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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The Emirates in mourning following the death of Sheikh Khalifa

The Emirates in mourning following the death of Sheikh Khalifa

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) have started a forty days mourning period after the death was announced yesterday of the country's second president, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan. Khalifa succeeded his father as Ruler of Abu Dhabi and President of the UAE in 2004. However since 2014, following a stroke, he has played only a symbolic role in public life, with most day to day government decisions taken by his heir and brother, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed. Sheikh Khalifa was laid to rest on Saturday (14 May) in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi.  The United Arab Emirates is a federation of seven emirates, each of which still have control over many internal issues. However all defence, foreign policy and security issues are decided at the federal level. The accession of Sheikh Mohammed as president is not automatic, since the rulers of the seven emirates will have to meet in the next thirty days to formally elect the new president. But tradition and real politik has it that the Ruler of Abu Dhabi, by far the richest and the strongest of the seven emirates, gets the position of President.

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Saudi Arabia transfers 4% of Aramco shares to sovereign wealth fund

Saudi Arabia transfers 4% of Aramco shares to sovereign wealth fund

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced the transfer of 4 percent of the Saudi oil giant Aramco’s, shares to the Public Investment Fund, the Saudi sovereign wealth fund. The transferred share are valued up to $80 billion. The move is another step by the Kingdom to diversify the economy and move it away from dependency on oil. 
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Iran negotiations "take a break"

Iran negotiations "take a break"

The talks on the Iran nuclear file in Vienna have stopped for a short break. A statement by the European External Action Service on Friday (28 January) said that "the 8th round of negotiations in Vienna in the framework of the JCPOA will take a break. Participants will go back to capitals for consultations with their respective governments. The talks will reconvene next week." Media reports however suggest their is a split in the US delegation on the next steps.