UAE-Saudi relations: An exemplary paradigm standing on solid, sincere foundations

Nahyan bin Saif bin Mohammed Al Nahyan

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First, I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to the UAE’s wise leadership for appointing me as the Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the beloved Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. On this occasion, I pledge to work diligently to strengthen bilateral relations and to leave no stone unturned in the journey forward, in order to find new horizons for cooperation for the good of both nations and their people.

The UAE, under the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and Saudi Arabia, under the leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques His Majesty King Salman bin Abdulaziz, have a distinguished long-standing history of strong relations stemming from their deep fraternal bonds and the fact that they share a common destiny. Saudi-Emirati relations have become a unique exemplary model for solid fraternal ties, good neighborliness, and common interests. It is difficult to fully sum up the unique bond that unites these two nations with a few aspects. Year after year, this fraternal bond grows and deepens through ceaseless joint efforts and diverse partnerships.

With each passing day, UAE-Saudi relations are solidified and enriched further, with both sides setting higher aspirations for broader achievements and positive outcomes that serve the interests of the people of both nations. This devotion towards mutual development and growth stems from the keenness of UAE and Saudi leaderships to establish deeper ties, as well as their clear vision to unite their people with the aim of offering both nations more promising prospects across all fields.

There is no denying that UAE-Saudi interests and goals have always been interwoven, and each country represents a vital strategic partner for the other. In this context, I am reminded of an important sentiment shared by Prince Khalid Al Faisal, who believes that Saudi citizens are within their hearts Emiratis as well, and all Emirati citizens are also within their hearts Saudis. This sentiment summarizes the depth of the relationship that connects the two countries.

The exceptional fraternal ties and long-standing cooperation between the two countries should serve as a strong guarantee ensuring national security in particular, and the security and stability of the Gulf and Arab region in general, especially since both neighboring countries share the same views on regional issues. Both countries have long intensified their joint efforts to address the challenges facing them, the most important of which is addressing the threat of extremism and terrorism and standing in the face of all powers and parties that support terrorism in our region, as well as putting an end to foreign interference in the affairs of the countries of the region.

UAE-Saudi cooperation has formed an impenetrable shield standing in the way of all those with nefarious agendas and protecting the strategic interests of the Gulf and Arab states. This cooperation has become an optimal example in utilizing resources and capabilities in order to safeguard mutual interests and address dangers and strategic threats.

Furthermore, the combined efforts of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have contributed to enhancing the region's security and stability, especially since both countries have a long history rich with various initiatives to settle Arab disputes or support Arab countries. The two countries have also actively participated in regional and international efforts aimed at confronting extremism and terrorism, especially with regard to addressing the cultural and intellectual aspects that promote such mindsets. These efforts have been recognized and appreciated by the international community. It is also worth noting that the major leaps Saudi Arabia has been achieving during these years thanks to its wise leadership have contributed to strengthening its Arab, regional and global position at all levels.

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed. (WAM)
Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed. (WAM)

Coordination between the UAE and Saudi Arabia shall remain ongoing at even the highest levels, because they both present a strategic basis providing the necessary support for the other. The establishment of a Saudi-UAE joint supreme committee in May 2014 confirms the leadership's keenness in both countries to institutionalize these relations.

For the same purposes, the Saudi-Emirati Coordination Council was established through an agreement between the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in May 2016 under the directives of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz. In the interest of strengthening the ties between the two countries, and their desire to intensify bilateral cooperation through continuous consultation and coordination in the fields of economy, human development, as well as political, security and military integration.

Since its establishment, the Council has held a number of meetings and workshops that have resulted in the launch of a variety of development projects. These projects have effectively contributed to strengthening the cooperation between the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in several fields, including energy, finance, investment, housing, economy, education and tourism, as well as future technologies and fields, with the aim of devising solutions and maximizing the utilization of the resources and unlocking the great potential that the two countries since they have one of the largest and most influential regional and global economies.

In June 2018, the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia intensified bilateral relations to unprecedented levels. This included the formulation of a common vision for economic, developmental, and military integration between the two countries through 44 joint strategic projects as part of the "Strategy of Resolve" which was planned over 12 months by 350 Emirati and Saudi officials from 139 governmental, political and military entities.

The bonds between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the UAE are embodied in the humanitarian work and coordination between them in this regard. Providing humanitarian relief and assistance to many crisis-stricken countries in the region, through the Saudi-Emirati cooperation, reflects the outstanding nature of the long-established relations between the two countries. There is no denying the broad Saudi-UAE coordination in various political and humanitarian issues which reflects their keenness to alleviate the suffering of neighboring countries, and at the same time affirms their leading role in terms of humanitarian action.

The two countries were keen to coordinate the provision of joint assistance, sending a message that reflects the extent of understanding and coordination between them in light of their unified purpose and mission based on their long-established relations. This has been particularly true regarding their humanitarian aid in Yemen, in coordination with the United Nations, which helped support millions of people in need, as a testament to the exemplary humanitarian values of both countries.

Last year, through its exceptional leadership of the G20 summit in which the UAE participated, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has succeeded in establishing a successful response plan to the (Covid-19) pandemic on a global scale. It has also succeeded in achieving the desired balance between preserving public health and maintaining a healthy economy in cooperation with the G20 and achieving these goals on a global level by empowering individuals, preserving the planet, and shaping new horizons.

In this article, I would like to congratulate the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz, and the Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister of Defense of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, on the success of the summit, as it contributed to addressing the most important and prominent issues of the region and the world.

As I embark on my journey as the ambassador of my beloved country in my second home, Saudi Arabia, I am optimistic and enthusiastic to build upon the bonds that exist between the two countries, and to strengthen them even further and deepen the relations among the people of the two nations.

This article was originally published in, and translated from, the pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat.

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