Saudi Arabia–United Arab Emirates border dispute

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Map of United Arab Emirates, the boundary with Saudi Arabia reflecting the 1974 agreement
Topographic map of the United Arab Emirates; note that the boundary shown in this map touches Qatar.

The Saudi ArabiaUnited Arab Emirates border dispute was apparently resolved with the Treaty of Jeddah, which was signed at Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on 21 August 1974. The provisions of the treaty were not publicly disclosed until 1995, when it was lodged with the United Nations. However, the United Arab Emirates never ratified the agreement.[1]

In 1949, Saudi Arabia under the rule of Ibn Saud and ARAMCO had made incursions to the Western Region of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, due to the prospect of getting oil. Ibn Saud was also interested in ruling the area of Al Ain and Al Buraimi, located in the Eastern Region of Abu Dhabi on its border with Oman. This led to the Buraimi Dispute.[2]

The Jeddah Agreement granted Saudi Arabia a 25 km corridor eastwards from Khawr al Udayd, thus giving the Saudis an outlet to the Persian Gulf on the eastern side of Qatar.[3] In return, the UAE was to keep six villages in the area of Al Buraimi, including al-Ain, and most of al-Zafra desert.[4] Article 3 of the agreement stated that "all hydrocarbons in the Shaybah-Zarrara field shall be considered as belonging to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia" and provided for exploration and development of the whole field by Saudi Arabia. Article 4 stipulated that Saudi Arabia and the UAE “each undertake to refrain from engaging in and from permitting the exploitation of hydro-carbons in that part of its territory to which the hydrocarbon fields primarily located in the territory of the other state extend."[5]

In 2005, there were concerns that the border dispute might flare up again.[6][7] Some maps[8] published in the UAE still reportedly show the country stretching as far westwards as Qatar.[4] The UAE publicly reopened the dispute in 2006, claiming some lost territory.[9] It might be argued that the 1974 agreement is of questionable validity in terms of international law. It has been neither published nor ratified by the UAE Federal National Council, a crucial step to make the agreement binding on the parties. Qatar, which suddenly discovered it no longer had a land border with the UAE, was not even a party to the negotiations,[9] but Qatar had, in fact, made a separate agreement on its border with Saudi Arabia in 1965.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Habeeb, William Mark (2012). The Middle East in Turmoil: Conflict, Revolution and Change. Greenwood Press. p. 33. ISBN 0313339147.
  2. ^ Clive., Leatherdale, (1983). Britain and Saudi Arabia, 1925-1939 : the Imperial Oasis. London, England: F. Cass. ISBN 9780714632209. OCLC 10877465.
  3. ^ "Arabian Boundary Disputes - Cambridge Archive Editions". Retrieved 2017-01-21.
  4. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-09-05. Retrieved 2009-07-06.
  5. ^ Schofield R., Evans K.E. (eds) Arabian Boundaries: New Documents (2009), vol. 15, pp. viii–xv.
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-09-05. Retrieved 2009-07-06.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-09-05. Retrieved 2009-07-06.
  8. ^ "Map of the UAE" (PDF). Retrieved 2017-01-21.
  9. ^ a b [1]

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