Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 6 December 2019

Tourism visas and Indian mega-refinery: seven key takeaways from Saudi and UAE summit

Both sides ramped up deals and joint projects during visit of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is in the UAE for an official visit. A key moment was the second meeting on Wednesday of the Saudi-Emirati Coordination Council chaired by Prince Mohammad and Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces. Seven key initiatives were announced to drive further cooperation between both countries.

Here is what you need you know:

Joint tourist visa: Both countries are ramping up tourism, with Saudi Arabia now issuing regular tourist visas. Saudi and the UAE agreed to develop a joint visa for residents of both countries which will streamline the experience and boost tourist traffic.

Speeding up the flow of traffic at the ports: It currently can take a few hours for vehicles to pass through the border. Both sides agreed to cut these times significantly in the coming years.

Food security: The UAE and Saudi import most of their food. Boosting food security is essential to guard against shortages or threats to supply lines. Both leaders pledged to develop more diverse supply lines, boost agriculture and ensure affordable prices for all.

Cyber security: Cyber attacks can cause economic and political damage. Both countries said cooperation has already significantly reduced cyber attacks. Both sides also pledged to cut response times from 24 hours to six, drive a 25 per cent reduction in cyber attacks and increase awareness of these threats among the public.

Cryptocurrency pilot: A cross-border digital currency targeted at banks is also planned. This will make people more aware of technology such as Blockchain - a type of online ledger - and facilitate cross-border payments.

Mega refinery: The UAE and Saudi will develop a $70 billion (Dh257bn) mega oil refinery with a capacity of 1.2 million barrels per day in Maharashtra in western India. Wam reported this would secure the supply of at least 600,000 barrels a day of Saudi and UAE crude oil.

Saudi-Emirati Youth Council: Both leaders understand the power of youth. A new Saudi-Emirati Youth Council will strengthen the partnership between the youth in both countries, facilitate the exchange ideas and boost their role in society.

Updated: November 29, 2019 02:36 AM

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