In a significant show of diplomatic and economic cooperation, Riyadh became the backdrop for the collaborative summit between the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). At the helm of the UAE’s representation was none other than President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, with the summit’s inauguration carried out by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.
High-ranking officials from both GCC and ASEAN countries marked their presence, underlining the importance of the summit. Among them were notable figures including Jasem Mohamed Albudaiwi, Secretary-General of the GCC, and top leaders from the ASEAN nations. The UAE President’s entourage showcased the nation’s commitment, with prominent members such as Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi’s Deputy Ruler; and Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE’s Foreign Affairs Minister.
Central to the summit’s discussions were strategies aimed at bolstering ties between the GCC and ASEAN. Key areas under consideration included economic investments, political partnerships, and developmental initiatives. Both regions recognized the potential to elevate their strategic collaboration, meeting the growth and prosperity aspirations of their populations.
Upon arrival at the summit venue, the King Abdulaziz International Conference Center, the UAE President received a warm reception from Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince. Emphasizing the importance of this gathering, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed highlighted the new chapter of cooperation being penned between GCC and ASEAN. The UAE President underscored the shared objectives outlined in their joint action plan for 2024-2028, spanning various domains from politics to commerce. While expressing gratitude for the invitation to the summit, the UAE leader did not shy away from addressing the pressing issues in the region.
Highlighting the escalating conflict, he voiced concerns about the humanitarian fallout and emphasized the urgency of a ceasefire. His plea centered on safeguarding civilian lives, providing relief assistance, and striving for comprehensive peace. Echoing the UAE’s broader foreign policy approach, the President emphasized its dedication to nurturing relationships with ASEAN nations. He pointed to the recent growth in trade ties between the UAE and ASEAN, with further plans to solidify economic partnerships.
Beyond regional matters, the UAE President addressed global challenges like supply chain disruptions, climate change, and the ongoing threat of pandemics. Stressing the role of international cooperation, he underscored diplomacy as a tool to foster global peace and stability. In concluding, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed highlighted the UAE’s forthcoming role as the host for the UN Climate Change Conference (COP28). He expressed eagerness for ASEAN’s active participation, emphasizing collaborative efforts for the greater good of humanity.