The UAE on Dec 5, 2017announced it has formed a new economic and partnership group with Saudi Arabia, separate from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), a move that could undermine the council amid a diplomatic crisis with Qatar.
The new "joint cooperation committee" was approved by the UAE's ruler and President, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nayhan.
Saudi Arabia did not immediately comment on the new partnership.
It wasn't immediately clear how the development could affect the six-member GCC meeting, which is expected to focus on the Qatar issue. Half of the GCC members are boycotting Doha.
The Emirati Ministry said the new "committee is assigned to cooperate and coordinate between the UAE and Saudi Arabia in all military, political, economic, trade and cultural fields, as well as others, in the interest of the two countries."
The UAE and Saudi Arabia have cultivated even-closer ties in recent years.
Emirati troops are deeply involved in the Saudi-led war in Yemen. Abu Dhabi's powerful Crown Prince, Mohammad bin Zayed al-Nayhan, also is believed to have a closer relationship with Saudi Arabia's young Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The Emirati announcement did not say whether any other Gulf Arab countries would be invited to join the new group.GCC: Know More
- The Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf or Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), is a regional intergovernmental political and economic union consisting of all Arab states of the Persian Gulf, except for Iraq.
- Its member states are Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
- The Charter of the Gulf Cooperation Council was signed on 25 May 1981, formally eslishing the institution.
- All current member states are monarchies, including three constitutional monarchies (Qatar, Kuwait, and Bahrain), two absolute monarchies (Saudi Arabia and Oman), and one federal monarchy (the United Arab Emirates, which is composed of seven member states, each of which is an absolute monarchy with its own emir).
- There have been discussions regarding the future membership of Jordan, Morocco, and Yemen.