Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 17 October 2019

Abu Dhabi street renamed in honour of Saudi King

Al Marsa Street which leads to Marina Mall is renamed to mark Saudi Arabia's 89th National Day

A street in Abu Dhabi was renamed on Monday in celebration of Saudi Arabia's 89th National Day.

Al Marsa Street, which leads to Marina Mall from the Corniche and passes by the Founder's Memorial, was named King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Street, after the Saudi royal, on the orders of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.

The sign was unveiled on Monday at a ceremony during which a military band played the national anthems of each country. Sheikh Khalid bin Mohamed, member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, and Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed, Deputy Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, attended.

"Having this street in front of the Founder's Memorial is remarkable and this is a gift that the people of the UAE have presented to their family in Saudi Arabia," said Turki Al Dakhil, the Saudi ambassador to the UAE.

"Emiratis have been celebrating Saudi National Day as if it is their own.

"Many Saudis came here for the holiday and they don't see a difference between celebrations here and there."

He said the local support indicated that the two nations were united in spirit and by blood.

"Emirati and Saudi soldiers are serving side by side on one land to defend the legislative authority in Yemen — this is how our blood has become unified."

The UAE and Saudi Arabia have recently reaffirmed their commitment to a strategic partnership and their support for the legitimate government in Yemen. But Mr Al Dakhil said the UAE and Saudi Arabia still had many challenges to face together.

"Just as we are surrounded by friends we are also surrounded by enemies. We need to be careful, both as individuals and organisations, of those conspiring against us."

The UAE began celebrating Saudi National Day in 2016 by renaming a street in Dubai to honour King Salman. A year later, mobile phones displayed “UAE KSA Forever" in place of the usual network name to mark the holiday.

On Monday, Emiratis and residents took to social media to share their congratulations using forms of the hashtag #SaudiNationalDay.

Mr Al Dakhil said he received hundreds of messages to mark the occasion.

The UAE and Saudi Arabia have much in common and are strong regional allies. They share a common language, faith and culture and trade links between the two go back centuries.

Both counties are rich in reserves of oil and gas that have made them among the wealthiest countries in the world. Their close relationship has been strengthening since the 1970s, when Sheikh Zayed, the Founding Father, became the first president of the UAE.

Territorial disputes that marred earlier relations were set side in the interest of the common good.

The formation of the Gulf Co-operation Council in 1979 brought together the six countries of the Arabian Gulf to give the region a unified voice.

The UAE and Saudi Arabia have worked ever closer on issues of common interest. They were allies during the First Gulf War, committing troops for the liberation of Kuwait, while both have been strong voices condemning extremist groups such as ISIS.

The Saudi-Emirati Co-ordination Council was formed in 2017, heralding an era of even closer co-operation between the two countries in areas such as defence, politics and culture.

This month, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed described the UAE and Saudi Arabia as "standing as partners in one trench to face besetting challenges".

Speaking on the anniversary of a rocket explosion in Safir, Yemen, that killed at least 45 Emirati soldiers, and where the UAE is fighting along Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Mohamed said: "Our shared goals are security of the UAE and Saudi Arabia and stability of the whole region. We also share a common destiny and future."

Updated: September 23, 2019 06:11 PM

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