UAE, Saudi hold first meeting of the two-nation council

The two countries had formed a separate military and trade partnership amid the GCC rift.

    The two countries announced their partnership in December last year [Reuters]
    The two countries announced their partnership in December last year [Reuters]

    Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have held the first meeting of their new military and trade alliance that is separate from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

    Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Wednesday evening in Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah.

    The two countries formed the partnership in December last year amid an ongoing regional rift that has divided members of the GCC council – a political and economic alliance of six countries that includes Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait and Oman.

    On June 5 last year, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar, sparking the biggest diplomatic crisis in the Gulf in years.

    Land and maritime borders with the Gulf country were closed, air links suspended and Qatari citizens expelled.

    Accusing Doha of supporting "terrorists" and being too close to Saudi Arabia's region rival Iran, Riyadh said it acted to "protect its national security from the dangers of terrorism and extremism".

    Qatar has repeatedly rejected the accusations levelled against it, viewing the campaign as an attempt to impose custodianship over the nation. It has called the allegations "baseless".

    The partnership between the two countries, which militarily intervened in neighbouring Yemen in an attempt to drive out Houthi rebels, was announced during the 38th GCC summit in Kuwait City.

    The two-day key regional summit was cut short and concluded after a closed session that kicked off the conference.

    At the time, regional expert Majed al-Ansari from Qatar University said: "It seems that there is an intention by the by the Saudis and Emiratis, especially with the timing of the announcement [of the new partnership] ... to say that the GCC is effectively dead."

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    World Cup 2018 quiz: How big a football fan are you?

    World Cup 2018 quiz: How big a football fan are you?

    Answer as many correct questions in 90 seconds to win the World Cup with your favourite team.

    The shocking story of Israel's disappeared babies

    The shocking story of Israel's disappeared babies

    New information has come to light about thousands of mostly Yemeni children believed to have been abducted in the 1950s.

    Stories from the sex trade

    Stories from the sex trade

    Dutch sex workers, pimps and johns share their stories.