After Saudi Arabia’s complaint against the Emirates, the Al-Yasat issue has come to the fore again

revealed document An official report published by the United Nations website revealed Saudi Arabia’s “rejection” of the UAE’s declaration that “Al Yasat” is a protected marine area, considering that this “contradicts international law.”

According to an official document published by the United Nations website dated March 28, 2024, a letter from the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs addressed to the Secretary-General of the United Nations says that it “does not consider or recognize any legal effect” of the UAE’s declaration that “Al Yasat” is a protected marine area, according to Emiri Decree No. 4. Issued in 2019.

The Saudi Foreign Ministry said, according to the UN memorandum, that the Kingdom “does not recognize… any measures or practices taken or their consequences by the UAE government in the maritime area off the Saudi coast.”

She added that Saudi Arabia “adheres to all its rights and interests, according to… For agreement The borders concluded between the two countries on August 21, 1974, which are binding on both parties in accordance with public international law,” according to the memorandum, which the Saudi government considers an “official document” and called on the United Nations to circulate it.

There was no official comment from the UAE.

This comes as American media reported that there were “escalating disagreements” between the two countries, regarding policies towards Yemen and the decisions of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

What is Al Yasat area?

Al Yasat is a marine area belonging to the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, located near the territorial waters of the Emirates, which was declared a marine protected area for the first time in 2005.

According to the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, the Al Yasat marine area includes 4 islands with the surrounding waters, and is located in the far southwest of Abu Dhabi.

The reserve contains unique marine creatures, including sea turtles, dolphins, and dugongs, which are threatened with extinction, and all of which live, reproduce, and feed in the reserve, according to the same source.

In 2005, the late President of the UAE, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, issued an Emiri decree declaring “Al Yasat” a protected area for the first time.

There are about 3,000 endangered dugongs in the UAE, which has the second largest population of creatures in the world, with 20 percent of them living in the area surrounding “Al Yasat,” according to a report dating back to 2009 to the newspaper. The National Local English speaking.

In that report, the Emirati newspaper said, “The Abu Dhabi government is reviewing a law that would more than quadruple the size of the Al Yasat Marine Protected Area, and push its borders into the Arabian Gulf.”

He pointed out that the area of ​​the reserve is 428 square kilometers, and includes 4 islands and the surrounding waters.

Decree of 2019

But the UAE issued A decree Similarly, in 2019, the previous decree was canceled and declared that the area was a marine reserve with a total area of ​​2,256 square kilometers, as the Official Gazette attached a map showing the new boundaries of the reserve.

At the time, a newspaper reported the Union Local sources said that the new decree “stipulates the expansion of the reserve to include the Fazaiya Peninsula and its surrounding waters.”

Saudi Arabia and the UAE have long-standing border disputes despite the alliance between the two countries, which previously led a military coalition in Yemen, in addition to their agreement to sever diplomatic relations with Qatar, along with Bahrain and Egypt as well. This is a Gulf dispute that ended with the signing of the Al-Ula Agreement in early 2021.

Some of this rivalry has its origins in regional disputes and family politics that preceded the UAE’s independence, according to the research paper Post itlast year, the website of the Arab Center Washington, D.C. (ACW), a non-profit, independent, nonpartisan research organization concerned with the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia refused to recognize the UAE until the dispute and other outstanding border issues were finally settled in 1974, according to a research paper. Post it The year 2020 is the website of “Chatham House”, a research center based in the British capital, London.

Why did the dispute continue?

In 1974, after 40 years of negotiations over disputed sovereignty over the Al Ain/Buraimi, Zararah/Shaybah and Khor Al Udayd regions, the governments of Saudi Arabia and the UAE signed the Jeddah Treaty that supposedly ended the dispute.

But the dispute was not settled at the UAE level, due to contradictions between the verbal agreement before signing the treaty and the final text of the treaty itself, according to Emirati academic Noura Al Mazrouei.

And in message She obtained her doctorate from the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom. Al Mazrouei says that the UAE government did not notice the “contradiction” between the oral agreement and the treaty on paper until 1975.

This is likely due, according to Al Marzoui, to the absence of lawyers, technicians and geographers in the negotiating team of the UAE government, which has “tried to bring Saudi Arabia back to the negotiating table since then.”

Al Mazrouei’s thesis indicates that the UAE’s claim to Khor Al Udayd, where territorial waters intersect between the two countries, represents “the most visible aspect of the dispute.”

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