UAE and Saudi Arabia form new alliance

The King Abdullah Financial District in Riyadh. The United Arab Emirates said on Dec 5, 2017, that it was forming a new military and economic committee with Saudi Arabia.
The King Abdullah Financial District in Riyadh. The United Arab Emirates said on Dec 5, 2017, that it was forming a new military and economic committee with Saudi Arabia.PHOTO: REUTERS

ABU DHABI (AFP) - The United Arab Emirates (UAE) said on Tuesday (Dec 5) that it was forming a new military and economic committee with Saudi Arabia, separate from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

The move comes with Kuwait hosting a two-day summit of the GCC, which is riven by divisions after Saudi Arabia and its allies cut ties with Qatar earlier this year.

The committee "will co-ordinate between the two countries in all military, political, economic, trade and cultural fields", according to a decree issued by UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.

There was no immediate confirmation from Saudi authorities.

The two countries are close military allies, including in Yemen where a Saudi-led coalition is battling Iran-backed rebels.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain, together with Egypt, cut all ties with Qatar on June 5, accusing the gas-rich emirate of supporting Islamist extremists and of being too close to Shiite Iran, Riyadh's arch-rival.

Qatar denies the allegations.

Mediation efforts led by Kuwait have failed to resolve what is the worst crisis to hit the Gulf Cooperation Council in its 36-year history, casting serious doubts over the future of the six-state alliance.