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Saudi-UAE relations tense following military action in Yemen

April 15, 2015 at 10:00 am

Saudi-UAE relations are becoming increasingly tense due to the disagreement between the two countries over regional issues and particularly over the rapidly unfolding events in Yemen, a source told Arabi21.

The Saudi source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, added that the atmosphere and the details of the visit made to Riyadh by Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed reflect the magnitude of the tension between the two countries. He also pointed out that Bin Zayed had to wait ten days before receiving permission for the visit.

During the visit, the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince only met with the ministers of the Interior and Defence Muhammad Bin Nayef and Muhammad Bin Salman but was not able to meet with the crown prince or with King Salman, the source explained. He noted that the visit did not receive media coverage or Saudi attention, considering “these signs bear clear indications of the drop in the warmth of relations between the two countries.”

He explained that Riyadh is displeased with the UAE’s stance towards developments in Yemen, especially with regards to what the Saudis believe to be “a UAE attempt to hold the stick from the middle by taking part in Operation Decisive Storm on the one hand while supporting the Houthis and Ali Abdullah Saleh on the other.”

According to the Saudi source, some sources have conveyed unconfirmed reports that during his visit to Riyadh, Muhammad Bin Zayid proposed a political initiative to resolve the crisis in Yemen in coordination with Ali Abdullah Saleh. However, the Saudis refused to even discuss this initiative because they regard Saleh as “an unreliable partner who has already betrayed Saudi Arabia once and may betray it again”.