Jassim Al-Budaiwi of Kuwait become the next Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) today. A career diplomat, Al-Budaiwi
Jassim Al-Budaiwi of Kuwait become the next Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) today.
A career diplomat, Al-Budaiwi is currently Kuwait’s ambassador to the United States and previously headed diplomatic missions to the European Union and NATO. He will succeed fellow Kuwaiti and incumbent Secretary-General Nayef Al Hajraf.
Al-Budaiwi assumes the helm of the GCC at a time in which the six-member bloc is diversifying its external relations away from a traditional reliance on the West. In December 2022, GCC leaders held a summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping to bolster cooperation with Beijing on energy and infrastructure investment. The GCC has also refused to join Western sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, and sided with Moscow in an October 2022 decision to slash oil production.
The selection of Al-Budaiwi—with his extensive experience in Western capitals—suggests that GCC governments are keen to shore up ties with the West even as Gulf relations with China and Russia continue to deepen. In particular, GCC members will likely try to buttress Western partnerships by supporting Europe’s shift away from Russian energy imports, as seen in recent liquified natural gas (LNG) deals signed with Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.