HomeNewsDiplomatic NewsSaudi Arabia complains to UN over marine rift with UAE

Saudi Arabia complains to UN over marine rift with UAE


Riyadh, 15 April 2024 (TDI): Saudi Arabia has filed a complaint to the United Nations (UN) against the United Arab Emirates (UAE) over a contested marine area involving a maritime dispute.

Riyadh has submitted a formal letter to the Secretary General of the United Nations mentioning that Abu Dhabi is encroaching on its borders by declaring the said area as a “protected marine area”.

It has rejected an Emirati decree of 2019, whereby, the UAE has declared Al-Yasat as a protected area.

Al-Yasat consists of four islands, namely, Upper Yasat, Lower Yasat, Esam and Karsha. The area was initially declared a marine reserve by the 2005 decree, with the first artificial coral reef constructed around the islands.

However, Saudi Arabia has emphasized that it does not recognize any measures taken by the UAE government in the maritime area off the Saudi coast. Nor does it acknowledge any legal consequences thereof.

Also Read: Prime Minister Pakistan meets Saudi & Emirati Ambassadors

History of marine disputes

The Yasat Zone dispute is not a new territorial dispute between the two Gulf nations.

Indeed, Saudi Arabia and UAE have a long history of maritime rifts going as far as 1974, three years after UAE’s establishment as a state.

In 1974, the Jeddah Agreement was signed by the two states which bound them as per the rules of International Law.

Accordingly, Riyadh has demanded Abu Dhabi to complete the implementation of Article 5 of the agreement delineating the land and maritime borders between the two countries, thus, respecting the International Law.

Saudi Arabia, through the agreement, ceded part of its claims over the Al-Buraimi oasis. The said oasis is an oil-rich area located between north-western Oman and the UAE.

Whereas, in exchange, Al-Huwaisat Island in the Gulf and the revenues from the Shaybah oil fields, which extend into UAE territory have been decided to be handed over to Saudi Arabia.

Nevertheless, certain discrepancies have been identified by the UAE as the reason of not ratifying the agreement ever since.

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