister Abdullah Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan held a meeting with his Albanian counterpart Ditmir Bushati in Abu Dhabi on 17 November. The two men discussed bilateral ties and, according to the official readout from the UAE, “exchanged views on regional and international developments of mutual concern”. They also signed a memorandum of understanding on political consultation between the two countries.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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Tehran has been pushing Pakistan to find 12 border guards kidnapped near the border in Sistan and Baluchestan province on 15 October. The men were members of the Basij militia and Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). IRGC ground forces commander Brigadier General Mohammad Pakpour arrived in Islamabad on 22 October to discuss with Pakistani authorities what actions were being taken to secure the release of the men.

Iran
Issue 1097 - 06 February 2020

UAE: $2bn aid package for Nouakchott

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The UAE says it will provide $2bn for a series of investment and development projects in Mauritania, along with a soft loan (it is not clear if the loan is included in the headline figure, or will form a separate line of assistance). The package was announced following talks on 2 February between Mauritanian President Mohammed Ould Cheikh El Ghazouani and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and UAE Armed Forces deputy supreme commander Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan at the Presidential Palace in Abu Dhabi.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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Issa Abdullah Al-Nuaimi has been appointed as the UAE’s first resident ambassador to Georgia, presenting his credentials to President Girogi Margvelashvili in mid-September. His appointment comes after a period of some difficulty between the two countries.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Issue 1084 - 05 July 2019

Iraq: President visits UK

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Recently elected President Barham Salih began a three-day visit to the UK on 25 June. His programme included an audience with Queen Elizabeth II and bilateral meetings with Prime Minister Theresa May and foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt. The delegation – including foreign minister Mohammed Ali Al-Hakim and health minister Aladin Alwan – were also offered a dinner at Lancaster House and engagements at Parliament.

Iraq
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Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s presidential campaign is severely restricting the contacts staffers and volunteers maintain with foreign officials, “to avoid even the perception of outside interference with this year’s election,” the Politico website reported on 23 June. Senior Biden adviser Antony Blinken said this was due to the “poisonous environment” created by President Donald Trump. However, Politico observed “it could be a tough policy to enforce given that the Biden campaign’s foreign policy apparatus has expanded to more than 1,000 people and that foreign governments are increasingly eager to establish connections with the campaign.”