Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed made a surprise appearance Wednesday surrounded by the leaders of five Arab countries at a luxury resort in Abu Dhabi.
The UAE president had summoned the heads of state of Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman to a luxurious location in the Emirati capital, overlooking the sea, to consult with their partners on the state of the region and strengthen their relations.
Present were the Sultan of Oman, Haitham bin Tariq, the kings of Bahrain and Jordan, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and Abdullah II, the Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi. Emirati pro-government media released images showing the six leaders gathered at a seaside resort.
Notably absent were Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Kuwait's Emir Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Yaber.
The meeting, which was not publicly announced, was intended to "deepen cooperation between the brotherly countries in various sectors that serve development, prosperity and stability in the region through regional cooperation and integration", according to the state news agency WAM. But above all, it was aimed at addressing some of the sensitive issues that have destabilised the region in recent weeks.
The visit to the Temple Mount by Israel's inflammatory National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir set off alarm bells in Arab countries that had normalised relations with Israel in November 2022 under the framework of the Abraham Accords because of the risk that the new government of Benjamin Netanyahu, the most right-leaning in the history of the Hebrew nation, might change the status of the area.
A day before the informal meeting in Abu Dhabi, El Sisi and Abdullah II held a meeting on Tuesday with the president of the Palestinian National Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, to discuss the events.