By: Muhammad Aamir ABU DHABI, 5th June, 2018 (WAM) — The Saudi-Emirati Coordination Council will bring the friendly ties between the two nations to new heights, especially their cooperation in all military, political, economic, trade and cultural fields, as well as in other areas.
In May 2016, both countries set up the council to consolidate the fraternal relations and to intensify bilateral cooperation through continuous consultation and coordination in many areas, and today, a joint vision for economic, developmental, and military integration through 44 strategic projects was revealed during the council’s first meeting.
The UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, issued a decree in December 2017 on the formation of a Joint Co-operation Committee, whose objectives were stated as being the consolidation of the existing strong bilateral ties between the UAE and Saudi Arabia and serving the common interests of both countries on enhancing cooperation on important regional and global issues.
The UAE has always been a champion of regional integration and cooperation, which was evident through the formation of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) at a summit conference of six Arabian peninsula states held in Abu Dhabi, at the invitation of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, in May 1981. At the conference, the leaders of the states agreed to form the GCC with the basic objectives of promoting coordination, integration and inter-connection between member states in all fields in order to achieve unity between them.
The Council charter states that the mandate of the GCC is to deepen and strengthen the relations, links and areas of cooperation that already exist between their peoples in various fields, through such means as the formulation of similar regulations in economic and financial affairs; commerce, customs and communications; education and culture; social and health affairs; information and tourism and legislative and administrative affairs.
The Saudi-Emirati Coordination Council, bringing together two important member countries of the GCC, will further advance the mission of the GCC by serving more effectively the peoples of the two nations and by bringing more prosperity to the region.
The Joint Coordination Council is chaired by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister of Defense. It will lead the work to develop a common approach on various issues in the mutual interest of the two countries.
Last December’s presidential decree issued by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa specified that the committee’s members will be drawn from a number of federal and local government bodies and sectors in the country, covering many sectors of cooperation between the UAE and Saudi Arabia. The Committee is allocated all the powers necessary for carrying out and executing its work.
According to Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, the Minister of Economy, there are already many economic and commercial indicators that will facilitate co-operation between the two countries.
In an interview with WAM in February, Al Mansouri noted that, according to a report from the Arab Investment and Export Credit Guarantee Corporation, Dhaman, their combined real GDP is expected to reach over 46 percent of the real GDP of all Arab countries between 2017 and 2018, compared to a 41 percent average for the years 2000-2016.
Al Mansouri also noted that the UAE and Saudi Arabia are also responsible for almost 53 percent of the total foreign trade of Arab countries in terms of goods and services.
The minister further stated that Saudi Arabia is the second most important international destination for re-exported goods from the UAE, with a nine percent share while being the first in the Arab region with a 29 percent share, as well as 47 percent among GCC countries. With regards to imports, Saudi Arabia has a 45 percent share of the UAE’s imports from GCC countries, and 28 percent from Arab countries.
The Saudi-Emirati Coordination Council is expected to facilitate further development of this momentum, despite various challenges facing the region.
The move is based on shared religious, historical, social and cultural ties between the UAE and Saudi Arabia and their membership in the Gulf Cooperation Council.
The setting up of the coordination council, translates the visions of the leadership of two countries to have consultation and coordination in matters and issues of common interest in all fields.
The agreement signed by the two-side emphasised that the establishment of the coordination council and tasks entrusted to it do not affect the obligations among the GCC states. Therefore, both countries are keen to deepen the consultation process on issues of mutual concern between them and as well for the GCC member countries through such kinds of consultative bodies.
The retreat of Saudi-Emirati Coordination Council was held in two parts, one in Abu Dhabi in February 2017 and second in April 2017 in Riyadh, that discussed areas of common interest and developed a general framework for the work of the council, paving the way for a new stage of cooperation between the two countries.
UAE and Saudi Arabia also established Saudi-Emirati Joint Security Committee, to strengthen their joint security co-operation. The first meeting of the committee was held in Abu Dhabi on 15th November, 2017, and reached on an agreement to form joint working teams to discuss several important topics related to fighting all forms of crime, especially drugs, and a process to exchange information and place an appropriate mechanism for the work of the teams.
The formation of such committees shows joint efforts of the two countries to have a common understanding on political, security, economic and other issues of mutual interest, and also helping the region to face challenges more efficiently. These efforts are contributing to the peace and stability of the region, and are recognised by the international community.