Abu Dhabi: The UAE has announced full support to Saudi Arabia’s plan to set up a bloc of Arab and African coastal states to enhance regional security.The planned grouping links countries on the Red Sea coast.
This is a pioneering initiative for common Arab and regional action that will enhance security in the region, said Dr Anwar Mohammed Gargash, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.
Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and Jordan are the members.
Technical experts are expected to meet in Cairo soon to work out details on the formation of the grouping, reports said. “The effort is inspiring, it is a diplomatic success for the countries of the region. This promising development enhances peace and prosperity in the region,” the minister said.
Dr Gargash said such an entity would help protect international trade and shipping while improving investment and development prospects of these countries.
The Saudi Press Agency earlier said the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia, met foreign ministry officials from Egypt, Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and Jordan “to look into establishing an entity for Arab and African states on the Red Sea coast”. They discussed ways to promote commerce and investment, as well as to protect shipping, the report said.
“The more cooperation and coordination that you have among the countries of this region, the less negative outside influence will be on this region,” said Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir. He did not name any country, but the effort is clearly to check Iran’s influence in the region.
Gulf states have been taking a more active role in the Horn of Africa, which found special mention in the communique issued by the GCC.