The Crown Prince and de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, held a meeting on Wednesday with the Sheikh and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed bin Zayed, in the Saudi city of Jeddah. At the meeting, the two sides reviewed the current state of their bilateral relations and reinforced the points in common in view of the new scenario facing the region amid speculation about the rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Mohammed bin Salman received his Emirati counterpart at King Abdulaziz International Airport, a scene filled with flags of both states as a sign of fraternity, accompanied by the top brass of his cabinet and a plethora of Saudi officials. Once on the ground, the two groups travelled to the royal palace of Al-Salam, where the meeting took place.
The Emirati delegation included National Security Adviser Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed al-Nahyan, Deputy Secretary-General of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Mohammed Hammad al-Shamsi and his number two, Mohamed Mubarak al-Mazrouei. The UAE Ambassador to the Kingdom, Sheikh Nahyan bin Saif bin Mohamed al-Nahyan, was also present.
Among the Kingdom's representatives were Prince and Minister of State Turki bin Mohamed bin Fahd al-Saud; Prince and Deputy Defence Minister Khalid bin Salman; Prince and Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan; and, ultimately, National Security Adviser Musaed Mohammed al-Aiban.
The Emirati crown prince, who also serves as supreme commander of the UAE Armed Forces, highlighted the "strong and long-standing ties of brotherhood" between Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Mohammed bin Zayed further stressed that these are based "on mutual love, kinship and common interests" and that the two nations are an indispensable element in "promoting stability, security and prosperity in the region".
The list of compliments did not end there. He added that relations between the UAE and Saudi Arabia "are steadily flourishing under the guidance of your leadership and your conviction that the current challenges besetting the region and the entire world require cooperation and acceleration of joint efforts to ensure the greater good of the people of your countries and the entire region".
The leaders have sought to stage the excellent state of diplomatic relations between them in a message to other Middle Eastern actors. The Kingdom and the UAE are close foreign policy allies, and share a common roadmap on the geopolitical stage. The latest demonstrations have been the joint fight against the Muslim Brotherhood and the stabilisation of relations with Qatar during the Al-Ula summit.
Not all operations have coincided, however. Unlike Saudi Arabia, the UAE was a signatory to the Abraham Accords for the normalisation of relations with Israel. In Yemen they have also held divergent positions, with the UAE backing the southern separatist movement, Al-Hirak.
A possible understanding between Iran and Saudi Arabia would usher in a new period in the region, possibly characterised by stability. However, both sides intend to drag their neighbours along with them and keep them under their aegis in order to impose their conditions for the new scenario. The visit of the Emirati crown prince, a priori one of the Kingdom's main partners, is part of this alliance game.
Bin Zayed himself took it upon himself to emphasise this on Twitter: "During a meeting today with my brother, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in Jeddah, we discussed our strategic relations and common goals. We also exchanged views on a number of regional and international issues and explored our enhanced cooperation for the stability of our region".