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Iran Press TV

UAE says forming new bloc with Saudi Arabia separate from GCC

Iran Press TV

Tue Dec 5, 2017 04:34PM

The UAE and Saudi Arabia are forming a new all-out alliance as the existing crisis in the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has cast doubt over the future of the Arab bloc.

UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan announced the news of the formation of the alliance in a decree issued on Tuesday, noting that the new committee will function separately from the GCC.

The committee "will coordinate between the two countries in all military, political, economic, trade and cultural fields," the decree said.

The announcement came on the same day that the six Arab member states of the GCC held their summit in Kuwait City amid their ongoing dispute with Qatar.

Back on June 5, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates imposed a trade and diplomatic embargo on Qatar, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism, an allegation strongly denied by Doha.

Later in June, the boycotting states issued a list of demands for Qatar to meet in order for the dispute to be resolved, but Doha has refused to comply with them, slamming the demands as an attack on its sovereignty. In return, the four feuding countries vowed to impose further sanctions on Doha.

A number of attempts to heal the rift have so far been made, but all to no avail, including those of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Kuwaiti Emir Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, whose country has been playing the role of a key mediator since the beginning of the crisis.

While Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani accepted an invitation to attend the GCC summit just hours before the talks on Tuesday, the kings of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain as well as the president of the UAE refused to take part in person.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, the Bahraini deputy premier and the Emirati state minister for foreign affairs represented their countries at the summit.

On Monday, the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia and Qatar attended round-table talks in their first such encounter since the diplomatic crisis began in June.

Omani Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Yussef bin Alawi sat between them at the meeting which was also attended by the foreign ministers of the UAE, Bahrain and Kuwait.

Apart from the diplomatic crisis with Qatar, the GCC's future is also threatened due to the Arab bloc's failure to implement its long-delayed plans for economic unity, including a customs union, a common market, a single currency and a single central bank.

Despite the existing crises, Kuwait's Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Sabah said on Monday that the GCC member states are still determined to preserve the bloc.

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