UAE seeks closer ties with Saudi Arabia

Updated 06 December 2017
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UAE seeks closer ties with Saudi Arabia

DUBAI: The UAE is seeking to forge a closer alliance with Saudi Arabia through the creation of a joint co-operation committee between the two countries.
The committee, which would be staffed on the Emirati side by representatives of federal and local government bodies and sectors, “is assigned to co-operate and co-ordinate between the UAE and Saudi Arabia in all military, political, economic trade and cultural fields, as well as others, in the interests of the two countries,” a statement from the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
The committee was announced in the form of a resolution by the UAE president, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.
“The committee shall have the powers necessary for carrying out and executing its work,” the statement added.
It will be jointly chaired by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi and deputy supreme commander of the UAE armed forces, and by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, UAE deputy prime minster and minister of president affairs.
There was no official confirmation from the government of Saudi Arabia at the time of publication.
Coming on the first day of the summit of Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) countries in Kuwait, the UAE announcement prompted speculation that a new alliance was being created to rival the GCC at a time of acute strain within the 36-year-old alliance.
Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain, backed by Egypt, have accused fellow GCC member Qatar of funding terrorism in the region and acting as an ally of Iran as it seeks to expand its power regionally.
The countries, known collectively as the Anti-Terror Quartet, have boycotted Qatar since the summer by cutting trade, transport and financial links.
The Kuwait summit, normally attended by heads of state, consisted of ministers from five of the six member countries, with the exception of Qatar, which was represented by its emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani
There were unconfirmed reports that the summit would only last one day rather than the scheduled two.
Ghanem Nuseibeh, regional expert and founder of the think tank Cornerstone Global Associates, said of the planned UAE/Saudi alliance: “It will not necessarily replace the GCC but it will cover more areas on a more practical level than what the GCC was able to achieve.
“The effectiveness of the GCC as a block has significantly eroded over time and this new alliance will undoubtedly make up for this,” Nuseibeh added. Anthony Harris, former British ambassador to the UAE and Saudi diplomat, said: “I think the rest of the GCC, especially Oman and Kuwait, would like to see the GCC continue and they hope for some sort of move by Qatar to lessen the tension.”
He added: “This reinforces a trend in closer cooperation between Abu Dhabi and Riyadh which has been growing ever since Mohammed bin Salman became Saudi crown prince.
“By my calculations KSA and the UAE have nearly 40 million inhabitants, while the other four GCC states have about 12.5 million in all. So it makes sense for the two largest economies to forge ahead,” Harris added.
Nuseibeh said: “This alliance is a formalization of the ties between the UAE and KSA that have been strengthening over the past few years. It will create greater alignment between both countries at all levels and in multiple sectors and will also positively affect the private sector and ordinary citizens of both countries.
“On a political level, it will strength the positions of both countries as they deal on the international arena, speaking with a united voice.”
The UAE and Saudi Arabia already cooperate significantly in military affairs and in foreign policy, especially in Yemen. A joint trading block would, in theory, be able to negotiate trade agreements more easily than the more cumbersome mechanism of the GCC.
 


Al-Jubeir: Saudi-led coalition ‘working with UN to end Yemen conflict’

The Houthis should engage in the political process and respond to the will of the international community to end the war and end the coup against the legitimate government, said Saudi Arabia's foreign minister. (AFP)
Updated 16 November 2018
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Al-Jubeir: Saudi-led coalition ‘working with UN to end Yemen conflict’

  • Since day one, we said that the solution… is a political solution, says Saudi FM
  • Al-Jubeir: Saudi Arabia is the largest provider of humanitarian aid to Yemen, providing more than $13 billion since the start of the conflict

RIYADH: The Saudi-led coalition is working with UN envoy Martin Griffith to reach a political solution to the conflict in Yemen based on UN Security Council resolution 2216, the Gulf Initiative and the outcomes of Yemeni national dialogue, the Saudi foreign minister said on Thursday. 

“Since day one, we said that the solution… is a political solution, and the solution should lead to the restoration of legitimacy in Yemen,” said Adel Al-Jubeir.

“We support a peaceful solution in Yemen. We support the efforts of the UN envoy for the Yemeni cause,” he added.

“We are committed to providing all humanitarian support to our brothers there. We are also working on the post-war reconstruction of Yemen.” The Kingdom supports the envoy’s efforts to hold negotiations at the end of November, added Al-Jubeir.

Saudi Arabia is the largest provider of humanitarian aid to Yemen, providing more than $13 billion since the start of the conflict, he said.

In contrast, Houthi militias are imposing restrictions on Yemeni cities and villages, leading to starvation, he added. 

They are also seizing humanitarian aid and preventing Yemenis from getting cholera vaccinations, Al-Jubeir said. 

The Houthis fire ballistic missiles indiscriminately at Saudi Arabia, use children as fighters and plant mines across Yemen, he added. 

The Houthis should engage in the political process and respond to the will of the international community to end the war and end the coup against the legitimate government, he said.

Saudi Arabia did not want the conflict in Yemen; it was imposed on the Kingdom, Al-Jubeir added. 

Saudi Arabia worked with other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states to develop the Gulf Initiative. 

This led to a transition from former President Ali Abdullah Saleh to the internationally recognized government headed by current President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

The Kingdom also worked to develop Yemeni national dialogue that led to a Yemeni vision regarding the country’s future.

A new Yemeni constitution was about to be drafted when the Houthis seized much of the country, including the capital. 

Yemen’s legitimate government requested support, and the Saudi-led coalition responded under Article 51 of the UN Charter.