The United Arab Emirates on 5 December 2017 announced that it has formed a new economic and partnership group with Saudi Arabia. The new group would be separate from the Gulf Cooperation Council.
The announcement was made by Emirati Foreign Ministry, just hours ahead of a GCC meeting in Kuwait. The new ‘joint cooperation committee’ has received approval from UAE’s ruler and president, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
According to the Emirati ministry, 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.'
• The UAE and Saudi Arabia have developed even-closer ties in recent years.
• Emirati troops are deeply involved in the Saudi-led war in Yemen.
• Abu Dhabi's powerful crown prince, Mohammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan is also believed to have a close relationship with Saudi Arabia's young Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
About the Gulf Cooperation Council
• It is a regional intergovernmental political and economic union consisting of all Arab states of the Persian Gulf excluding Iraq.
• Its member states include Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
• The bloc was established in 1981 to enable closer economic, trade and security partnerships on the Arab Peninsula.
• This formation of the new group could undermine the GCC council amidst a diplomatic crisis with member state Qatar.
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the UAE had cut their ties with Qatar on 5 June 2017 after accusing it of supporting and funding terrorism and being too close to Iran.
Qatar has denied all the charges and said that the nations are trying to force it to fall in line with their own foreign policy.
The GCC summit, which is currently underway in Kuwait, is the most important annual summit the GCC has held for more than two decades. Though the agenda of the summit has not been confirmed, it is expected to focus on the Gulf crisis.