Saudi Arabia seeks new political bloc in strategic Red Sea region

Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia on map

Saudi Arabia is seeking an alliance with six countries bordering the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, a strategic area vital to global shipping and increasingly an arena of contention with regional rivals like Iran, Turkey and Qatar.

Representatives from Egypt, Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and Jordan gathered in Riyadh on Wednesday to discuss the initiative without reaching final agreement.

A team of experts is expected to meet “soon’’ in Cairo for technical talks.

Eritrea, with Red Sea islands and a mainland coastline of 1,150-kilometres (715 miles), was not present.

Nor was Ethiopia, which has no access to the sea but the largest population in the Horn of Africa.

“This is part of the kingdom’s efforts to protect its interests and those of its neighbours and … to stabilize the region that we live in and to try to create synergies between the various countries.

“The more cooperation and coordination that you have among the countries of this region, the less negative outside influence will be on this region,” Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told reporters after a day of closed-door meetings.

Saudi Arabia and its Gulf ally the United Arab Emirates increasingly view the Horn of Africa coastline as their “western security flank’’ and fear their adversaries could gain a foothold in the region.

The Red Sea also includes the Bab al-Mandeb strait, through which an estimated 3.2 million barrels of oil per day flows toward Europe, the U.S. and Asia.

In recent years the waterway has been targeted by pirates and Houthi fighters from Yemen.

Mr Jubeir said the meeting also discussed boosting trade and conserving the environment.

As part of a push to diversify its economy away from oil, Saudi Arabia has announced several mega-projects along the Red Sea, including a $500 billion business zone shared with Egypt and Jordan as well as a luxury tourism destination.
(Reuters/NAN)

Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility

 

Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.

For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.

By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.

Donate


NEVER MISS A THING AGAIN! Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required

DOWNLOAD THE PREMIUM TIMES MOBILE APP

Now available on

  Premium Times Android mobile applicationPremium Times iOS mobile applicationPremium Times blackberry mobile applicationPremium Times windows mobile application

TEXT AD: This space is available for a Text_Ad.. Call Willie on +2347088095401 for more information


All rights reserved. This material and any other material on this platform may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, written or distributed in full or in part, without written permission from PREMIUM TIMES.