In Brief

Saudis and UAE form exclusive trade and military partnership

Kuwaitis likely to view agreement as ‘offensive’ to their efforts to unite region

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirate have formed an exclusive trade and military partnership - a move that could antagonise the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which is trying to ease tensions amid a six-month blockade of Qatar.

The UAE foreign ministry said today that the emirates and Saudi Arabia would coordinate military, political, economic, trade and cultural fields. There was no immediate confirmation from Saudi authorities. The two countries already have close military ties in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is fighting Iran-backed rebels.

The UAE announcement came as Arab foreign ministers gathered for a regional summit in Kuwait, their first meeting since June, when Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain severed ties with Qatar, principally over its ties to Iran and approach to terrorism.

“For a decision, or an announcement, like that to happen at the summit is something that will be seen, as far as the Kuwaitis are concerned, as quite frankly offensive to their efforts to try and unite the GCC as a region,” says Al Jazeera’s Jamal Elshayyal.

The GCC - a political and economic alliance grouping Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman - has been “riven” with divisions since the Qatari blockade began, according to a report by the AFP news agency.

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