United Arab Emirates forms new group with Saudi Arabia; Gulf Cooperation Council under pressure with new move

The move comes amid a diplomatic crisis with member state Qatar.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: December 5, 2017 8:24 pm
united arab emirates, saudi arabia, gulf cooperation council, qatar, gcc meeting in kuwait, abu dhabi, indian express, express world news United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan listens to closing remarks during the closing ceremony of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit in Kuwait’s Bayan Palace December 15, 2009. (Reuters File Photo)

The United Arab Emirates on Tuesday said that it has formed a new “joint cooperation committee” with Saudi Arabia to partner on military, economic, trade and cultural fields, a move that is being seen in the interest of two countries but will undermine the Gulf Cooperation Council.

The move comes amid a diplomatic crisis with member state Qatar. Just hours ahead of a GCC meeting in Kuwait, the Emirati Foreign Ministry said the new “joint cooperation committee” was approved by the UAE’s ruler and president, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nayhan.

The Emirati Foreign Ministry announcement, just hours ahead of a GCC meeting in Kuwait, said the new “joint cooperation committee” was approved by the UAE’s ruler and president, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nayhan. However, Saudi Arabia did not immediately report on the new partnership.

The six-member GCC meeting is expected to focus on the Qatar issue. The Emirati ministry said the new “committee is assigned to cooperate and coordinate between the UAE and Saudi Arabia in all military, political, economic, trade and cultural fields, as well as others, in the interest of the two countries.”

In the recent years, the UAE and Saudi Arabia have cultivated even-closer ties. Emirati forces are deeply involved in the Saudi-led war in Yemen. Abu Dhabi’s powerful crown prince, Mohammad bin Zayed Al Nayhan, also is believed to have a closer relationship with Saudi Arabia’s young Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, reports news agency AP.

The Emirati announcement did not say whether any other Gulf Arab countries would be invited to join the new group but the development puts pressure the GCC, a group of American-allied Gulf Arab nations formed in part in 1981 as a counterbalance to Shiite power Iran, the agency reported.

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