Why King Salman Broke Royal Protocol – OpEd
By Arab News
By Mohammed Fahad Al-Harthi
The growing strategic relationship between Saudi Arabia and the UAE has been welcomed with virtual unanimity across the Arab world because of its significance for regional peace, stability and development.
Many political analysts believe that the two countries play an important role in bolstering Arab solidarity. No one can deny the two countries’ significant political and economic influence in the world, being the first and second largest economies in the region.
There is good understanding between Saudi Arabia and the UAE because it is based on the two nations holding identical views on critical regional issues. Riyadh and Abu Dhabi have also been working to promote regional and global stability, with policies focused on rapprochement and reconciliation.
The recent visit to Riyadh of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, with the gesture of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman to receive his guest at the airport, is a clear indication that strategic relations have now been taken to a new level, opening up a new chapter in inter-Arab ties.
This high-level coordination between the two GCC countries is aimed at protecting Arab unity, especially in the absence of major players, and strengthening Gulf security and stability. In particular, the two allies hold a joint strategic position on supporting Egypt.
The Saudi-UAE alignment is similar to the French-German coalition that helped unite European countries politically after the Cold War. Saudi Arabia and the UAE would do well to follow this successful European model.
There is little doubt that Saudi-UAE relations are based on strong foundations. The top-level coordination between the two countries on political and security matters underline this fact. To affirm that the Kingdom remains committed to this path, King Salman has reiterated that his government’s foreign policy would remain unchanged.
The incorrect perceptions of some foreign analysts of Saudi-UAE relations go against the reality on the ground. Sheikh Mohammed’s visit must be giving them pause to reconsider their views, because this is a strong indicator of ties proceeding in a more organized and systematic manner.
King Salman’s gesture, to receive the Abu Dhabi crown prince at the airport, breaking all royal protocol, sends this decisive and unambiguous message to the entire world.