Mohammed bin Zayed holds talks with Serbian President

Mohammed bin Zayed holds talks with Serbian President

Belgrade:  His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces yesterday held talks with Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic on ways to promote bilateral cooperation relations as well as on the latest regional and international developments and matters of mutual concern.

The talks took place as the Serbian President received at the Presidency His Highness the Crown Prince and members of the accompanying delegation.

Welcoming His Highness Sheikh Mohammed, President Nikolic emphasised that the visit reflects a common interest by the leaderships of both countries to maintain and expand bilateral cooperation and to promote relations in service of the interests of both countries and their friendly peoples.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed conveyed to the Serbian President greetings from President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and his best wishes of further progress and growth for Serbia and its people.

He emphasised the importance of promoting and expanding relations with Serbia in different spheres and expressed appreciation of the Serbian President's keen interest in promoting and supporting these relations to serve the interests of both the UAE and the Serbia.

The meeting discussed mechanisms of reinforcing aspects of bilateral cooperation on defence and military industries and expanding economic, trade, investment cooperation and promoting joint agricultural projects.

The Serbian President asked His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed to convey greetings to President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and best wishes of further progress and prosperity for the UAE and its people.

Expressing gladness that he met His Highness the Crown Prince, President Nikolic emphasised that his country seeks to promote its bilateral relations in a way that reflects the growth of friendly relations between the two countries and serve their interests.

He expressed appreciation of the role that President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed plays in supporting and reinforcing relations and cooperation between the two countries.

In attendance at the meeting were Deputy Chief of Staff of the UAE Armed Forces, Staff Eissa Saif Mohammed Al-Mazrouie, and Undersecretary of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince's Court, Mohammed Mubarak Al Mazrouei, from the UAE side, and president of the Serbian National Assembly, Nebojsa Stefanovic, Prime Minister and Minister of Internal Affairs, Ivica Dacic, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, Aleksandar Vucic, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign '&' Domestic Trade '&' Telecommunications Rasim Ljajic, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Labour, Employment, '&' Social Policy, Jovan Krkobabic, and Minister of Finance '&' Economy, Mladjan Dinkic.

An official welcome ceremony held in honour of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed upon arrival, the national anthems of the UAE and Serbia were played and he was saluted by the honour guard then shook hands with the senior Serbian officials who received him at the airport.  - Emirates News Agency, WAM


International team of experts hail UAE's anti corruption measures

The international team of experts tasked with reviewing the UAE's commitment to the measures of United Nations Convention against Corruption, has hailed the legislative, executive and judicial procedures taken by the country to combat corruption.

The team stressed the need to complete some legislative aspects and provide the necessary legal tools to combat corruption, such as those relating to the protection of witnesses and informants.

The international expert group completed yesterday in Abu Dhabi the reviewing of the requirements of the United Nations Convention in light of the legislation and regulations in force in the UAE and in the presence and help of the National Experts Group set up by a decision of the Chairman of UAE State Audit Bureau.

The review included the UAE's commitment to the implementation of chapters III "criminalisation and law enforcement," and the fourth "International cooperation" of the United Nations Convention against Corruption.

The international team of experts will prepare a detailed report showing the findings and observations on the implementation of the UAE to the United Nations Convention against Corruption, the successful experiences, and good practices in addition to the priorities and procedures. - Emirates News Agency, WAM


UAE President gives directives to rush emergency humanitarian assistance for Palestinian flood victims

Emergency humanitarian assistance for Palestinians whose houses and properties were destroyed by floods in the last few days was ordered by H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in the Western Region and President of the Red Crescent Authority (RCA).

The initiative came upon directives by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and is followed-up on by His Highness Gen. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

The directives of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan followed reports by the Red Crescent Authority's office in Palestine on severe damage in Jerusalem and other Palestinian cities, villages and camps. The reports say trees in the Al-Aqsa Mosque Plaza were torn from the ground and Palestinians' farms and houses were swept by the flash floods.

RCA's office in Palestine will procure the humanitarian assistance from the local market and will deliver it to those afflicted by the torrents.

Reports by the RCA's office say the Palestinian territories have been hit by three days of downpours and high winds which swept thousands of trees and houses as well as frost following snowfalls in Ramallah and Hebron, in particular.

Two girls were swept away by the floods in Anabta Town, near Tulkarem. Their bodies were moved to the hospital. Also, a young man is still missing.

The torrents left severe damage to Palestinian farms and houses in Jenin, in the northern West Bank, and the Jordan Valley.  - Emirates News Agency, WAM


Human Appeal International UAE provides urgent relief aid to tens of Palestinian families

Jerusalem:  UAE Appeal International UAE (HAI) has offered urgent relief assistance to the dozens of Palestinian families whose homes were washed away by the floods in the Palestinian territories amid heavy rains and strong winds sweeping the region.

Ibrahim Rashid, Director of HAI Office in West Bank, said with intense bad weather conditions being experienced by the Palestinian territories, the HAI follows up in coordination with the Palestinian officials the conditions of families affected by the floods, especially In the Jordan Valley East of the West Bank.

HAI team had distributed tents, blankets, food parcels and cash to 30 Bedouin families. They also provided assistance to other 30 families in the areas near Jericho East of the West Bank.

The Palestinian officials thanked the UAE and the HAI for their humanitarian efforts in the Palestinian territories.  - Emirates News Agency, WAM


Etihad Airways' distribute blankets and food among underprivileged children in India

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has organised a substantial blanket distribution drive to help underprivileged children survive the harsh winter season in New Delhi.

This initiative, which is the first conducted by the airline in India, was organised in association with Monyati Initiatives, an India-based non-profit social development organisation, along with Ammucare Charitable Trust.

Blankets and warm food parcels were distributed to three shelters housing orphans and abandoned street children, as well as to farmers and their families, day labourers and the city's destitute street people.

Etihad Airways recently supported welfare organisations in Kathmandu as part of its CSR programme in Nepal. - Emirates News Agency, WAM


French President Francois Hollande to deliver keynote speech at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week

French President Francois Hollande will deliver a keynote speech at the official inauguration of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), which will take place during the opening ceremony of the World Future Energy Summit on January 15th.

Taking place on January 13-17, ADSW is the largest gathering on sustainability in the history of the Middle East and will address the interconnected challenges that affect the global adoption of renewable energy, water security and sustainable development.

The visit by the French president underscores the strong bilateral relationship between both countries and the mutual interest to accelerate clean energy deployment and diversify the global energy mix.

"France has a firm commitment to sustainable development and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. France has offered to host the COP 21 and expressed its willingness to cooperate tightly with all the countries, who are ready to work together, notably the UAE, in order to pave the way for the most ambitious agreement possible in 2015 on climate change," said French President Francois Hollande. "This trip to the UAE is an opportunity to identify ways the global community can better work together to carve a pathway for sustainability and the deployment of clean energy." France and the UAE are already working together to advance the new energy industry. Total, the multinational French oil and gas company, and Masdar, Abu Dhabi's renewable energy company, have partnered to build Shams 1 - a 100 megawatt Concentrated Solar Project. When complete, Shams 1 will be the largest CSP facility in the Middle East, delivering clean energy to more than 20,000 homes and displace 175,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.

Schneider Electric, the winner of last year's Zayed Future Energy Prize, in the category of large corporations, is working in the UAE and with Masdar on energy efficiency issues. While institutions such as ParisTech are collaborating with the Masdar Institute in developing the Global Renewable Energy Atlas.

"Our countries share a common bond, as France and the UAE are seriously tackling the energy and climate challenge," said Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, CEO of Masdar, Abu Dhabi's renewable energy company. "From investments in large-scale renewable energy to domestic carbon reduction strategies, we are showcasing the economic, social and environmental benefits of sustainable development.

"It's an honour to welcome President Hollande to Abu Dhabi for the World Future Energy Summit as part of the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week," added Dr. Al Jaber. "From low-carbon nuclear power to its commitment to wind, solar and bio-energy, France is helping shape the global discussion about the future of energy." France is making a strategic move to invest in renewable energy as a method to lower the costs of electricity and boost the national economy. Today, France's wind energy capacity ranks sixth in the world and the nation has a target to produce 23 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. It has engaged an impressive effort for greater energy efficiency in its industry, transport infrastructure and construction.

"President Hollande at the World Future Energy Summit will highlight how France is balancing its energy portfolio and integrating more sources of renewable power," said Dr. Al Jaber. "We look forward to engaging in meaningful dialogue and identifying more ways our countries can work together.

"To seriously consider the global sustainability challenge, the relationship between economic development, energy security, water scarcity and climate change cannot be overlooked," added Dr. Al Jaber. "The Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week and its associated events will address these interconnected challenges and promote tangible ways to accelerate the adoption of renewable energy and sustainable development." Uniting more than 30,000 participants from 150 countries, ADSW will gather leaders from academia, industry and government to tackle the business, technology and financial challenges required for sustainable development and renewable energy adoption. ADSW includes five integrated events: the 6th World Future Energy Summit; the International Renewable Energy Conference; the International Water Summit; the 5th Zayed Future Energy Prize Awards Ceremony; and the General Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency. Other events taking place alongside ADSW include first energy ministerial of South American and Arab countries (ASPA).

Among the attendees of the World Future Energy Summit and the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week are His Majesty King Juan Carlos of Spain, the President of Iceland Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, Prime Minister of Serbia Ivica Dacic Prime Minister of Montenegro Milo Djukanovic, and President of Mauritania Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz. - Emirates News Agency, WAM


Masdar to host thousands of Emirati students at World Future Energy Summit

Thousands of Emirati high school and university students from across the UAE will attend the World Future Energy Summit (WFES) and International Water Summit (IWS) to be held here January 15 to 17 as part of the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week.

Students will meet and interact with industry experts from around the world to learn about renewable energy, clean technology, water scarcity and sustainable development.

They will also be given an opportunity to learn about critical issues, such as water conservation, energy efficiency and clean technology development.

Industry partners Japanese Pavilion, ExxonMobil and Shell Gas are among those already confirmed to participate and engage with students. Each company will join Masdar in welcoming the students for presentations, quizzes and interactive displays during the summit.

WFES is the world's foremost annual gathering for the renewable energy and sustainability technologies industry. It brings together the most prominent industry leaders, government officials, ministers, technology experts and visitors to discuss the future of renewable energy in the region and beyond.

During the first-ever International Water Summit, government leaders, policy makers and NGOs will explore the nexus between water and energy. The summit will gather influential water experts to discuss how resources can be used more efficiently, and identify the policies and technologies needed to encourage water access and conservation.

Both events are part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) - the largest gathering on sustainability in the history of the Middle East. Taking place January 13-17, ADSW will address the interconnected challenges that affect the global adoption of renewable energy and sustainable development.

ADSW will include five integrated events: the third general assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA); the sixth World Future Energy Summit; the International Renewable Energy Conference; the International Water Summit; and the fifth Zayed Future Energy Prize Awards Ceremony. Other events that will take place as part of ADSW will include the first energy ministerial of South American and Arab countries (ASPA) and the Global Green Growth Institute Council meeting. - Emirates News Agency, WAM


Mohammed bin Rashid launches new platform for Islamic economic solutions to augment Dubai's Growth

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, yesterday announced a group of initiatives to set up a comprehensive platform of Islamic economy products and services aimed at integrating Islamic economy as part of the overall Dubai economy.

The platform includes Islamic finance instruments, Islamic insurance, Islamic contracts' arbitration, Islamic food industry and trade standards (Halal food), and Islamic quality management standards.

With Islamic economic principles playing a growing significance in today's global business environment, with Islamic economy size reaching US$2.3 trillion and a growing community of 1.6 billion Muslims, the new initiatives are expected to further promote investments in Dubai, especially from economies spanning the Middle East, Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia.

Sheikh Mohammed said that new framework for promoting Islamic economy will further strengthen the open and integrated approach of Dubai in doing business. It is expected to lend further momentum to Dubai's well-diversified economy, which is an ambitious growth path fuelled by the robust performance of its core sectors including trade, retail, tourism, aviation, hospitality, financial services and logistics in 2012.

"Our cosmopolitan outlook to doing business continues to be our economy's driving force. Adopting a modern and scientific framework for Islamic economies world-wide, here in Dubai, meets the demand from local, regional and international investors for a central hub to invest, grow and do business." Sheikh Mohammed added that the new initiatives will further boost the economic diversification of Dubai and complement Dubai's pioneering approach to Islamic Economy, having established the world's first Islamic bank in the 1970s as well as the world's first Islamic financial market.

Among other initiatives announced by Sheikh Mohammed include the development of commercial standards for Islamic industries and guidelines for Halal food manufacturing.

Dubai also seeks to develop Islamic quality standards for Halal food approval. This will encourage the food industry and promote linkages with global and regional businesses, as well as different business sectors including transport, storage and handling.

Sheikh Mohammed said the Government will not compromise on its principles of openness and commitment to a free market economy. "By strengthening Islamic economic principles as an integral part of our overall approach to growth and development, we are further supporting the entrepreneurial community, especially from the Arab world." Dubai has the robust infrastructure to serve as the centre of the Islamic economies across the Middle East and North Africa. Geographically too, the city has the advantage of serving as a vital link between the West and the East. Dubai International Airport - the world's fourth busiest hub for international passengers - receives more than 55 million passengers yearly.

Dubai's value of non-oil foreign trade reached over Dh 1 trillion in the first ten months of 2012, some 13 per cent more than the same period in 2011. - Emirates News Agency, WAM


Lubna lauds Sheikh Mohammed's Islamic economy vision as ''promising''

Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, Minister of Foreign Trade, yesterday praised the announcement of Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum for integrating Islamic economy as a key sector of Dubai economy as a 'promising step forward'' to boost assets and gains made by Dubai over the recent years.

Sheikha Lubna the move would build on Dubai's success based on a well-planned and careful vision to push economic diversification drive forward and create new sectors that support the accelerating pace of developmental, economic and social progress.

The UAE with its successful economic diversification policies, the minister affirmed, had become a world premier investment melting pot buoyed by a vibrant diversified base for Islamic economy and other Sharia-compliant activities like Sukuk.

Moreover, she added the UAE serves as a global hub for Islamic banking with increasing number of banks playing major roles in funding and developing projects in the region and beyond.

''Sheikh Mohammed's initiative carries the inclusive perspective for contemporary development and economic growth both Dubai and the UAE are currently witnessing,'' Sheikh Lubna added, calling on investors wishing to establish projects and strike deals in consistence with Sharia principles to take advantage of support and sponsorship provided by the wise leadership in the framework of its quest to leverage the Islamic economy as tributary of UAE national economy.

Sheikha Lubna noted that her ministry delegations had been approached during foreign tours by investors who wanted to launch Sharia-compliant investment in the UAE in general and Dubai in particular given the diverse options and instruments on offer. - Emirates News Agency, WAM


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