ID dispute prompts calls for better way of resolving Gulf disputes



The simmering dispute between the UAE and Saudi Arabia over ID cards is unlikely to have a lasting effect on relations between the countries. But, analysts said yesterday, it highlights the need for a more effective method of resolving disagreements between GCC members. Saudi Arabia declared last week that Emiratis would no longer be able to cross the border using ID cards, alleging the map printed on the cards contradicted a border agreement.

Minor tensions such as these are common in Gulf history and show a need for stronger regional bodies to resolve such disputes, said Dr Ibtisam al Kitbi, a professor in political science at the UAE University. "If you look back over the past 10 or 20 years in GCC relations, you will find this kind of dispute everywhere. This is nothing new," Dr al Kitbi said. "But this raises the issues of having a proper body in the GCC to resolve this kind of dispute properly. It's there, but it's not effective; no one uses it."

The GCC has a Commission for the Settlement of Disputes, which forms committees to solve disagreements on an ad-hoc basis. Saudi citizens are still able to travel in and out of the Emirates using the cards, following a directive from Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, on Wednesday. The move has helped defuse the situation, said Dr Mustafa Alani, a researcher from the Gulf Research Centre. "It was an effort to calm down the whole issue." Saudi Arabia and the UAE signed a border agreement in 1974 in which the former dropped a claim to the Buraimi Oasis in return for the UAE giving up a strip of land bordering Qatar and some of the Shaybah oilfield.

"Historically, there have always been disputes between the UAE and Saudi on border demarcation," said Dr Theodore Karasik, director of research at the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis in Dubai. "It's a relationship that sometimes sours because of disputes over the border, and sometimes it fades into the background and you don't hear about it." The issue came to the fore in 2006 when Saudi Arabia complained that it had not been consulted over the construction of a gas pipeline from Qatar to the UAE which it claimed crossed its territory.

Dr Karasik said last week's move was the latest example of the largest Gulf nation trying to assert its influence after the UAE quit the planned monetary union following a decision to place its headquarters in Riyadh. "There's been low-level tensions ever since signing the accord placing the monetary agency in Riyadh," he said. "I think this is part of that episode, a very minor tit-for-tat retaliation from Saudi after the UAE withdrew."

He cited the recent problems at the border, where UAE lorries were stranded for weeks after Saudi Arabia introduced a new fingerprinting system, as another example. Dr al Kitbi agreed the disagreement over ID cards could be an example of Saudi Arabia trying to assert its power as the "big brother" of the GCC. "Part of it relates to the monetary union, because of course Saudi Arabia has for a long time played the role of big brother. They can't absorb that somebody else could have its own way," she said. "But if you have a young brother, he will grow one day, and you have to give him his right to that. Things can't continue forever as they are and you have to be unified as you grow."

lmorris@thenational.ae

SUE GRAY'S FINDINGS

"Whatever the initial intent, what took place at many of these gatherings and the
way in which they developed was not in line with Covid guidance at the time.

"Many of these events should not have been allowed to happen. It is also the case that some of the
more junior civil servants believed that their involvement in some of these events was permitted given the attendance of senior leaders. 

"The senior leadership at the centre, both political and official, must bear responsibility for this culture. 

"I found that some staff had witnessed or been subjected to behaviours at work which they had felt concerned about but at times felt unable to raise properly.

"I was made aware of multiple examples of a lack of respect and poor treatment of security and cleaning staff. This was unacceptable." 

Quick pearls of wisdom

Focus on gratitude: And do so deeply, he says. “Think of one to three things a day that you’re grateful for. It needs to be specific, too, don’t just say ‘air.’ Really think about it. If you’re grateful for, say, what your parents have done for you, that will motivate you to do more for the world.”

Know how to fight: Shetty married his wife, Radhi, three years ago (he met her in a meditation class before he went off and became a monk). He says they’ve had to learn to respect each other’s “fighting styles” – he’s a talk it-out-immediately person, while she needs space to think. “When you’re having an argument, remember, it’s not you against each other. It’s both of you against the problem. When you win, they lose. If you’re on a team you have to win together.” 

A German university was a good fit for the family budget

Annual fees for the Technical University of Munich - £600

Shared rental accommodation per month depending on the location ranges between  £200-600

The family had budgeted for food, books, travel, living expenses - £20,000 annually

Overall costs in Germany are lower than the family estimated 

As proof that the student has the ability to take care of expenses, international students must open a blocked account with about £8,640

Students are permitted to withdraw £720 per month

LA LIGA FIXTURES

Friday (UAE kick-off times)

Levante v Real Mallorca (12am)

Leganes v Barcelona (4pm)

Real Betis v Valencia (7pm)

Granada v Atletico Madrid (9.30pm)

Sunday

Real Madrid v Real Sociedad (12am)

Espanyol v Getafe (3pm)

Osasuna v Athletic Bilbao (5pm)

Eibar v Alaves (7pm)

Villarreal v Celta Vigo (9.30pm)

Monday

Real Valladolid v Sevilla (12am)

 

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded

The biog

Born November 11, 1948
Education: BA, English Language and Literature, Cairo University
Family: Four brothers, seven sisters, two daughters, 42 and 39, two sons, 43 and 35, and 15 grandchildren
Hobbies: Reading and traveling

if you go

The flights

Air Astana flies direct from Dubai to Almaty from Dh2,440 per person return, and to Astana (via Almaty) from Dh2,930 return, both including taxes.

The hotels

Rooms at the Ritz-Carlton Almaty cost from Dh1,944 per night including taxes; and in Astana the new Ritz-Carlton Astana (www.marriott) costs from Dh1,325; alternatively, the new St Regis Astana costs from Dh1,458 per night including taxes.

When to visit

March-May and September-November

Visas

Citizens of many countries, including the UAE do not need a visa to enter Kazakhstan for up to 30 days. Contact the nearest Kazakhstan embassy or consulate.

'The Batman'

Stars:Robert Pattinson

Director:Matt Reeves

Rating: 5/5

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)

RESULTS

5pm: Handicap (PA) Dh80,000 (Turf) 2,200m
Winner: Jawal Al Reef, Fernando Jara (jockey), Ahmed Al Mehairbi (trainer)

5.30pm: Handicap (PA) Dh80,000 (T) 1,600m
Winner: AF Seven Skies, Bernardo Pinheiro, Qais Aboud

6pm: Maiden (PA) Dh80,000 (T) 1,200m
Winner: Almahroosa, Fabrice Veron, Eric Lemartinel

6.30pm: Maiden (PA) Dh80,000 (T) 1,200m
Winner: AF Sumoud, Tadhg O’Shea, Ernst Oertel

7pm: Wathba Stallions Cup Handicap (PA) Dh70,000 (T) 1,200m
Winner: AF Majalis, Tadhg O’Shea, Ernst Oertel

7.30pm: Handicap (TB) Dh90,000 (T) 1,400m
Winner: Adventurous, Sandro Paiva, Ali Rashid Al Raihe

Company Profile

Company name: Cargoz
Date started: January 2022
Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 30
Investment stage: Seed

Mercer, the investment consulting arm of US services company Marsh & McLennan, expects its wealth division to at least double its assets under management (AUM) in the Middle East as wealth in the region continues to grow despite economic headwinds, a company official said.

Mercer Wealth, which globally has $160 billion in AUM, plans to boost its AUM in the region to $2-$3bn in the next 2-3 years from the present $1bn, said Yasir AbuShaban, a Dubai-based principal with Mercer Wealth.

Within the next two to three years, we are looking at reaching $2 to $3 billion as a conservative estimate and we do see an opportunity to do so,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Mercer does not directly make investments, but allocates clients’ money they have discretion to, to professional asset managers. They also provide advice to clients.

“We have buying power. We can negotiate on their (client’s) behalf with asset managers to provide them lower fees than they otherwise would have to get on their own,” he added.

Mercer Wealth’s clients include sovereign wealth funds, family offices, and insurance companies among others.

From its office in Dubai, Mercer also looks after Africa, India and Turkey, where they also see opportunity for growth.

Wealth creation in Middle East and Africa (MEA) grew 8.5 per cent to $8.1 trillion last year from $7.5tn in 2015, higher than last year’s global average of 6 per cent and the second-highest growth in a region after Asia-Pacific which grew 9.9 per cent, according to consultancy Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In the region, where wealth grew just 1.9 per cent in 2015 compared with 2014, a pickup in oil prices has helped in wealth generation.

BCG is forecasting MEA wealth will rise to $12tn by 2021, growing at an annual average of 8 per cent.

Drivers of wealth generation in the region will be split evenly between new wealth creation and growth of performance of existing assets, according to BCG.

Another general trend in the region is clients’ looking for a comprehensive approach to investing, according to Mr AbuShaban.

“Institutional investors or some of the families are seeing a slowdown in the available capital they have to invest and in that sense they are looking at optimizing the way they manage their portfolios and making sure they are not investing haphazardly and different parts of their investment are working together,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Some clients also have a higher appetite for risk, given the low interest-rate environment that does not provide enough yield for some institutional investors. These clients are keen to invest in illiquid assets, such as private equity and infrastructure.

“What we have seen is a desire for higher returns in what has been a low-return environment specifically in various fixed income or bonds,” he said.

“In this environment, we have seen a de facto increase in the risk that clients are taking in things like illiquid investments, private equity investments, infrastructure and private debt, those kind of investments were higher illiquidity results in incrementally higher returns.”

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, one of the largest sovereign wealth funds, said in its 2016 report that has gradually increased its exposure in direct private equity and private credit transactions, mainly in Asian markets and especially in China and India. The authority’s private equity department focused on structured equities owing to “their defensive characteristics.”

The specs: 2019 Mercedes-Benz C200 Coupe


Price, base: Dh201,153
Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder
Transmission: Nine-speed automatic
Power: 204hp @ 5,800rpm
Torque: 300Nm @ 1,600rpm
Fuel economy, combined: 6.7L / 100km

RESULTS

Tottenham 1

Jan Vertonghen 13'

Norwich 1

Josip Drmic 78'

2-3 on penalties


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