RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Wednesday sought to establish an entity of cooperation with six countries bordering the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, a strategic area vital to global shipping.
Representatives from Egypt, Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and Jordan gathered in Riyadh on Wednesday to discuss the initiative.
A team of experts is expected to meet “soon” in Cairo for technical talks.
“This is part of the Kingdom's efforts to protect its interests and those of its neighbours and … to stabilise the region that we live in and to try to create synergies between the various countries,” Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir told reporters after a day of meetings.
“The more cooperation and coordination that you have among the countries of this region, the less negative outside influence will be on this region," he added.
Eritrea and Ethiopia were not present at the meeting.
The Red Sea also includes the Bab Al-Mandeb strait, through which oil is shipped towards Europe, the US and Asia. In recent years the waterway has been targeted by Iranian-backed Houthi militants from Yemen.
Al-Jubeir said the meeting also discussed boosting trade and conserving the environment.
Saudi Arabia has announced several mega-projects along the Red Sea, including a $500 billion business zone shared with Egypt and Jordan as well as a luxury tourism destination.