Riyadh, December 5: The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia on Tuesday launched a new military and trade partnership which is separate from the Gulf Cooperation Council. The move comes amid heightened tensions within the GCC, a political and economic alliance of six countries that includes Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait and Oman.
Notably, the UAE foreign ministry made an announcement ahead of a council meeting in Kuwait, saying it was approved by the UAE's ruler and president, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nayhan. He 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.
However, there has been no confirmation of the new partnership from the Saudi Arabia so far. The two powers of Gulf are working closely with Bahrain and Egypt against Qatar. The Arab quartet including UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain launched a trade and travel embargo against fellow member Qatar, accusing Doha of sponsoring terrorism.
This massive crisis has driven the GCC to the brink of collapse as Saudi Arabia, the UAE and seeks to isolate Doha, which has had to turn to Turkey, Iran and Oman to sustain imports. The GCC has faced an unprecedented crisis over the past six months amid a Saudi-led blockade of Qatar. Representatives of the six countries were meeting in Kuwait on Tuesday for the council's annual summit.
Interestingly, in the month of June this year, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt and several other nations cut ties with Qatar and imposed stringent economic sanctions on it over supporting extremism. On the other side, Qatar denied all their allegations saying that they never supported Islamist militants and Shi'ite Iran. Later, Saudi and its allies issued a 13-point list of demands to end the rift on June 22 and gave Qatar 10 days to comply. However, earlier Qatar rejected to fulfill the demands.