The UAE and Saudi Arabia are creating their own bilateral cooperation council, UAE state media has reported.
UAE president Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed has issued a resolution creating a joint committee for cooperation and coordination between the two countries. The committee will work on military, political, economic, trade and cultural cooperation, among other things.
The committee will be jointly chaired by Khalifa bin Zayed and UAE deputy prime minister Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed and will have “all the powers necessary for carrying out and executing its work”, state news agency WAM reported.
There has been no official announcement from Saudi Arabia.
The committee will be separate from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which is holding its 38th summit in Kuwait this week.
Saudi and the UAE were both key instigators of the ongoing blockade of Qatar, which is also a GCC member and has pledged to attend this week’s meeting despite the continuing tensions. Qatar’s foreign minister met with his Gulf counterparts yesterday, ahead of the official start of the summit today.
Nonetheless, the announcement of closer bilateral relations between Saudi and the UAE could exacerbate tensions.
Bahrain, another GCC member, threatened last month not to attend the GCC summit if Qatar was represented at the meeting.
The UAE is also major partner in the Saudi-led coalition currently involved in the conflict in Yemen, which saw the country’s ex-president killed this week.
Separately, Qatar’s finance minister has outlined a budget that aims to make the besieged country more self-sufficient.
Finance minister Ali Sherif al-Emadi said Qatar’s 2018 budget would focus on developing local industries and the private sector with subsidies being use to boost growth, Reuters reported.
He added that Qatar expected to be completely self-sufficient in dairy production by next June.
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