Region

Gulf and Red Sea Regions

Stories under this heading cover the Gulf and the Red Sea regions, including the Arabian Peninsula, Iran and the countries bordering the Red Sea.

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Kazakhstan works to expand co-operation with Gulf countries during Tokayev's visit to Saudi Arabia

Kazakhstan works to expand co-operation with Gulf countries during Tokayev's visit to Saudi Arabia

Kazakh president, Kassym Jomart Tokayev, on Sunday (24 July) concluded an official visit to Saudi Arabia during which he sought to strengthen relations with the Kingdom and other Gulf countries Saudi Arabia and Kazakhstan will enhance mutual trade and investment in several sectors, according to a joint statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency at the end of the visit. This cooperation includes areas related to petrochemicals, renewable energy, mining, agriculture, tourism, transport and logistics. Other agreements cover information technology, digital transformation, financial services and space, SPA reported. During his visit President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev held wide-ranging talks with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The two countries signed several agreements and memoranda of cooperation in sports, media, medicine and finance. The also agreed to enhance cooperation in higher education, research and innovation.

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Editor's choice
News
Kazakhstan works to expand co-operation with Gulf countries during Tokayev's visit to Saudi Arabia

Kazakhstan works to expand co-operation with Gulf countries during Tokayev's visit to Saudi Arabia

Kazakh president, Kassym Jomart Tokayev, on Sunday (24 July) concluded an official visit to Saudi Arabia during which he sought to strengthen relations with the Kingdom and other Gulf countries Saudi Arabia and Kazakhstan will enhance mutual trade and investment in several sectors, according to a joint statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency at the end of the visit. This cooperation includes areas related to petrochemicals, renewable energy, mining, agriculture, tourism, transport and logistics. Other agreements cover information technology, digital transformation, financial services and space, SPA reported. During his visit President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev held wide-ranging talks with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The two countries signed several agreements and memoranda of cooperation in sports, media, medicine and finance. The also agreed to enhance cooperation in higher education, research and innovation.
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Biden's visit to Saudi Arabia opens a new era in relations

Biden's visit to Saudi Arabia opens a new era in relations

It is not a coincidence that on his first trip to the Middle East since becoming US president, Joe Biden is visiting Saudi Arabia. Together with relations with Israel, relations with the Kingdom have been the cornerstone of US policy in the region. Over the last two years these relations were tested with trust between the two sides falling to its lowest level for decades. The visit appears to have succeeded in bringing relations back to a qualitatively high level. On Friday (15 July) Biden met King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. On Saturday he is due to meet with other Arab leaders at a summit that will bring together the leaders of the sic GCC countries, together with Egypt, Jordan and Iraq. A joint communique published by the Saudi Press Agency early on Saturday emphasised that the “US-Saudi partnership has been a cornerstone of regional security over decades, and affirmed that the two countries share a vision of a more secure, stable, and prosperous region, interconnected with the world,”  The document highlighted various areas of cooperation from energy security to space exploration. In the area of defense, Biden reaffirmed the US’ commitment to Saudi Arabia’s security and territorial defense, and “facilitating the Kingdom’s ability to obtain necessary capabilities to defend its people and territory against external threats” The statement said that US troops will depart from Tiran Island paving the way for it to be developed. Additionally, overflights of the Kingdom’s airspace was expanded on Friday, which the US welcomed.
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Opinion
Biden's visit to Saudi Arabia will open a new era in relations with the Middle East

Biden's visit to Saudi Arabia will open a new era in relations with the Middle East

The president of the United States, Joe Biden, will this week visit the Middle East for what promises to be the launch of a new era in US relations with the region. Commonspace.eu will be following the visit and reporting on its importance. Late on Saturday, President Biden published an article on the Washington Post, outlining the reasons for his visit, and why it is so important. We reproduce it here in full. In the article, Biden argues that a more secure and integrated Middle East benefits Americans in many ways. "Its waterways are essential to global trade and the supply chains we rely on. Its energy resources are vital for mitigating the impact on global supplies of Russia’s war in Ukraine." The president states "We have to counter Russia’s aggression, put ourselves in the best possible position to outcompete China, and work for greater stability in a consequential region of the world. To do these things, we have to engage directly with countries that can impact those outcomes. Saudi Arabia is one of them, and when I meet with Saudi leaders on Friday, my aim will be to strengthen a strategic partnership going forward that’s based on mutual interests and responsibilities, while also holding true to fundamental American values."
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News
Is the Negev Forum about to become something bigger?

Is the Negev Forum about to become something bigger?

On 27–28 March 2022 in Sde Boker, Israel hosted the foreign ministers of four Arab states – Bahrain, UAE, Egypt and Morocco, as well as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken for an unusual summit aimed at putting together a united front of countries concerned with Iran’s destabilising role in the Middle East. By all accounts the meeting appeared to be hastily prepared, and lacking proper focus. A lot of the serious fault-lines of the region emerged in the meeting too, including different perspectives on the Palestinian question and relations with Russia. But the participants did agree that they want to turn their meeting into a permanent process, and so the creation of the Negev Forum was announced. Now, it seems, the six countries have taken the first step to making this platform a regional player. On Monday (27 June) senior officials from the foreign ministries of Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States held the inaugural meeting of the Negev Forum Steering Committee in Manama, Bahrain. The Committee’s main objective is to further coordinate collective efforts and advance a common vision for the region. In this context, they outlined a framework document for the Negev Forum, setting out the objectives of the Forum, and the working methods of its four-part structure: the Foreign Ministers’ Ministerial, the Presidency, the Steering Committee, and the Working Groups.
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The great Saudi-Turkish restart

The great Saudi-Turkish restart

After years of dispute during which relations fell to a historical low, Turkey and Saudi Arabia on Wednesday sealed a restart in their relations during a state visit to Turkey by the Kingdom's Crown Prince, Mohamed bin Salman. The turquoise carpet was laid out at the presidential palace in Ankara as the Crown prince arrived to be greeted by Turkey's president, Recip Tayip Erdogan. The two men held discussions on bilateral relations and regional and international issues. But this visit was mainly about symbolism. The substance had already been sorted over weeks and months of discussions involving senior officials from the two countries. President Erdogan was himself in Saudi Arabia only a month ago. But the visit of Mohammad bin Salman to Ankara had huge symbolic significance and it marked the final act in a process that saw the two countries draw back from years of animosity, rooted mainly in different perspectives on the future of the Middle East and the broader Islamic world. Both countries see themselves as leaders in the region, as well as a beacon for Muslims worldwide. Prior to visiting Turkey, the Saudi Crown Prince also visited Egypt and Jordan. In a few weeks time he will welcome in Riyadh US President Joe Biden, in a final act that will see the complete rehabilitation of the heir to the Saudi throne who had been caught in international controversy.
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Commentary
US-Saudi Relations remain the bedrock for Gulf Security

US-Saudi Relations remain the bedrock for Gulf Security

US President Joe Biden will visit Saudi Arabia on July 15 and 16 upon the invitation of King Salman. The US president will meet with the king and his Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman “to discuss areas of bilateral cooperation as well as joint efforts to address regional and global challenges.” A statement from the White House said that Biden will also attend a Summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council plus Egypt, Iraq and Jordan while in the Kingdom. “The President appreciates King Salman’s leadership and his invitation. He looks forward to this important visit to Saudi Arabia, which has been a strategic partner of the United States for nearly eight decades,” the statement read. In this commentary the state of relations between the United States and Saudi Arabia is discussed in the light of tensions between the two sides over the last years.  “Now, it appears that the two sides are ready to make up. Biden will travel to Riyadh next month, and US officials have been in and out of the Saudi capital in recent weeks, softening the ground and preparing for the visit. Biden is right in working towards a reset. US-Saudi relations remain the bedrock for Gulf security.” It adds that “when Joe Biden visits Riyadh next month he has his work cut out for him. It will be a hugely important visit to a country where personalities still count. Both sides appear ready to put the difficult last few years in their relationship behind them. This is good for both, as well as for the rest of the world.”