JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia and the UAE on Thursday signed a raft of agreements which included a deal to issue joint visit visas for residents of both countries in a bid to boost tourism.
According to the UAE’s official news agency WAM, the accord, among six initiatives highlighted during Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to the UAE, was part of a cooperation deal between the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) and the UAE’s Ministry of Economy.
The agreement will allow for the speeding up of the flow of traffic at ports of entry between the two countries.
A separate joint strategy for food security was also inked, aimed at tackling food challenges not only in Saudi Arabia and the UAE but throughout the region.
Enhancing cybersecurity and supporting the provision of reliable cyberspace for each country was another initiative agreed upon to find ways of preventing cyberattacks on the two nations.
On an economic level, it was agreed to issue an experimental digital currency strictly targeted for banks, with the aim of better understanding the implications of blockchain technology and facilitating cross-border payments.
The two countries will also develop a new mega-crude refinery with a capacity of 1.2 million barrels per day, integrated with a modern petrochemical complex at an initial cost of $70 billion (SR262 billion) in the state of Maharashtra in western India, to secure the supply of at least 600,000 barrels per day of Saudi crude oil.
A Saudi-Emirati Youth Council is also to be established to strengthen the partnership between youth in both countries, exchange ideas, and coordinate efforts to promote young talent.
Meanwhile, the two sides also signed four new memoranda of understanding (MoUs) in the health, culture, space and food security fields.
The first MoU was penned between the Saudi Ministry of Health and its UAE counterpart, and was followed by a cultural agreement signed between Noura bint Mohammed Al-Kaabi, the UAE’s minister of culture and knowledge development, and Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan Al-Saud, the Saudi minister of culture.
A third MoU was inked in the field of space between Dr. Ahmad bin Abdullah Humaid Belhoul Al-Falasi, minister of state for higher education and advanced skills and chairman of the UAE Space Agency, and Mohammed Al-Tuwaijri, Saudi minister of economy and planning.
The fourth accord on food security was agreed between Mariam Hareb Al-Mheiri, minister of state for food security, and Al-Tuwaijri.
During the Saudi crown prince’s stay, he visited the headquarters of Expo 2020 Dubai along with Dubai’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum.
The mega event, which features the participation of 192 countries, is scheduled to take place in the city under the theme of “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future” from Oct. 20, 2020, to April 10, 2021.