Abu Dhabi, Asharq Al-Awsat—A high-level Saudi delegation concluded its tour of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states in Abu Dhabi on Thursday, meeting with UAE leadership to unite Gulf stances ahead of a critical GCC meeting on Saturday.
The Gulf tour, which included visits to Doha and Manama, came within the framework of the Kingdom’s “last-minute diplomacy” to solve the ongoing rift within the GCC over Qatar.
The delegation which consisted of Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal, intelligence chief Prince Khalid Bin Bandar and Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdelaziz was received by UAE Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
The two sides discussed ways of strengthening bilateral cooperation to serve common strategic interests, calling for more joint GCC action. Saudi and Emirate officials also discussed recent political developments in the region, not least the diplomatic crisis that has emerged within the GCC over Qatar. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE have accused Doha of failing to respect the Riyadh Agreement, a security pact drawn up by the GCC member states last year.
The Saudi delegation transferred the greetings and good wishes of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz to UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. For his part, UAE Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan transferred the greetings and good wishes of UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed to the Saudi delegation and King Abdullah.
The Saudi Press Agency (SPA) confirmed the two delegations discussed ways of “enhancing and developing relations between Saudi Arabia and the UAE in all fields to serve the joint strategic interests between the two countries and peoples in light of the two leaderships’ permanent keenness of enhancing aspects of bilateral cooperation, consultation and coordination.”
“They also discussed the march of the GCC Member States and the two countries’ keenness to enhance GCC joint action, supporting stances in the interest of GCC unity for the benefit of the GCC peoples in combating dangers and challenges,” the SPA report added.
The visit comes ahead of a critical GCC ministerial meeting on Saturday in Jeddah. The meeting will discuss ways to contain the recent crisis within GCC over Doha’s lack of compliance with the laws and regulations of the council.