Arrival of King Salman affirms ties

The arrival of King Salman is an opportunity to reflect on the special relationship between the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces with King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, during a reception at the Presidential Airport. Philip Cheung / Crown Prince Court - Abu Dhabi
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The visit by the Saudi king to Abu Dhabi underscores the importance of Saudi-UAE links

Accompanied by senior ministers and members of the press, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman arrived in Abu Dhabi yesterday. The arrival of King Salman is an opportunity to reflect on the special relationship between the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Relations are usually described as “brotherly”, but that doesn’t do justice to the long and powerful ties that bind the peoples of the two countries.

There are of course ties of business and of family: Saudi families have married into Emirati families and vice-versa. But there is also common purpose between the two countries.

The aftermath of the 2011 revolutions that swept the Arab republics has forged a new understanding between the leaderships of Saudi Arabia and the UAE. In the years since, both countries have made the security and stability of their nations a priority. They have sought to confront extremism abroad and root it out at home – indeed, lives have been lost on both sides of the border in the fight against extremism.

These are new times and that is why it is important, now more than ever, that our two countries stand together. On many of the most pressing issues in the Middle East, the two countries are closely aligned. In Egypt, we both believe that the Arab world’s largest country must remain stable, for the sake of the Egyptian people and the wider region. On Syria, the leadership of both countries have been shocked by the widespread violence inflicted by the regime of Bashar Al Assad.

And of course in Yemen, the militaries of both countries have fought side by side, spilling blood and treasure to restore the rightful government of Yemen. The conflict has been difficult, no doubt, but it is essential for the security of the Arabian Peninsula. Tragically, young men from both countries have paid the ultimate price in Yemen, but even as our two countries mourn together, we also stand resolved that our actions are right.

On Iran, above all, the UAE and Saudi Arabia agree that the current leadership in Tehran is pursuing a dangerous course. Both countries want to see Iran playing a productive role in the region, not meddling in the affairs of Gulf states, in Iraq, in Syria and in Yemen.

There have always been close ties between the two countries. Now, in tough times, the bond remains stronger than ever.