The Saudi-Emirati Coordination Council

UAE-KSA relations are truly exceptional thanks to understanding between their leaders‭, ‬their wise and insightful vision‭, ‬and commitment to the region’s territorial integrity‭.‬
The visit by His Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman‭, ‬Saudi Crown Prince‭, ‬to the UAE in November 2019‭, ‬and the positive outcome‭ ‬vis-à-vis bilateral relations‭, ‬truly reflected the broadening horizon of this ever-strengthening partnership‭.‬
This document‭, ‬titled‭ ‬“UAE and Saudi Arabia‭ ‬–‭ ‬A Long History of Staunch‭, ‬Deeply Rooted Relations”‭, ‬tackles four main topics‭: ‬“The UAE and Saudi Arabia‭ ‬–‭ ‬Historical Landmarks”‭, ‬“The UAE and Saudi Arabia‭ ‬–‭ ‬A Cornerstone for Arab and Regional Security”‭, ‬The UAE and Saudi Arabia‭ ‬–‭ ‬Basis‭, ‬Foundations and Constants”‭, ‬“Saudi‭ -‬UAE Coordination Council”‭ ‬and‭ ‬“Prospects of deepening Bilateral Relations”‭.‬
UAE and Saudi Arabia‭ ‬–‭ ‬Historical Landmarks
During a visit to Saudi Arabia to perform‭ ‬“Omra”‭ (‬Lesser pilgrimage‭), ‬the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan‭ (‬May God bless his soul‭) ‬was asked about UAE–Saudi Arabia relations‭. ‬He said‭, ‬“The UAE stands by Saudi Arabia all the way‭. ‬We believe in one common destiny‭, ‬and so it is essential to close ranks and support‭ ‬each other”‭.‬1
This‭ ‬‘common destiny’‭ ‬has stood the test of time‭; ‬as proved once again at the second meeting of the Saudi-UAE Coordination Council in Abu Dhabi in November‭, ‬2019‭, ‬which was held under the chairmanship of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed‭, ‬Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi‭, ‬Deputy‭ ‬Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces‭, ‬and His Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud‭, ‬Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince‭, ‬First Deputy Prime Minister‭, ‬Minister of Defense‭, ‬and Chairman of the Council for Economic and Development Affairs‭.‬
Speaking at the meeting‭, ‬the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince said‭, ‬“The UAE and Saudi Arabia relations are not just historical and strategic‭, ‬but one of blood and common destiny the deep-rooted foundation of which was laid out by Sheikh Zayed and fellow brotherly kings of Saudi Arabia‭ (‬May God bless their souls‭).‬”2
A joint article by Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the UAE‭, ‬Turki Al-Dekheil‭, ‬and UAE Ambassador to Saudi Arabia‭, ‬Shakhbout Al Nahyan‭, ‬which was published to coincide with the Saudi Crown Prince’s visit to the UAE in November 2019‭, ‬noted that‭ ‬“the Coordination Council is not just a response to an emergency‭. ‬If we want to understand the present and the future we have to‭ ‬consult history‭. ‬Bilateral Saudi-Emirati relations are deeply rooted in history citing originality‭, ‬essence and homogeneity‭.‬3
In August 2019‭ ‬Prince Khaled Al Faisal‭, ‬Advisor to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques‭, ‬Prince of the Holy Mecca Region and Chairman of the Central Haj‭ (‬Pilgrimage‭) ‬Committee‭, ‬eloquently summed up the UAE-Saudi Arabia relations by saying‭, ‬“Emiratis are Saudis and vice versa‭.‬”4‭ ‬
These sentiments prove that UAE-Saudi relations are not only firmly rooted in a shared past‭, ‬but also form a common vision for the present and future‭. ‬In this respect‭, ‬three landmarks in the history of UAE-Saudi relations need to be highlighted‭:‬
I‭. ‬Pre-Federation Phase‭:‬
There was a special bond between the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan‭ (‬May God bless his soul‭) ‬and Saudi kings‭, ‬especially‭ ‬the late king Faisal‭ (‬may God bless his soul‭), ‬who played a positive role in the negotiations that preceded the UAE Federation‭ ‬in 1971‭.‬5
His correspondence with King Faisal‭ (‬May God bless their souls‭) ‬reveals a staunch brotherly bond between the two leaders‭, ‬which‭ ‬went beyond statesmanship‭, ‬including a letter on 4‭ ‬February 1967‭ ‬in which Sheikh Zayed informed King Faisal of his intention to‭ ‬visit Saudi Arabia‭.‬
The latter responded‭, ‬“I received your letter dated 4‭ ‬February 1967‭ ‬and I appreciate you Highness’‭ ‬good feelings which are reciprocal‭. ‬I would like to assure Your Highness of our highest welcome to your visit to Saudi Arabia at any time‭. ‬Saudi Arabia is yours‭. ‬So are our people”‭.‬6‭ ‬
This brotherly bond between Sheikh Zayed and King Faisal before the Federation paved the way for the UAE-Saudi Arabian relationship to flourish well beyond 1971‭. ‬The late Sheikh Zayed‭ (‬May God bless his soul‭) ‬was committed to this relationship as he took Saudi Arabia as an elder brother and the bedrock of security and stability in the Arabian Gulf and the Middle East‭. ‬He noted that‭ ‬“The UAE and Saudi Arabia have always been more than sisters‭, ‬thanks to the staunch centuries-old relations between the two peoples‭ ‬–‭ ‬relations that grew stronger and stronger over years‭. ‬We take Saudi Arabia as a pioneer of this region and the Arab world‭. ‬We are for anything it deems appropriate and what hurts it hurts us likewise”‭.‬7
II.Kuwait Liberation War‭:‬
The war for liberation of Kuwait stands out as one of the pivotal moments that proved the inherent strength of UAE-Saudi Arabia‭ ‬relations‭. ‬The two nations took a firm‭, ‬principled stand against the existential threat which Kuwait faced after the Iraqi invasion in 1990‭. ‬
In this context‭, ‬reference could be made to the‭ ‬“Desert Warrior”‭ ‬encyclopedia by Prince Khaled bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz‭, ‬Commander of the Joint Forces during the Kuwait liberation war in 1991‭, ‬to identify the nature of the brotherly‭, ‬or the one-family‭, ‬relationship that bonded the two nations‭.‬
Prince Khaled bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz recalled that he asked the late Sheikh Zayed‭, ‬“May I have a son-to-father chat with you‭? ‬I consider myself like your son Mohammed”‭.‬
The kind-faced Sheikh Zayed surprised him by saying‭, ‬“In this crisis you’re dearer to me than Mohammed himself‭.‬”8
III.Restoring Legitimacy in Yemen‭:‬
When an Iran-backed Houthi militia took control of Yemen‭, ‬ousted its legitimate government in 2014‭, ‬and became a threat to Arabian Gulf security‭, ‬the UAE did not hesitate to join the Saudi-led Arab coalition for restoring legitimacy in Yemen in March 2015‭.‬‭ ‬A reason behind UAE’s participation in this coalition was that Houthi control over Yemen was a threat to Saudi Arabia’s security and interests‭.‬
This coalition is yet more proof of the strong bond between the two countries as Emiratis fight and bleed alongside Saudis in defence of Saudi Arabia and wider Arab security‭.‬
Every time civil concentrations or oil facilities in the Kingdom were targeted by Houthi militia‭, ‬the UAE hastened to reaffirm its support for the Kingdom‭.‬
These important landmarks in the history of UAE-Saudi relations reveal two basic things‭:‬
First is the great role the leaders of the two nations have played over different historical stages in support of this relationship‭, ‬citing mutual awareness of the importance of each country to the other and the close connection between national security of both‭. ‬
Second is the special relation between the two peoples which added a deep popular dimension to bilateral relations‭. ‬It looked as‭ ‬a relation between one people in two countries‭. ‬His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed‭, ‬Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi‭, ‬Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces‭, ‬was eloquent when he tweeted on the 89th National Day of Saudi Arabia on 23‭ ‬September 2019”‭, ‬“Your National Day is ours‭. ‬So is your joy and so are your achievements‭. ‬We’re strongly bound by brotherhood‭, ‬love and common destiny”‭.‬9‭ ‬
UAE and Saudi Arabia‭ ‬–‭ ‬A Cornerstone of Arab and Regional Security
The relations between the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia provide the foundation for Arabian Gulf‭, ‬Arab and regional security‭. ‬That is because of the combined power of their political and economic resources and their significance at the Arab and international levels‭. ‬All through their close association they have displayed subtle and decisive attitudes vis-à-vis threats to regional security and interests‭. ‬
Huge Economic Power
The two nations together form a formidable economic bloc‭, ‬a fact highlighted by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan‭, ‬Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi‭, ‬Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces‭, ‬at the second Saudi-Emirati Coordination Council‭ (‬SECC‭) ‬meeting in Abu Dhabi in November 2019‭. ‬He said‭, ‬“Our joint economies rank 16‭ ‬globally‭, ‬and we could work together to put them among the top 10‭ ‬economies world-wide‭. ‬Moreover‭, ‬our foreign investments now exceed‭ $‬250‭ ‬billion and our investment funds stand on the top globally‭, ‬and we will increase our investments to become among the largest 10‭ ‬investors globally‭. ‬Our financial markets exceed‭ $‬720‭ ‬billion and we aim to become among the top 10‭ ‬financial markets in the world”‭.‬10
Furthermore‭, ‬the UAE and Saudi Arabia are among the top 10‭ ‬exporters globally with commodity and services exports approaching‭ $‬750‭ ‬billion per 2018‭ ‬statistics‭. ‬They also account for two thirds of Arab exports of non-oil commodities to the world in 2018‭ ‬and‭ ‬occupied the 6th rank globally in terms of commodity exports‭.‬11‭ ‬Saudi Arabia accounts for 15.7%‭ ‬of world oil reserves and is the second oil producer after the United States‭. ‬UAE oil reserves‭ ‬amount to 98‭ ‬billion barrels accounting for 5.8%‭ ‬of world reserve‭.‬12
This joint economic power makes the two nations influential regionally and globally‭. ‬
Wisdom and Poise
The UAE and Saudi Arabia’s foreign policies are wise‭, ‬being the main source of regional security and stability over decades‭. ‬Experience and balance have‭ ‬boosted bilateral coordination on how to deal with various crises‭. ‬This attitude has helped thwart many disturbances and maintain regional peace‭, ‬which explains the interest of international powers to boost relations with these two nations and identify with their vision‭.‬13
Strategic Weight
The UAE and Saudi Arabia enjoy considerable strategic weight regionally and internationally‭. ‬The former is known for its successful Arab unity experience‭, ‬its international reputation as a nation for tolerance‭, ‬coexistence‭, ‬openness and a pioneer champion‭ ‬in humanitarian‭, ‬charitable‭, ‬philanthropic and international affairs‭. ‬It was ranked first globally in terms of human assistance‭-‬GDP ratio14‭, ‬occupied first rank at the Arab and regional levels in terms of competitiveness‭, ‬is the only Arab nation with a space program‭ ‬designed to colonise Mars and the nation to send the first Arab astronaut to outer space station‭.‬
It became the only Arab nation to produce nuclear energy for peaceful purposes in 2020‭. ‬In November 2019‭ ‬it became the only Gulf‭ ‬nation to receive His Holiness the Vatican Pope who signed with His Imminence the Grand Imam of Al Azhar the‭ ‬“Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together”‭. ‬It is also the only Arab nation to assign a woman as Speaker of Parliament‭. ‬
Saudi Arabia is the seat of the Two Holy Mosques which earns it unparalleled influence in the Muslim world‭. ‬It is also one of the top 20‭ ‬economies in the world‭, ‬keeps fourth largest and strongest army in the region and boasts a large population and geographical clout‭.‬15
Countering Sectarian and Clerical Hegemony‭ ‬
The UAE and Saudi Arabia have countered‭, ‬and are still countering‭, ‬sectarian and religion-based hegemonic plots hatched against‭ ‬the region‭. ‬Moreover‭, ‬their decisive military intervention in Yemen to restore state legitimacy exemplifies their historic role‭ ‬to counter militias serving sectarian agendas of non-Arab powers‭. ‬The UAE and Saudi Arabian military invention in Yemen helped strengthen Arab and Gulf national security‭, ‬citing Yemen’s strategic significance vis-à-vis Arab and Gulf interests‭.‬
One expert rightfully described the Saudi-led Arab Coalition’s military intervention against Houthis and pro-Ali Abdulla Saleh forces through Operation Resolve‭ (‬26/3/2015‭) ‬and Operation Bring Hope‭ (‬21/4/2015‭) ‬as‭ ‬“One of the most significant and decisive Arab decisions against Arab national security threats”‭.‬16‭ ‬
Defending The Nation-State
The nation-state in the Arab world faced a serious threat after 2011‭ ‬because of sectarian‭, ‬ethnic and religion-based plots and emerging armed militias that attempted to hijack states‭, ‬either in Yemen‭, ‬Lebanon‭, ‬Iraq or elsewhere‭. ‬
Countering Terror and Terrorists
The UAE-Saudi cooperation over the past years helped curb terror and terrorists‭, ‬and their efforts have been central to identifying and neutralising sources of ideological terror and financial support‭. ‬Their efforts led the world to understand the true magnitude of the threat of extremism‭, ‬and extremist groups led by the Muslim Brothers‭, ‬in the Arab region‭.‬
Supporting Public Interests
The UAE and Saudi Arabia supported Arab peoples’‭ ‬interests in development‭, ‬stability and progress against the sanguinary forces trying to hijack‭, ‬control and direct them‭. ‬The two nations’‭ ‬support for the 30‭ ‬July 2013‭ ‬revolution in Egypt is an overriding proof of this fact‭. ‬
Saudi-Emirati Coordination Council‭ ‬and Prospects of Deeper Bilateral Relation
The Saudi-Emirati Coordination Council‭ (‬SECC‭) ‬reflects‭ ‬“institutionalism”‭ ‬as the underlying characteristic of relations between the UAE and Saudi Arabia as the association is based on specific institutions that guarantee sustainability and cooperation in various fields‭.‬
SECC was formed in May 2016‭ ‬and held its first meeting in Jeddah in June 2018‭ ‬where the Strategy of Resolve‭ (‬SoR‭) ‬was announced‭ ‬17‭ ‬to strengthen bilateral relations in economic‭, ‬human‭, ‬political and military security fields‭.‬
SECC’s vision was based on‭ ‬“creating an exceptional model of integration and cooperation between Saudi Arabia and the UAE at the regional and Arab levels by‭ ‬executing joint strategic projects”‭.‬18
Strategic Goals and Giant Accomplishments
•‭ ‬SECC goals were set as follows‭:‬19
•‭ ‬Devise a joint vision to deepen and sustain bilateral relations per GCC agenda‭.‬
•‭ ‬Boost integral economic scheme between the two nations‭.‬
•‭ ‬Provide creative solutions for optimal use of available resource‭.‬
•‭ ‬Create an effective‭, ‬fully-integrated educational system based on the comparative advantages of the two nations‭.‬
•‭ ‬Bolster bilateral cooperation and integration at the political and security levels‭.‬
•‭ ‬Secure effective exploitation of opportunities of cooperation and partnership between the two nations‭.‬
•‭ ‬Highlight the two nations’‭ ‬status in economy‭, ‬human development‭, ‬political integration and military security‭.‬
Achieve community welfare in the two nations‭. ‬These objectives carry two characteristics‭:‬
First‭:‬‭ ‬They are of strategic nature to create a gigantic leap in bilateral relations‭.‬
Second‭: ‬They are of comprehensive nature‭, ‬as they overstep economy to all realms of bilateral relations‭.‬
Since inception‭, ‬SECC has held two meetings‭. ‬The first was in June 2018‭ ‬in Jeddah‭, ‬Saudi Arabia‭, ‬which resulted in laying out the SECC organisational structure and a common vision to deepen and sustain bilateral relations‭.‬20
•‭ ‬The second meeting was held in Abu Dhabi on 27‭ ‬November 2019‭. ‬Four Memoranda of Understanding‭ (‬MoU‭) ‬for cooperation were signed‭, ‬and seven initiatives reviewed‭, ‬which are as follows‭:‬
•‭ ‬Cyber Security‭: ‬Counter cyber-attacks against highly sensitive sectors by 55%‭ ‬and reduce period of recovery by 25%‭.‬
•‭ ‬Saudi-Emirati Youth Council21‭ ‬to create an interactive platform and a guide to elaborate SECC agenda‭, ‬prepare quarterly reports on SECC achievements and create an interactive space for the youth to achieve Council objectives‭.‬
•‭ ‬Joint Tourist Visa Initiative for Saudi Arabia and UAE Residents to boost inter-country tourism‭. ‬This initiative‭, ‬according to‭ ‬the UAE Minister of Economy‭, ‬Sultan Al Mansouri‭, ‬is aimed at optimal use of Saudi resources to make entry to the Kingdom easier‭ ‬and more accessible for tourists‭. ‬The new visa is expected to go into effect in 2020‭.‬22
•‭ ‬Streamlined Traffic Among Customs Outlets Initiative to reduce the duration of customs clearance from 14‭ ‬hours in 2018‭ ‬to four‭ ‬hours in 2019‭ ‬as a first step to make commercial traffic across custom outlets in the two countries easier‭.‬
•‭ ‬Joint Food Security Initiative to overcome food challenges through joint cooperation in safe‭, ‬sustainable and affordable food‭.‬
•‭ ‬Digital Currency Initiative in response to the latest technological developments in economic interactions‭. ‬It provides for issuing an electronic currency negotiable among banks to boost elasticity of inter-bank transactions‭.‬23
Giant Refinery Project to provide outlets for Saudi and UAE oil sales to Asian markets‭, ‬especially India‭. ‬It provides for joint‭ ‬development of a giant oil refinery and a petrochemical complex per latest international standards‭. ‬For this purpose‭, ‬Saudi ARAMCO and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company‭ (‬ADNOC‭) ‬entered in a strategic partnership to build a new crude oil refinery with a capacity of 1.2‭ ‬million barrels per day‭.‬24‭ ‬
Indications and Meanings
1‭. ‬SECC creation carries a number of significant indications/meanings‭:‬
A supportive strong political will‭, ‬as SECC first and second meetings were chaired by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al‭ ‬Nahyan‭, ‬Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi‭, ‬Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces‭, ‬and His Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin‭ ‬Abdul Aziz‭, ‬Saudi Crown Prince‭, ‬in a clear indication of the great support given to SECC by the highest leaders in the two countries‭.‬
2‭. ‬SECC is undertaking specific projects/programs in certain fields according to clear-cut schedules‭. ‬A 60-month deadline is given to carry out SoR strategy which serves a reference for SECC plan of action‭.‬25
3‭. ‬SECC is interested not only in devising strategies and initiatives‭, ‬but also in implementing them‭, ‬which reflects a serious approache on both sides‭.‬
4‭. ‬SECC realises the significance of economy as a governing approach in international relations at the regional and international levels‭. ‬It relates to national interests to meeting basic public needs‭.‬
5‭. ‬SECC is a model for effective partnership and integration at the Arab level‭, ‬a fact which was highlighted by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan‭, ‬Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi‭, ‬Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces‭, ‬at the First SECC meeting in June 2018‭, ‬when he said‭, ‬“We have a historic opportunity to create an exceptional model for Arab integration‭. ‬It is through integration‭, ‬inter-dependence‭ ‬and unity that we can defend our achievements‭, ‬strengthen our economies and build a better future for our people‭ ‬‮…‬We form the biggest Arab economies‭, ‬keep the armies with the latest weapons‭, ‬maintain the same social texture and we are building a better future for our people whose youth form the majority and aspire to giant development steps in the two countries‭.‬”26
Though SECC was illustrated by some as an attempt by both nations to marginalise GCC‭, ‬SECC forms‭, ‬in essence‭, ‬the foundation for‭ ‬common Gulf action‭. ‬This was expressed by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan‭, ‬Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi‭, ‬Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces‭, ‬at First SECC meeting‭, ‬by noting that‭ ‬“The UAE and Saudi Arabian economies account for trillion-dollar-worth Gross Domestic Product plus‭ $‬150‭ ‬billion in total infrastructure projects‭, ‬which provides exceptional opportunities for cooperation”‭.‬27
UAE-KSA Relations‭ ‬–‭ ‬Exponents‭, ‬Runs and Constants
1‭.‬The relations between the UAE and Saudi Arabia are based on exponents‭, ‬runs and constants that guarantee their strength‭, ‬sustainability and ability to grow in various fields despite the remarkable changes in regional and international environments‭. ‬These‭ ‬are‭:‬
Faith in Unity
The UAE and Saudi Arabia offer two successful unity experiences in the region‭. ‬The late Sheikh Zayed brought the Emirates under‭ ‬one flag in 1971‭ ‬and established a strong nation based on unity‭. ‬On the Saudi side‭, ‬the late King Abdul Aziz Al Saudi managed to‭ ‬unify‭ ‬“large‭, ‬culturally diversified areas to form one homogenous nation‭: ‬the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia”‭.‬28
2‭. ‬It created a consensus between the two nations on the vitality of unity at the Gulf level‭, ‬by boosting joint Gulf action across GCC‭, ‬at the Arab level by joint Arab action across the Arab League and at the local level by helping unified nations abort attempts to undermine their unity‭. ‬This was made evident by UAE and Saudi Arabian policies towards Yemen‭, ‬Iraq‭, ‬Lebanon‭, ‬Libya and‭ ‬other nations whose home unity was undermined by religious or sectarian militias‭.‬
Faith in Common Destiny and‭ ‬“one Trench”
The UAE and Saudi Arabia believe that their special relations are based on a common target‭, ‬destiny and‭ ‬“one trench”‭ ‬to counter challenges and threats‭. ‬This was eloquently‭, ‬and rightfully indeed‭, ‬expressed by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed‭, ‬Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi‭, ‬Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces‭, ‬when he said at the second session of the Saudi-UAE Coordination Council‭ (‬SUCC‭) ‬in Abu Dhabi in November 2019‭, ‬with Prince Mohammed bin Salman‭, ‬Saudi Crown Prince‭, ‬attending‭: ‬“The UAE-Saudi Arabian relations are not only historical and strategic‭, ‬but also ones of blood and common destiny”‭. ‬The same idea was reiterated by Prince Mohammed bin Salman who noted that‭ ‬“The staunch relations between the leaders and peoples of the two nations are based on rock-solid foundation and a long history of cooperation and policies towards the region and the world”‭.‬29‭ ‬In September 2019‭, ‬His Highness Mohammed bin Zayed said‭ ‬“The UAE and Saudi Arabia follow one-trench partnership in the face of ensuing challenges‮…‬‭ ‬Our common goal is to maintain security in Saudi Arabia and the UAE‮…‬‭ ‬We have a common destiny and common future”‭.‬30
3‭. ‬This faith in common destiny is a baseline for bilateral relations and makes both regard their security a priority‭. ‬His Highness Mohammed bin Zayed said after the attack on Saudi oil facilities in September 2019‭: ‬“Security is part and parcel for both the UAE and Saudi Arabia”‭.‬31
Mutual Appreciation
1‭. ‬While Saudi Arabia takes the UAE as a pivotal nation in the region and a main player in joint Gulf and Arab actions‭, ‬the UAE‭ ‬takes Saudi Arabia as a cornerstone of regional security and stability‭, ‬and a dependable anchor for the Gulf and the Arabs in times of need‭. ‬This attitude was embodied by the statements of His Highness Mohammed bin Zayed on various occasions‭. ‬He said‭, ‬“The UAE has always believed that Saudi Arabia is a tent pole for the‭ ‬Gulf and the Arabs‭, ‬that its security and stability is security and stability for the UAE‭, ‬GCC member states and other Arab nations”‭.‬32‭ ‬On another occasion His Highness noted that‭ ‬“Sisterly Saudi Arabia is a cornerstone of regional security and stability‭, ‬and a safety valve to face ensuing dangers and threats”‭.‬33
Clarity of Vision
2‭. ‬The UAE and Saudi Arabia share clarity of vision internally and externally‭. ‬Internally‭, ‬they serve their people and achieve all-out development‭. ‬Externally‭, ‬both aim at peace‭, ‬security and stability at the Gulf‭, ‬Arab and international levels‭.‬
Effective Economic Partnership
Bilateral relations rest on a solid basis of economic interests rather than emotions and good intentions‭. ‬Statistics indicate that Saudi Arabia was the first trade partner at Arab level and third globally in 2018‭, ‬with non-oil trade exchange amounting to DH 107.4‭ ‬billion and 6.6%‭ ‬of total UAE foreign trade‭, ‬compared to fourth position as international trade partner in 2017‭.‬34
Meantime‭, ‬UAE’s investments in Saudi Arabia amounted to DH 34‭ ‬billion‭, ‬against DH 16‭ ‬billion of direct Saudi investments in the UAE‭. ‬Saudi Arabia came second as the most important tourist market to the UAE in 2018‭. ‬National carriers in both nations operate 651‭ ‬flights weekly‭, ‬i.e‭. ‬one flight every 15‭ ‬minutes‭.‬35‭ ‬
UAE Minister of Economy‭, ‬Sultan bin Said Al Mansouri‭, ‬affirmed in September 2019‭ ‬that the volume of UAE-Saudi non-oil trade exchange amounted to DH 417‭ ‬billion in the past five years‭.‬36
Meanwhile‭, ‬the UAE is the top Arab trade partner with Saudi Arabia and the second globally and accounts for 10%‭ ‬of total Saudi non-oil trade exchange with the world and 50%‭ ‬of its trade exchange with the Arab countries‭. ‬The UAE comes second globally and first across Arabia in terms of Saudi non-oil exports‭, ‬thus holding 13%‭ ‬of Saudi exports to the world and 40%‭ ‬of its exports to the Arab world‭. ‬The UAE comes third globally and first in the region in terms of Saudi non-oil imports‭, ‬thus accounting for 8%‭ ‬of‭ ‬its world imports and 59%‭ ‬of its Arab imports‭.‬37
3‭. ‬The Saudi-UAE Coordination Council‭ (‬SUCC‭) ‬is a game-changer in economic cooperation and development between the two countries‭.‬
Resolve and Determination
4‭. ‬UAE-Saudi Arabia policies‭, ‬however wise‭, ‬poised and for peace and stability‭, ‬are still firm‭, ‬resolute and determined whenever‭ ‬regional security is under threat‭. ‬This was clear vis-à-vis the Houthi control of Yemen‭. ‬Both nations have never hesitated to intervene militarily when they sensed a serious threat to the security of Saudi Arabia‭, ‬the Gulf or the Arab world‭. ‬
Unbreakable Public Bond
The people of the UAE and Saudi Arabia are bound by affection‭, ‬brotherhood and rapport‭, ‬feelings made public especially on national events‭.‬
It is these constants that make the UAE and Saudi Arabian relations impregnable and hard to break or undermine‭. ‬

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