Bin Zayed starts visit to Saudi Arabia amid crisis of coup in Aden
Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed started a visit to Saudi Arabia in the midst of the escalating crisis in Yemen in the wake of the coup of Abu Dhabi allies against the legitimate Yemeni authority in Aden.
Deputy Defense Minister Khalid bin Salman received Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, the official SPA news agency reported.
It is not known whether his reception by a lower-ranking official is a normal protocol, or whether he carries a political and diplomatic message at the moment when a new crisis has emerged between the two Gulf allies in Yemen.
The visit of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi was preceded by a meeting between Prince Khalid Al Faisal, Advisor of the Saudi King and the Governor of Makkah Region yesterday with UAE Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Sheikh Shakhbout Bin Nahyan Al Nahyan.
He did not disclose the content of the meeting between Saudi and Gulf officials, and whether Bin Zayed's visit today is the result of this meeting or came in advance.
Prior to that, Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met with Yemeni President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi to discuss developments in Yemen.
Mohammed bin Zayed's visit to Saudi Arabia comes amid a deep and unprecedented crisis in Yemen after the separatists of the south in Aden, Abu Dhabi's allies, overthrew the government of Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
It also comes amid broader indications of disagreement on some important issues in the region, particularly with regard to the relationship with Iran and some of its allies.
As a result of what could be called an alliance in UAE policy toward Iran, Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia's main military ally on the ground for most of the war, has reduced the size of its coalition forces since June, and has spoken of withdrawing some of its forces from Yemen.
Expectations are growing that the recent UAE moves toward Iran will lead to deeper separation, and may even further crack the relationship between the two Gulf allies.