As the United Nations continues to ramp up its aid operations for Syria, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, escorted UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon on a tour of the facilities at Dubai's International Humanitarian City (IHC) where they discussed Syria and other ongoing humanitarian crises in the region.
More than half the aid now being provided to Syrian refugees and displaced people is being channelled through the IHC premises in Dubai. UN agencies such as the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), the World Food Programme (WFP), the World Health Organisation (WHO) and The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) are already the largest users of the Dubai-based humanitarian logistics centre which has grown to become the biggest and busiest in the world. UNHCR alone stocks supplies to cover the needs of up to 700,000 refugees and maintains more than half of its global emergency stocks in Dubai.
As they toured the IHC premises, HH Sheikh Mohammed told the UN Secretary General, "For a decade, we have put Dubai's expertise as a transport hub to work for people struggling to get food and shelter for their families in times of crisis. With more than half the major humanitarian crises occurring in the MENA Region, the UAE and Dubai are honoured to facilitate the work of the largest of the UN's five humanitarian depots along with Arab and international NGOs like the Red Crescent, the Mohammed Bin Rashid Foundation and Dubai Cares. We are delighted to have you here to see these facilities first hand." "The International Humanitarian City, with its offices and huge warehouse complex, is a striking example of how the international community can address global aid and development challenges more effectively by closely cooperating," said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
"I'm impressed with what I have seen and extremely grateful to Dubai and the United Arab Emirates for their generous support in helping the international community help those most in need. I share the passion of those who work at the International Humanitarian City to do the utmost to expand humanitarian efforts." Also attending the visit to IHC was HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Civil Aviation and Chief Executive of Emirates Group, Dr. Anwar Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Mohammed Ibrahim Al Shebani, Director of Dubai Ruler's Court, Khalifa Saeed Suleiman, Dubai Director of Protocol and Hospitality, and other senior officials and members of the delegation accompanying the UN Secretary General.
The IHC was first established in 2003 and in 2005, received a grant of Dh37 million (US$10 million) from Sheikh Mohammed and private Dubai corporate sources. It now houses nine UN agencies and more than 40 NGOs and corporate entities who have over 270 staff in new office and warehouse facilities in Jebel Ali. The premises are strategically situated between Jebel Ali Port and Al Maktoum International Airport where cargo traffic rose 177 percent last year.
IHC members maintain stocks of food, vehicles, water purifiers, tents, communications equipment and medicines -- all critical for aid operations. In addition, the premises are used as a training and conference centre and houses operational offices for the United Nations, Arab and international NGOs, and businesses supplying aid agencies. It also provides temporary offices to UN members when staff are evacuated during conflicts. Aid from the IHC is shipped primarily to eastern and southern Africa and Asia, though it has been sent as far away as Haiti after the major earthquake there in 2010. HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, wife of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has served as Chairperson of the IHC since 2007.
The IHC has an annual budget of Dh16 million (USUS$ 4.3million) and is part of the United Arab Emirates' ongoing expansion of its development assistance. All told, the UAE provided Dh7.74 billion (US$2.11 billion) in foreign aid in 2011, more than double the amount provided in 2010. - Emirates News Agency, WAM
Seoul: H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Foreign Minister said that he confidently expect the bilateral relationship between UAE and South Korea will continue to develop rapidly, both in its volume and in a wider range of activities.
In an OpEd for the Korea Herald, he said: "I, and my country, look forward to the further development of those relations and to the strengthening of the strategic partnership between the UAE and Korea during the term of office of President Park." Here is the full text of Sheikh Abdullah's article.
It is with great pleasure that I am, once again, visiting the Republic of Korea, to attend the inauguration of your new President, Mrs. Park Geun-hye.
Over the last few years, during the term of office of Korea's outgoing President Lee Myung-bak, bilateral relations between our two countries have made significant progress, thanks to the support both of President Lee and of the President of the United Arab Emirates, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
I, and my country, look forward to the further development of those relations and to the strengthening of the strategic partnership between the UAE and Korea during the term of office of President Park.
The ties between our two countries began in 1980, when diplomatic relations were first established. Over the next twenty five years, our economic, political and cultural ties grew steadily, to the benefit of both countries.
The formation of the joint committee for economic co-operation in 2005, however, launched a new phase in their development and, over the subsequent years, there has been exponential growth in a wide range of fields.
Some of these are more familiar, such as the agreements between the UAE and Korea for the construction of our first nuclear power stations, at Barakah, in western Abu Dhabi, and the awarding of oil exploration and production concessions to the Korean National Oil Company, KNOC. These are of enormous importance, both in terms of the UAE's own ambitious plans to develop its energy sector and in terms of the growing role that Korean companies are playing within our economy.
There are other aspects of our relationship that have received lesser attention, but that are also of great importance both now and for the future of the dynamic strategic partnership between our two countries. Those aspects include collaboration in the development of our human resources, communications and information technology and co-operation in cultural matters as well as on political and defence issues.
Some of that is reflected by trade statistics. Thus the United Arab Emirates is now Korea's second largest economic partner in the Middle East and North Africa and one of the world's largest importers from Korea. The volume of trade exchange between our two countries was US $ 22 billion in 2011, up by nearly 25 per cent over the previous year. The UAE is a major exporter of crude oil to Korea, and now, with the export of Korean nuclear technology to the UAE, Korea has become an important supplier of energy to the UAE as well.
While few Emiratis live and work in Korea, we have demonstrated our desire to inform Koreans about who we are, and what we are trying to achieve through our active participation in the Yeosu world EXPO last year, where our pavilion, I am delighted to say, won plaudits for its contribution to our shared commitment to the protection of the marine environment. The film, The Turtle, which was specially prepared for our EXPO pavilion, was seen by hundreds of thousands of Koreans and has subsequently won prizes internationally.
At the same time, back in the United Arab Emirates, our mutual links are developing in other ways. Zayed University, for example, in collaboration with the Korean Language Globalisation Foundation, has established the King Sejong Institute, focused on teaching Korean language and culture, not just to its students but also to the broader community. This will help to elevate our cultural relationship, as will the growing number of Korean residents in the UAE, who now total more than 10,000. Many of these residents are working for Korean companies that have already made a significant contribution to our development. It was Korean companies, for example, who built the iconic Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the tallest building in the world.
As we look ahead, I confidently expect the bilateral relationship between our two countries to continue to develop rapidly, both in its volume and in a wider range of activities. There is much that we share, much that we can contribute to each other, and much that we can learn from each other. That, after all, is how a strategic partnership is defined.
At the same time, it's important for us to look beyond the bilateral relationship to the global arena. We have shared concerns in many fields, such as those of climate change and issues related to the prevention of nuclear proliferation. The UAE and Korea are both dependent, to a large extent, on overseas trade, so the promotion of greater maritime security is of crucial importance to us.
There are other global issues too where perhaps we can develop a common approach, such as the prevention of human trafficking, or the empowerment of women or the provision of humanitarian assistance for those in need, whether as a result of natural disasters or of conflict.
I look forward to being able to discuss some of these topics during my visit. We have already made great progress towards developing our relationship and our partnership. There is, though, much more than we can do in the years ahead, for the benefit of both our countries and peoples. I look forward to playing a part in that process. - Emirates News Agency, WAM
Abdullah bin Zayed attends inauguration ceremony of Korean President
Seoul: On behalf of His Highness Gen. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister, attended here yesterday the inauguration ceremony of Park Geun-hye, President-elect of the Republic of Korea.
Sheikh Abdullah conveyed the greetings and wishes of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan , Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the government and people of the UAE to Mrs. Park, wishing her success in leading Korea towards progress and prosperity.
Sheikh Abdullah spoke of the deep UAE-Korean relations in various fields and expressed admiration for the achievements the Republic of Korea has made at all levels.
"We look forward to further cooperation with Korea for the benefit of both countries and peoples", he remarked.
The Foreign Minister noted that the UAE is the second largest trading partner for Korea in the Middle East and North Africa, adding that the volume of trade exchange between the two countries had reached 22 billion dollars in 2011.
"We are confident the bilateral ties will continue to grow in the years ahead", he concluded.
Sheikh Abdullah was accompanied by Abdullah Khalfan Al Rumaithi, the UAE Ambassador to Korea, and a senior diplomatic delegation. - Emirates News Agency, WAM
The UAE's Expo bid took sail in the Caribbean this week, as True North docked in Havana, Cuba. The 70-foot sailing boat, which set out last summer, is currently circumnavigating the globe to raise awareness for the UAE's bid to host the 2020 World Expo in Dubai.
Having started its voyage in Europe, True North's multinational crew connects with communities in each port, giving people of all ages a chance to share their own experiences of how the Dubai Expo theme and subthemes resonate with them locally and impact their daily lives.
In the Bahamas, True North's last stop before reaching Cuba, the crew learnt about the Bahamas National Trust and the Government of The Bahamas multi-year project aimed at developing a sustainable land use plan for the Exumas, a district of the Bahamas, consisting of over 360 islands, which they hope could be adapted for other islands in The Bahamas.
Commenting on True North's journey to share the UAE's Expo vision around the world, Reem Al Hashimy, the UAE's Minister of State, in her capacity as Managing Director of the Higher Committee for Hosting the 2020 World Expo in Dubai, said: "Given the UAE's proximity to the sea, sailing plays a proud part in our heritage. We are very pleased that True North has arrived safely in Cuba, as we keep track of her journey across the globe to support our country's bid to bring the world together in 2020. True North's voyage reflects the UAE's Expo bid theme of Connecting Minds, Creating the Future" taking the Expo messages of unity and innovation to her ports-of-call across the globe.
Dubai, UAE, is competing against four other candidate cities bidding to host the World Expo 2020. The winner will be announced in November 2013 following a vote by the 163 member nations of the Bureau International des Expositions, the inter-governmental organisation responsible for selecting World Expo host cities. - Emirates News Agency, WAM