Less assertive until now in Arab-African affairs than its ally the UAE or rival Qatar, Saudi Arabia hosted a new regional grouping on 12 December as foreign ministers from seven countries attended the first consultative meeting of the Arab and African Coastal States of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden in Riyadh. A communiqué issued after the gathering said the group was set up to enhance cooperation “in the political, economic, cultural, environmental and security fields” among the members. A follow-up meeting of senior officials is due to be held in Cairo.