Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Abu Dhabi visit heralds a promising new era in Saudi-UAE relations

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Abu Dhabi visit heralds a promising new era in Saudi-UAE relations
1 / 2
Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan (R) meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Abu Dhabi on Dec. 7, 2021. (WAM)
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Abu Dhabi visit heralds a promising new era in Saudi-UAE relations
2 / 2
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman with Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan during his latest visit. (SPA)
Short Url
Updated 11 March 2022

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Abu Dhabi visit heralds a promising new era in Saudi-UAE relations

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Abu Dhabi visit heralds a promising new era in Saudi-UAE relations
  • Visit to Abu Dhabi, where the crown prince received the Order of Zayed, is his first since Nov. 2019
  • Five-day Gulf tour will take the crown prince to Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait after Oman and the UAE

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and the UAE, two Gulf Arab countries bound by strong familial, religious, cultural and commercial ties, have enjoyed a fraternal relationship for most of their modern existence.

The depth of the bilateral relationship, however, owes much to regular official exchanges, reciprocal visits by royals, and high-level summits that have taken place over the years.

The continuity of that decades-old process is epitomized by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to Abu Dhabi, the second stop in a tour of Gulf states ahead of the annual Gulf Cooperation Council summit this month.

“The visit by His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman comes as part of enduring efforts to deepen strategic cooperation and coordination between our two countries on local, regional, and international issues, reflecting the shared visions and policies of our two countries’ leaderships,” Khalifa Shaheen Al-Marar, UAE minister of state, told Arab News.

Under the leadership of King Salman, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, and President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Saudi-UAE bilateral ties have grown into a comprehensive strategic partnership.

“The UAE and Saudi Arabia maintain a strategic partnership based on the same objectives and vision for regional prosperity, security and stability,” Al-Marar said.

“The UAE believes that the developmental journey of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, led by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is remarkable, and contributes to the overall progress and growth of the region.”

When Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed last met in Riyadh in July this year, they explored avenues for enhancing Saudi-UAE ties and strategic cooperation.




Each generation of leaders has built on the foundation laid under the leadership of Sheikh Zayed Al-Nahyan, founding father of the UAE, and King Faisal bin Abdul Aziz, his Saudi counterpart. (SPA)

Each generation of leaders has built on the foundation laid under the leadership of Sheikh Zayed Al-Nahyan, founding father of the UAE, and King Faisal bin Abdul Aziz, his Saudi counterpart, when bilateral cooperation began to expand.

During one of his Umrah trips to the Kingdom, Sheikh Zayed described the relationship between the two neighbors this way: “The UAE is with Saudi Arabia through its heart and soul, and we believe that we have one destiny, and that we have to act as one and stand by each other.”

In 1981, on the strength of their centuries-old ties, and common economic and strategic visions, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar created the Gulf Cooperation Council.

The creation of the GCC “was not a product of the moment but an institutional embodiment of a historical, social and cultural reality. Deep religious and cultural ties link the six states, and strong kin relations prevail among their citizens,” according to the official website.

In 2014, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the two leading members of the GCC, formed a joint committee to achieve the strategic visions of the two countries’ leaders, to overcome challenges and strengthen relations.

This led to the formation of the Saudi-Emirati Coordination Council to promote religious, historical, social and cultural ties and to intensify bilateral cooperation.

A year later, the two countries organized a high-level meeting, which was attended by over 150 officials from both countries to discuss areas of mutual interest and to create a general framework for the bilateral council, under three main themes: economy, human development and political and military cooperation.

A second meeting was held in Riyadh during the same year, with the objective of building on the earlier resolutions and launching initiatives to develop coordinated policies.

In 2018, Saudi Arabia and the UAE developed a unified vision that aimed to boost their global stature through the implementation of 44 joint projects. The Alaazm (Determination) Strategy was developed over 12 months by 350 officials from both countries, involving 139 governmental, sovereign and military bodies.

By focusing on three main areas — the economy; humanity and knowledge; and politics, security and the military — it sought to promote security and economic ties and to improve the living standards of citizens.

A timescale of five years was set to implement the strategy’s projects, which aimed to build an integrated model that would support joint GCC cooperation and contribute to protecting their interests, in addition to creating new opportunities.

On the sidelines of the coordination council’s first meeting, 20 memorandums of understanding were signed to implement projects from the Alaazm strategy.




In 2018, Saudi Arabia and the UAE developed a unified vision that aimed to boost their global stature through the implementation of 44 joint projects. (SPA)

Middle East analysists believe that in recent years, close political and strategic cooperation between Saudi Arabia and the UAE has helped preserve the prosperity of the Gulf countries amid a strife-torn Middle East.

“Politically, the UAE and Saudi Arabia have upheld common objectives to ensure that the region’s peoples can achieve their aspirations for security, stability, peace and development,” Al-Marar told Arab News.

“In Yemen, in particular, the UAE remains steadfast in its calls for a political solution to end the conflict and maintains full confidence in Saudi Arabia’s leadership of this file.”

Economic cooperation between the two countries is an achievement in its own right. Saudi Arabia is the leading Arab trade partner of the UAE and its third-largest international trading partner, accounting for 7 percent of the UAE’s international non-oil trade.

The two countries have the two largest Arab economies and are among the top 10 exporters in the world, with a total export value of nearly $750 billion in 2018.




Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman with Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan during his latest visit. (SPA)

“Similarities in economic development between the UAE and Saudi Arabia have united our two nations and allowed us to stimulate prosperity. Having already convened two meetings of the Saudi-UAE Coordination Council in recent years, our two countries are keen to develop new partnerships in all sectors, including tourism, infrastructure, transport, shipping, and logistics,” Al-Marar said.

He added: “Bilateral discussions continue to address ongoing efforts to develop the national economy in non-oil sectors, as well as ways to improve the business climate and empower the private sector in our countries.”

Saudi-UAE cooperation has been no less evident in the fields of energy and environment. Last month, the two countries, core members of OPEC, both highlighted their investments in renewable energy and decarbonization initiatives, but also defended the oil industry at the UN Climate Change Conference for its role in ensuring energy security and economic development.

The energy ministers of the two countries jointly contended that the focus of COP26 should be to contain emissions, which would allow oil and gas to continue to be used and smooth the energy transition, especially for poorer nations that cannot afford renewables, rather than seek to pivot the world away from fossil fuels.

“The UAE and Saudi Arabia, as the largest economies in the Gulf, recognize that we must play a leading role in adopting clean energy technologies and promoting a sustainable future for generations to come,” Almarar said.

“Through economic diversification and green innovation, our two countries are determined to promote climate resilience and conservation, particularly in developing countries.”


Human Rights Commission chief and New Zealand Foreign Ministry official hold talks in Riyadh

Human Rights Commission chief and New Zealand Foreign Ministry official hold talks in Riyadh
Updated 26 May 2022

Human Rights Commission chief and New Zealand Foreign Ministry official hold talks in Riyadh

Human Rights Commission chief and New Zealand Foreign Ministry official hold talks in Riyadh

RIYADH: Awwad Al-Awwad, president of the Saudi Human Rights Commission, met Jonathan Kerr, the director-general of the Middle East and Africa Department at the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, in Riyadh on Wednesday to discuss a number of issues relating to human rights and the development of bilateral cooperation.

Also present at the meeting was Barney Riley, New Zealand’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia.


Saudi authorities seize amphetamine pills hidden in plastic beans

Saudi authorities seize amphetamine pills hidden in plastic beans
Updated 26 May 2022

Saudi authorities seize amphetamine pills hidden in plastic beans

Saudi authorities seize amphetamine pills hidden in plastic beans

RIYADH: Authorities in Saudi Arabia foiled an attempt to smuggle thousands of amphetamine pills and arrested two suspects, the General Directorate of Narcotics Control said on Wednesday.

Spokesman Maj. Mohammed Al-Nujaidi said security officials who monitor drug smuggling and distribution networks that target the Kingdom intercepted 403,000 amphetamine tablets. They were found in the possession of a Syrian national and a Saudi citizen in Jeddah, hidden in a shipment of fake plastic bean pods, he added. The two men were referred to the Public Prosecution.

Al-Nujaidi said that the Ministry of Interior’s security forces, in coordination with the Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority, will continue to work to uncover plots to smuggle narcotics into the Kingdom and arrest those responsible.


US congress delegation hails work of Muslim World League during meeting with its leader

US congress delegation hails work of Muslim World League during meeting with its leader
Updated 26 May 2022

US congress delegation hails work of Muslim World League during meeting with its leader

US congress delegation hails work of Muslim World League during meeting with its leader

RIYADH: A delegation from the US Congress has praised the work of the Muslim World League in promoting common human values and promoting the urgent need for peace in the world. It came during a meeting with Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdul Karim Al-Iss, the MWL’s secretary-general, in Riyadh on Wednesday.

The American delegates included Chris Stewart, a representative from Utah, Lisa McClain, a representative from Michigan, and Guy Reschenthaler, a representative from Pennsylvania, all three of them Republicans. They were accompanied by a number of officials.

(Supplied)

During the meeting, they discussed a number of issues of common interest, and Al-Issa affirmed that the Saudi Arabia represents the unifying spirit of the Islamic world.

The US delegation also hailed the MWL for its leading role in building effective alliances at the national level and between international organizations to consolidate the values of friendship and cooperation among nations and peoples.


DiplomaticQuarter: US Embassy celebrates 80 years of ‘shared history’ with Saudi Arabia

DiplomaticQuarter: US Embassy celebrates 80 years  of ‘shared history’ with Saudi Arabia
Updated 25 May 2022

DiplomaticQuarter: US Embassy celebrates 80 years of ‘shared history’ with Saudi Arabia

DiplomaticQuarter: US Embassy celebrates 80 years  of ‘shared history’ with Saudi Arabia
  • The US Legation opened in Jeddah in 1942. Full diplomatic relations began in 1940 and the US Mission, located in a traditional house in the old city center, was upgraded to the status of an embassy in 1949

RIYADH: The US Embassy in Riyadh has marked the 80th anniversary of the establishment of its first diplomatic presence in Saudi Arabia, highlighting what it described as “eight decades of shared history, strong partnership and united vision” with the Kingdom.

The US Legation opened in Jeddah in 1942. Full diplomatic relations began in 1940 and the US Mission, located in a traditional house in the old city center, was upgraded to the status of an embassy in 1949.

In 1952, the embassy moved to the current consulate general location, which at the time was an isolated, beachfront property to the north of the city.

Along with all other foreign missions, the US Embassy was transferred to Riyadh in 1984. The former embassy compound in Jeddah is now a consulate general in the heart of one of the Middle East’s most dynamic cities.

The theme of this year’s celebration was “Shared History, Strong Partnership and United Vision,” highlighting the enduring foundation of the strategic ties and friendship between the US and Saudi Arabia.

“From the very early days of modern Saudi Arabia, the US, its leaders, its companies and its people supported their Saudi friends on their remarkable journey toward success and prosperity,” the US Embassy in Riyadh said in a statement to Arab News.

“The US-Saudi relationship has naturally evolved over the years. It has grown to encompass trade, culture, education, security, and especially the close ties between the Saudi and American people. What has not changed during the past 80 years is the shared vision that has always guided the cooperation between the US and Saudi Arabia in these and many other areas,” it added.

“As Saudi Arabia pursues the ambitious goals of Vision 2030, the US is supporting the Kingdom’s efforts in the same spirit of partnership that has been one of the key pillars of US–Saudi ties. Today, in every field, in every sector, Americans and Saudis are working together, learning together, conducting research together and, more recently, performing together in concerts, films and athletic competitions.”

This engagement translates into $54 billion annually in US-Saudi trade and investment.

American companies have been an integral part of the Vision 2030 economic transformation of Saudi Arabia, while the US and Saudi Arabia also enjoy robust cultural and educational ties.


Saudi Arabia reports 540 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death

Saudi Arabia reports 540 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death
Updated 25 May 2022

Saudi Arabia reports 540 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death

Saudi Arabia reports 540 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death
  • Of the new infections, 146 were recorded in Jeddah, 122 in Riyadh, 50 in Makkah, 38 in Dammam and 32 in Madinah

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia reported 540 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, according to the Ministry of Health. As a result, the total number of cases in the Kingdom grew to 764,789.

The authorities also confirmed one new COVID-19-related death, raising the total number of fatalities to 9,135.

Of the new infections, 146 were recorded in Jeddah, 122 in Riyadh, 50 in Makkah, 38 in Dammam and 32 in Madinah. Several other cities recorded fewer than 20 new cases each.

The ministry also announced that 570 patients had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries to 749,141. It said that 6,513 COVID-19 cases were still active.