UAE, Saudi can create historic opportunities for region: UAE vice president

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum. (AFP file photo)
Updated 23 February 2017
0

UAE, Saudi can create historic opportunities for region: UAE vice president

DUBAI: Combining the capabilities of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia can create historic opportunities for their peoples and the whole region, said Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, UAE vice president and prime minister, and ruler of Dubai, WAM reported on Tuesday.
He was speaking at a joint retreat on Saadiyat Island, attended by some 150 Emirati and Saudi officials to discuss the best ways to advance bilateral relations.
Called Al-Azm, or determination in Arabic, the retreat sought to turn agreements and understandings into tangible field projects that will benefit the peoples of the two countries and achieve a new level of exceptional bilateral relations, he added.
The retreat was held following directives from UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan and Saudi King Salman to enhance historic ties and draw a roadmap to develop them in the long term.
UAE Deputy Prime Minister Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed and Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi deputy crown prince and chairman of the Council for Economic and Development Affairs, co-chaired the retreat, held as one in a series of joint meetings aimed at intensifying cooperation and consultations in several spheres.
Dubai Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, Emirati and Saudi ministers and senior officials took part.
“Through our integration, solidarity and unity, we can protect our gains, enhance our economies and build a better future for our people,” Sheikh Mohammed said.
“I am optimistic about the young leaders responsible for the quest for integration between the two countries, namely Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan.”
Sheikh Mohammed added: “Chairing the Emirati delegation is the best guarantee for the success of this quest. We have great confidence in his ability to lead this historic progress between the two countries.”
Sheikh Mansour described Emirati-Saudi relations as “strong, but the leadership wants them to be exceptional and exemplary and moving toward a new, different and integrational level.”
He said: “His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, are closely following up on all the steps of co-operation between the two countries and have directed the speeding up of this blessed quest.”
He added: “We are the largest two Arab economies, have the most modern forces in terms of arms, form one social fabric and have leaders who want co-operation to go further, and people who want further integration.”

The combined gross domestic product (GDP) of the UAE and Saudi Arabia stands at $1 trillion, the largest in the Middle East, with $713 billion in exports, the fourth-largest globally. Bilateral trade amounted to AED84 billion ($23 billion), Sheikh Mansour said.


Turkey, Russia, Iran to hold Syria talks next week

Updated 28 min 40 sec ago
0

Turkey, Russia, Iran to hold Syria talks next week

ASTANA: Russia, Iran and Turkey will hold the next round of talks on Syria's conflict on November 28-29 in the Kazakh capital Astana, Kazakhstan's foreign minister said on Monday.
"The participants plan to discuss the current situation in Syria, in particular in Idlib, creating conditions for the return of refugees and internally displaced people, and post-conflict reconstruction," Kairat Abdrakhmanov said in Astana.
The meeting will be the 11th in the Astana peace process -- set up in early 2017 by Russia and Iran, who support President Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria, and opposition backer Turkey.
Abdrakhmanov said representatives of Damascus and armed opposition groups would take part, but did not specify what level of officials from Russia, Iran and Turkey would attend.
The Astana process was launched after Russia's military intervention in Syria tipped the balance in the regime's favour. It has gradually eclipsed an earlier UN-sponsored negotiations framework known as the Geneva process.
This month's meeting comes with continued violence threatening plans for a buffer zone around Idlib, the last major opposition stronghold in Syria.
Russia and Turkey agreed in September to set up the buffer zone to avert a Syrian regime offensive, but jihadists who hold around 70 percent of the area have refused to withdraw.
Fighting in the area has continued, with jihadists on Friday killing 22 regime fighters in an attack on government forces in the northwest of Hama province near the planned zone.