Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Mohammed bin Salman
President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the GCC-ASEAN Summit in Riyadh on Friday, October 20, 2023. Image Credit: WAM

Riyadh: President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan has arrived in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, leading the UAE delegation to participate in the joint summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The summit commences on Friday in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Sheikh Mohamed said on X (formerly known as Twitter): “At the GCC-ASEAN Summit in Riyadh, partners affirmed the enduring importance of international cooperation and integration. I thank King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for convening this Summit to strengthen ties with ASEAN nations.”

Upon arrival at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Sheikh Mohamed was received by Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince and Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia, along with other high-ranking officials.

The UAE delegation to the summit includes Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Ruler of Abu Dhabi; Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Ali Mohammed Hammad Al Shamsi, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council for National Security; Dr. Anwar Gargash, Diplomatic Adviser to the UAE President; and Sheikh Nahyan bin Saif Al Nahyan, UAE Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The summit discussed enhancing cooperation between the GCC and ASEAN in various areas, with a focus on economic, investment, developmental, and political coordination. Additionally, the summit explored new opportunities to elevate strategic collaboration between the two sides to serve the aspirations of their peoples for further development and prosperity.

Address by UAE President

In his address, the UAE President emphasised that this summit marks a new phase of cooperation between the GCC and ASEAN across diverse fields. This collaboration is especially significant given the close ties between the two sides and the myriad of opportunities to enhance shared interests in various areas, particularly in developmental sectors that serve aspirations for growth and prosperity.

Sheikh Mohamed pointed out that the GCC and ASEAN share a collective will to advance relations in the coming period. This sentiment is embodied by the joint action plan for 2024-2028, which encompasses political, economic, commercial, investment, and other domains.

The President expressed his appreciation to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, His Majesty King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, for his invitation to attend the summit. He also extended his appreciation to His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince and Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, for his significant efforts in leading the summit.

Sheikh Mohamed stated: "Today, as we assemble, our region faces a grave conflict, and the toll and risks associated with it amplify daily, especially in humanitarian terms." He offered condolences to the families of all victims of this conflict and wished a speedy recovery for the injured, reiterating the call for an immediate ceasefire to prevent further escalation and its threat to regional peace.

The UAE President also emphasised the priority of preserving the lives of all civilians, providing protection for them, and opening humanitarian corridors for the unimpeded transportation of medical and relief aid to the Gaza Strip. Furthermore, he stressed the importance of collective efforts to find a horizon for comprehensive peace in the region.

He underscored the UAE's deep respect for its relationship with ASEAN countries as part of its approach to building bridges of cooperation worldwide to promote mutual growth and prosperity. He highlighted that economic and trade ties between the UAE and ASEAN countries have recently seen significant advancements. Furthermore, efforts are underway to deepen economic partnerships with ASEAN in the coming period to achieve transformative progress in bilateral relations.

"Today, the world faces serious challenges ranging from supply chain disruptions, energy and food security, climate change, and pandemics to various conflicts and disputes."

Sheikh Mohamed affirmed the UAE's belief in the importance of international cooperation and underscored the pivotal roles of diplomacy and dialogue as essential tools for building trust, resolving disputes, and establishing global peace and stability.

His Highness also noted the UAE's role in hosting the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) later this year. He affirmed the nation's collaboration with its partners to ensure the conference yields beneficial outcomes for all countries. The President stated that the UAE looks forward to the active participation of ASEAN countries in this collective endeavour for the betterment of humanity.