JEDDAH, June 6, 2018 – HRH Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defence of Saudi Arabia, and HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, chaired the first meeting of the Saudi-Emirati Coordination Council in Jeddah on Wednesday night.
The debut meeting served to announce the Council’s organisational structure, which was formed to strengthen bilateral cooperation on issues of mutual concern and to follow up the implementation of allocated projects and programs. The Council wants to showcase its vision of the two countries in the areas of economy, human development, and political and military security integration, and the well-being of the societies of the two countries.
The Saudi-Emirati Coordination Council provides the ideal model for bilateral cooperation between countries while supporting the Gulf Cooperation Council joint work system. The Council – which endorsed the “Strategy of Resolve” — was established as part of an agreement between the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia in May 2016, under the guidance of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, and His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of UAE.
The Council will coordinate the implementation of joint initiatives, which will have a positive impact on job creation, growth in gross domestic product (GDP) and increased investment between the two countries.
The Council aims to develop a common vision that will deepen and sustain the relations between the two countries in line with the objectives of the Gulf Cooperation Council. It will also enhance the integrated economic systems of the two countries and find innovative solutions for optimal utilisation of existing resources while building an effective and integrated educational system based on the strong points of the two countries. It also aims to enhance cooperation and integration between the two countries in the political, security and military realm, in order to enhance the security of both countries. The measures are to be taken after scientific study determines the best methods and trajectory.
At the end of the meeting, HRH Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, and HH Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, signed the minutes of the first meeting of the Saudi-Emirati Coordination Council.
The Council includes 16 ministers from high priority sectors in both countries, including: from the Saudi side: Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Nayef Al Saud, Minister of Interior; Prince Badr bin Abdullah Al-Farhan Al Saud, Minister of Culture; and HE Mohamed Al Tuwaijri, Minister of Economy and Planning; HE Dr. Majid Bin Abdullah Al Qasabi, Minister of Commerce and Investment; HE Adel bin Ahmed Al Jubair, Minister of Foreign Affairs; HE, Eng. Khalid bin Abdulaziz Al Falih, Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources; HE Ahmed bin Aqeel Al Khatib, Chairman of the General Entertainment Authority; His Excellency Mohamed bin Abdullah Jadaan, Minister of Finance; and HE Yasir Al-Rumayyan, Chief Executive and Managing Director of the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF).
From the UAE side, the Council’s members are HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister; HE Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy; HE Dr. Anwar bin Mohammed Qarqash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs; HE Obaid Bin Humaid Al Tayer, Minister of State for Financial Affairs; HE Hussain Ibrahim Al Hammadi, Minister of Education; HE Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of State; and HE Ali bin Hammad Al Shamsi, Deputy Secretary General of the Supreme National Security Council.
To ensure an effective implementation of the opportunities for cooperation and partnership within the Council, and to establish a clear performance measurement mechanism to ensure the plan’s sustainability and the initiative’s success, an executive committee was set up under the chairmanship of HE Mohammed Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and the Future of the United Arab Emirates, and HE Mohammad Al Tuwaijri on the Saudi side, in order to intensify bilateral cooperation on priority topics and to identify the progress of joint initiatives and projects.
Strategy of Resolve
Government officials from various fields worked for 12 months to prepare the “Strategy of Resolve”. The Strategy outlines three main pillars: economic; human and knowledge; and political, security and military.
The Council set a timeframe of five years to implement the projects outlined in the strategy.
The strategy aims to create an exceptional model of integration and cooperation between the two countries through the implementation of joint strategic projects to enhance the contentment and prosperity of the people of the two countries. The strategy comprises three main pillars: economic; human and knowledge; and political, security and military, as well as 60 joint projects out of 175 total initiatives.
The Strategy also protects the interests of both countries and creates new opportunities for the two peoples. During the Wednesday night meeting, a number of joint projects were announced, including a unified strategy for food security, a unified plan for medical stocks, a common supply security system and joint investment in oil, gas and petrochemicals. The Strategy of Resolve also includes a plan to establish an agricultural investment company with a capital of 5 billion dirhams, a joint venture fund for renewable energy and a third investment fund for small and medium enterprises. The strategy will also facilitate the flow of traffic in ports, build a unified industrial database, empower the banking sector in both countries, harmonise economic procedures and legislations and create a joint council to coordinate foreign investments.
The areas of cooperation identified by the Strategy of Resolve also include security and military cooperation and integration, coordination of foreign military assistance and standardisation in the military industry sector. The two sides will work on activating the joint manufacturing industries, implementing the electric linkage project, launching joint housing and financing services and solutions, establishing a joint center for the development of desalination technologies, cooperation in the management of infrastructure projects, and cooperate in the development of modern financial technology techniques.
A total of 20 memorandums of understanding were signed during the first meeting of the joint coordination council to enhance Saudi-UAE cooperation in various fields. A number of strategic projects were launched, and the structure of the Council was announced. The Council will follow up on the implementation of projects within the defined timeframe.
The first meeting of the Saudi-Emirati Coordination Council
The first meeting of the Saudi-Emirati Coordination Council comes within the framework of cooperation between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The goal is to consolidate the brotherly relations between the two countries and the desire to intensify bilateral cooperation and integration through continuous consultation and coordination in various fields. Based on the directives of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, and His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, the Saudi-Emirati Coordination Council was established in May 2016 to achieve common objectives and to enhance the work of the GCC.
Projects of the Strategy of Resolve
On the sidelines of the first meeting of the Saudi-Emirati Coordination Council, the UAE signed 20 memorandums of understanding with Saudi Arabia to kick-start the implementation phase of various projects. The projects represent a new phase in the cooperation between the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
The Strategy of Resolve includes strategic projects for each of the three main pillars, and represent a new phase in the Saudi-Emirati relations. The economic pillar aims at strengthening the two countries’ integrated economic systems and finding innovative solutions for optimal utilisation of existing resources. The economic axis focuses on the following areas: financial services and markets; logistics and infrastructure; production and industry; security of supplies; customs union and common market; environment, agriculture and water; renewable energy; tourism and national heritage; business leadership; foreign partnerships; government development and government services; housing; youth and sports; and oil, gas and petrochemicals.
The economic pillar outlines a number of joint projects between the two countries, including:
· Launching the policy of empowering the banking sector to enable branches of banks in the two countries to enhance their business and benefit from the available growth opportunities, and facilitate work procedures in both countries.
· Exchange of experiences in the field of modern financial technology to identify opportunities and challenges.
· Sharing experiences in the insurance sector to improve and support insurance markets in terms of products, pricing and regulatory mechanisms.
· Sharing experiences in infrastructure management.
· Sharing experiences in the field of safety and road maintenance.
· Establishment of a joint investment fund to invest in small- and medium-sized enterprises of the emerging industrial sectors in partnership with the private sector.
· Activate value-added manufacturing industries in combination with existing industries to support manufacturing industries and implement them through small and medium enterprises in the fields of iron, aluminum and petrochemicals.
· Building a precise and standardised industrial database as well as standardisation of coding systems for industrial goods and services.
· Conduct a joint exercise between the two parties to test the supply security system in key sectors.
· Develop a strategic medical stock plan, establish a joint plant for the manufacture of sensitive medical drugs, and establish a joint reference laboratory to achieve safety standards in this field and exchange experiences, cadres and medical staff in the field of emergency and crisis.
· Joint cooperation in the field of taxation.
· Facilitate the exercise of economic activities and exchange of investment opportunities through the establishment of a dedicated office to facilitate economic activities, and the establishment of a unified electronic portal linking the two countries to follow-up on complaints and suggestions concerning the common customs and markets.
· Facilitate the flow of traffic in the ports by addressing the obstacles facing the flow of traffic and trade across borders and proposing solutions.
· Establishing a joint venture company for agricultural investment, with a capital of 5 billion UAE dirhams, to contribute to the provision of imported commodities to both countries and achieve sustainable food security.
· Adopting a unified strategy for food security in both countries to harness productive resources (agriculture, livestock and fisheries) and work on joint strategic projects to enhance future food security of the two countries.
· Establishment of a research center to develop and localise desalination technologies, to study the application of desalination techniques and the conversion of moisture into water using renewable energy and to consider the utilisation of thermal energy for evaporation and desalination processes.
· Establishment of a Council for Environmental Excellence to protect the environment and wildlife between the two countries, for the purpose of unifying environmental efforts and international positions and standardising the linking and monitoring processes in various environmental fields.
· Establishment of the Saudi-Emirati Investment Fund for Renewable Energy to attract large and startup companies and support them in funding research and development projects.
· Implementation of the Gulf electrical interconnection system, in order to benefit from the energy production capacity of both countries.
· Exchange of experiences and expertise in the nuclear energy sector.
· The launch of a common vision and identity for tourism and national heritage of the two countries, in order to attract more tourists to the region and to develop programmes to optimise the potential of tourism in both countries.
· Harmonisation of regulations, procedures and legislation between the two countries for entrepreneurship and small and medium enterprises.
· The establishment of an investment advisory board, with the aim of cooperation and transfer of knowledge in the field of foreign investment and coordination, and the development and expansion of relations and networks in the investment community.
· Cooperation in creating investment opportunities in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
· Develop government services, transfer knowledge between the two countries, and identify development opportunities for the legal and procedural structure.
· Develop the security of government services, through the formation of a joint team, to respond, build capacity, and deal with the electronic security of government services.
· Developing knowledge exchange platforms for educational and training services.
· Launching the innovative housing solutions programme to reduce / eliminate restrictions (legislative, financing and procedural) that slow the development of housing services, and reduce the challenges facing the sector.
· Launching the residential welfare programme for the citizens of the two countries, with the aim of stimulating and motivating the financing agencies to provide integrated housing products to citizens, attracting modern construction techniques and encouraging local manufacturing, as well as developing the necessary legislations and guarantees to stimulate the residential sector.
· International joint investment in the oil, gas and petrochemical sector.
· Cooperate in applications to convert carbon dioxide into petroleum products.
· Cooperation in the research and development of various applications related to the oil, gas and petrochemical sector.
The human and knowledge pillar aims to create an effective and integrated educational system for both countries to prepare highly qualified generations of citizens. It focuses on the following fields: higher education, research cooperation, public education and technical education.
Projects in this pillar include:
· Cooperation between institutions of higher education through the development of a joint plan to promote common programmes between Saudi and UAE universities to enable students to benefit from educational institutions in both countries.
· Developing early childhood policy, with the aim of building common early childhood standards that are consistent with international standards.
· Launching the digital education system, which includes a complete digital file for each student (academic, health, etc.) that enables him/her to explore the future of each career sector and set expectations for the learner’s academic and professional path based on artificial intelligence systems.
· Establishing the Saudi-Emirati Committee for Technical Education Policy, which is responsible for the harmonisation of strategies, standards and professional qualifications between the two countries. The policy will also provide databases for future training needs and sharing experiences in public and private sector partnerships.
· Establishing a virtual college to provide appropriate technical disciplines, aiming to create a global Arab smart platform that includes training programmes and materials (project management, industrial safety and inspection training), virtual exercises (such as special exercises for people with special needs), and technical and vocational qualifications required by the labor market in both countries.
· Promote innovation in technical education by creating a common platform that includes innovations and creations.
The cooperation in the political, security and military pillar aims at enhancing cooperation and integration between the two countries in the political, security and military fields, thus maintaining the sovereignty of both nations regionally and globally. It focuses on cooperation and integration in the following areas: military, political, and security.
This axis includes a number of initiatives such as the joint manufacturing of ammunition, light weapons, vehicles, and electronic shooting systems, as well as cooperation and coordination in foreign military assistance, cooperation in the maintenance of military systems, and standardisation of the military industry.
UAE and Saudi Arabia: A Solid Partnership
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates share a solid political and economic partnership, with a strong heritage and deep-rooted ties between the people of the two countries. The establishment of the Saudi-Emirati Coordination Council aims to maintain and further enhance these ties. Combined, the two countries’ economies are worth one trillion dollars (the largest in the Middle East), and their exports make them one of the top ten exporters in the world, with a value of more than 700 billion dollars annually. The volume of non-oil trade between the two countries is worth 24 billion dollars, while their imports totaled nearly 550 billion dollars.