The first meeting of the Saudi-Emirati Coordination Council, which took place last night in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, will herald in an era of even closer co-operation between the two countries in areas such as defence, politics and culture. But the two Gulf nations have a strong record of working together to further development and combat important regional and global issues.
With the formation of the Gulf Cooperation Council as far back as 1981, the member states agreed to the objectives of promoting co-ordination, integration and inter-connection. The GCC charter said that it would deepen and strengthen relations, links and areas of co-operation that already existed between the people of the Gulf in various fields by formulating similar regulations across key sectors, such as financial and legislative affairs.
However, a specific partnership between the UAE and Saudi is deeply rooted in the history of the two peoples. The Emirati-Saudi Joint Security Committee, which aims to strengthen security co-operation, had its first meeting in Abu Dhabi on 15 November, 2017. The two sides agreed then to work together on fighting all forms of crime, especially drugs trafficking, and a process to exchange information.
In December 2017, President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed issued a decree on the formation of the new Co-ordination Council with the objective of consolidating existing bilateral ties between the UAE and Saudi Arabia and enhancing co-operation on important regional and global issues.
The council, which will strengthen the bonds between two important GCC members, will further advance these objectives and bring more prosperity to the region.
The committee was chaired by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence.
The committee’s members were drawn from a number of federal and local government bodies and sectors, covering sectors of co-operation between the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
Speaking in an interview with Wam earlier this year, Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, the UAE's Minister of Economy, said that according to an investment report, the combined real GDP of the two countries is expected to reach over 46 per cent of the real GDP of all Arab countries in 2018. This shows how the two country's are growing together, as they averaged at 41 per cent between 2000 and 2016.
Minister Al Mansouri also noted that the UAE and Saudi Arabia are responsible for almost 53 per cent of the total foreign trade of goods and services of Arab countries.
Ohoud bint Khalfan Al Roumi, Minister of State for Happiness and Wellbeing, stressed that the Emirati-Saudi Coordination Council mirrors the keenness of the leaders of the two countries to enhance joint action to develop government work that promotes the wellbeing of the people of the two countries.
Ms Al Roumi also praised the role of the council, which represents an umbrella platform for officials in both countries to share successful experiences, pioneering models, and exchange of expertise and knowledge on the best practices in the government development and services.
The formation of these committees shows the two countries have a common understanding on political, security, economic and other issues.
These efforts are contributing to the peace and stability of the region, despite its various challenges.