Saudi, UAE leaders hold talks as regional competition heats up

Published 07 Sep,2021 via Bloomberg Politics & Policy - The defacto rulers of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates held talks late Monday, days after the UAE unveiled plans to deepen trade ties with fast-growing economies mainly outside the Middle East.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman called his Abu Dhabi counterpart Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and discussed “the prospects of further consolidating the strategic cooperation” between the countries, the UAE’s state-run WAM news agency said. It didn’t provide further details.

Sheikh Mohammed had traveled to Riyadh in July meet his Saudi counterpart after the neighbors had clashed over oil policy, roiling global energy markets. A compromise was eventually reached -- and the countries’ energy ministers made a public show of how they had patched up differences.

The UAE, which has been the Middle East’s commercial capital for more than a decade, is facing growing regional competition from Saudi Arabia, the Arab world’s largest economy. On Sunday, the UAE said it was working on comprehensive economic agreements with countries in Asia and Africa, seeking $150 billion of inward foreign investment over the next nine years, and further eased visa restrictions to try to attract more foreign talent.

Saudi Arabia has been also working on plans to boost economic growth. The world’s largest oil exporter is pushing international companies to put their Middle East hubs in the kingdom by the start of 2024 or risk losing out on business. Some news channels are already starting to transfer operations out of Dubai.

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Shaji Mathew