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UAE and Saudis form new partnership separate from GCC

New committee, which focuses on military and trade cooperation, comes amid an unprecedented crisis among Gulf countries.

The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia have formed a new military and trade partnership separate from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), according to a statement issued by the UAE.

The development on Tuesday comes amid heightened tensions within the GCC, a political and economic alliance of six countries that includes Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait and Oman. 

According to the statement from the UAE foreign ministry, the new committee "is assigned to cooperate and coordinate between the UAE and Saudi Arabia in all military, political, economic, trade and cultural fields, as well as others, in the interest of the two countries".

There has been no confirmation of the new partnership from the Saudis so far. 

The GCC has faced an unprecedented crisis over the past six months amid a Saudi-led blockade of Qatar.

Representatives of the six countries were meeting in Kuwait on Tuesday for the council's annual summit.

Qatar siege

Since June, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt have enforced a land, sea and air blockade against Qatar, accusing the tiny Gulf nation of supporting "terrorism".

Qatar has denied the allegations and accused the neighbouring countries of attempting to infringe on its sovereignty.

The 38th GCC summit in Kuwait City began amid concerns over how long the crisis has persisted and calls from residents for a speedy resolution.

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