Starting with the US withdrawal from the JCPOA, the Gulf region witnessed a significant rise in insecurity: threats to freedom of navigation and the potential disruption of oil trade were followed this year by a significant rise in tension in Iraq after the US-led assassination of Iranian general Suleimani. Over the last months, power transitions in Oman and Kuwait, two cornerstones for regional diplomacy, as well as the UAE and Bahrain’s normalization of relations with Israel added other elements of uncertainty.
Yet, the covid-19 pandemic, while imposing a toll on these countries, opened possibilities for regional cooperation, whether in the form of medical aid supplies or high-level discussions on common measures to confront the pandemic.
Sayyid Badr Bin Hamad Bin Hamood Al Busaidi, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Oman
Mohammad Al-Hadhrami, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yemen
Nayef Falah Mubarak Al Hajraf, Secretary General, Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC)
Ahmad Nasser Al-Mohammad Al Sabah, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kuwait
Rafael Grossi, Director General, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Fuad Hussein, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Iraq
Julien Barnes-Dacey, Director, Middle East & North Africa programme, European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR)
Maria Gianniti, RAI