Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the Crown Prince of the UAE Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed took an overnight camping trip in the Saudi desert together 18 months ago, forging a friendship that would prove to be pivotal as the two nations build on relations to take on regional challenges, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The two “hardly knew each other” at the time, the report says, but the trip amounted to the “equivalent to a round of presidential golf” and served as an opportunity for Crown Prince Mohammed and his Emirati counterpart to forge a bond, according to the report, which is accessible only by subscription.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE have been in lockstep since that meeting, and the two countries have enjoyed the strongest of relations as neighbors and historical brotherly nations for decades.
“Oil-rich and ultraconservative Saudi Arabia is aligning its policies with its smaller and more liberal and economically-diverse neighbor,” the WSJ report notes. “And the relationship between the two princes, widely known by their initials as MBS and MBZ, is being seen as central to the Saudi shift.”