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The Saudi Arabia-UAE divide becomes public

  • Published
    22nd Aug, 2023


The Saudi Crown Prince was irked by the absence of the UAE ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed (MbZ), for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit meeting with the visiting Chinese President, Xi Jinping.

Relation overview

  • Strategic partners- The two royals bonded their countries as strategic partners. They were partners in the war in Yemen, worked together to strengthen al­Sisi’s regime in Egypt, and viewed Iran as a regional threat.
  • Role in Sudan- In 2019, they also subverted the nascent democratic process in Sudan by backing the armed forces against the civilian Prime Minister.
  • Competition rather than cooperation- In future, Competition rather than cooperation is likely to de?ne the ties between the two neighbours in political, economic and logistical areas.

Difference between the two countries

  • Rejected OPEC+ Proposal- In July 2017, the UAE abruptly rejected the proposal to cut oil production put forward by “OPEC +”
  • Dumping Arab Peace Initiative - The UAE also normalised ties with Israel in August 2020, thus publicly dumping the Saudi Sponsored Arab Peace Initiative
  • Backing different government- In Sudan, the two Gulf neighbours are now backing di?erent generals while the kingdom supports Army chief al­Burhan, the UAE is backing militia leader Dagalo, thus prolonging the destructive civil con?ict.
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