Khalifa's state visit signals further strengthening of UAE - UK bilateral relationship

Khalifa's state visit signals further strengthening of UAE - UK bilateral relationship

Buckingham Palace and the Ministry of Presidential Affairs of the United Arab Emirates yesterday announced that His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, has accepted an invitation from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to pay a State Visit to the United Kingdom from 30th April to 1st May 2013.

The visit is a further important milestone in the context of the strong bilateral relationship between the UAE and UK, which continues to strengthen and deepen. His Highness The President will be accompanied by a high level UAE government delegation that will meet with UK counterparts on the sidelines of the State Visit and will attend a number of official engagements.

Speaking on the announcement of the State Visit, HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister for Foreign Affairs, said "The State Visit of His Highness, The President, at the invitation of Her Majesty the Queen, is testament not only to the deep and historic ties between the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom, but also to the immense opportunities that exist in continued cooperation between our two countries. Under the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa, the President, the UAE is committed to further building and strengthening its bilateral relationship with the UK on all levels, with a particular focus on trade, regional and global security and education."

Bilateral trade between the UAE and the UK is targeted to reach Dh70bn (£12bn) by 2015. There are around 170 scheduled flights per week between the two countries.

Around 50,000 Emiratis visit the UK each year and the UAE is a significant and dependable investor in the UK economy, injecting capital, creating jobs and contributing to long-term growth. As a result the UAE has invested over ?5 billion in the UK, including the Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA)'s projects in the North Sea and the ambitious London Gateway deep sea port - the single largest job creation project in the UK, supporting 35,000 jobs. Additionally, DP World Southampton is the UK's second largest container terminal and is operated as a joint venture between DP World and Associated British Ports. The UAE's leading clean tech firm, Masdar, is a major investor in the construction of the world's largest offshore wind-farm, London Array. Emirati companies have also invested extensively in British sporting industries well as landmark infrastructure such as the Olympic venue, London's ExCeL arena.

For the UK, the UAE is the largest export market in the Middle East and North Africa, and there are around 5,000 UK businesses operating in the UAE. UK goods exports to the UAE went up by 9 per cent last year. Over 100,000 British expatriates live and work in the UAE and over 1 million British visitors travel to the UAE every year.

The strong UAE and UK relationship is also based on defending common values and ensuring peace. Emirati troops and British soldiers have served in Afghanistan for more than a decade, co-operating closely to ensure stability in the Helmand region in particular. The UAE and the UK are at the forefront of international efforts to challenge extremism, co-chairing the Countering Violent Extremism unit of the Global Counterterrorism Forum, and are increasingly collaborating on international development.

The two countries have also worked together in Libya, where both contributed to the 2011 NATO mission, and in Yemen to promote political stability and help rebuild the country's infrastructure. The UAE and the UK are also working together to combat piracy off the coast of Somalia.

The UAE and the UK share a common commitment to excellence in higher education, supported by investment from the public and private sectors of the UAE in institutions such as Oxford University, the London School of Economics and Exeter University. At the same time, the UAE's Masdar Institute, one of the world's foremost specialist centres for renewable energy research, has forged ties with Imperial College London. Edinburgh's Heriot-Watt University has had a campus in Dubai since 2005.

The State Visit of The President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa follows the 2010 State Visit by Her Majesty The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh to the United Arab Emirates in 2010. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and The Duke of Edinburgh had also paid a State Visit to the United Arab Emirates visiting The Late Sheikh Zayed in 1979. The Late Sheikh Zayed himself paid a State Visit to the United Kingdom in 1989. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


UAE's support to Syrian people highlighted

The UAE's support to the cause and efforts by the Syrian people towards achieving their goals, and the UAE's appeal to the Syrian opposition forces to unite, consolidate joint action and expand their base in Syria, were highlighted by the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) in its Akhbar Al Sa'a (news of the hour) bulletin.

Arab leaders have become impatient as they wait for any sign of hope to find a peaceful solution to the crisis in Syria or peaceful political transition, it said, adding that the 24th ordinary session of the Arab summit yesterday in Doha affirmed the right of every state to offer all forms of self-defence, including military, to support the resistance of the Syrian people.

Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, emphasised that the UAE, under the leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, backs the Syrian cause and efforts by the Syrian people towards achieving their goals, and appealed to the Syrian opposition forces to unite, consolidate joint action and expand their base in Syria, it said.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid made his remarks as he met with Ahmed Moaz Al-Khatib, the president of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, on the sidelines of the summit in Doha.

It also noted that Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid also stressed that the UAE condemns all forms of violence in Syria. The bulletin further quoted Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid as saying that "the speech delivered to the summit by Al-Khatib today was 'touching' and expressed the Syrian people's hopes and ambitions." Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid's meetings with Arab leaders to discuss the consequences of the crisis in Syria and provide all possible support to the Syrian people reflect the fact that the UAE embodies the noble human values championed in its foreign policy. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


‘UAE Media has crucial role in nation’s identity’

The media has a crucial role in fostering the UAE’s national identity and social cohesion by inculcating pride in Emirati culture, loyalty and hard work in young citizens, a round table discussion was told yesterday (Wednesday).

Officials, academics and media professionals gathered to discuss issues related to the role and social responsibility of the media, other educational institutions and authorities in cementing national identity and social cohesion among citizens in the era of globalisation.

“Our goal should be to groom a generation that takes pride in national identity and works hard to preserve it,” Dr Maitha Al Shamsi, Minister of State, told the gathering organised by the National Media Council, in cooperation with the Journalists Association and the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies..

Stressing that social cohesion, family stability, and national identity are top priorities of the UAE Government, Dr Maitha said empowerment of Emiratis, especially in the media, was a great goal to achieve development in all spheres.

“We need a plan on which we all work to identify the role of the media in achieving goals on my agenda and see where is my agenda in the media content,” Dr Maitha said.

Dr Mariam Lootah, assistant professor of political science at UAE University, said cultural diversity of the UAE community should not adversely affect the Emirati culture – the foundation for security and stability.

“The UAE, like other nations, has concerns related to national identity. The French, German, Japanese and Indians all share these concerns over their national identities. But we can interact positively with other cultures and not surrender to them,” Dr Mariam said.

Dr Mariam urged concerted efforts by the media, educational and religious institutions to address challenges posed by globalisation, imbalance in the population structure and Arab uprisings. ‘We all share responsibility, including the school, scholars, media professionals, the families and the government to face up to these challenges,” Dr Mariam said.

Dr Mariam reminded Emirati intellectuals and media professionals of their responsibility towards their nation, urging them to promote community cohesion, preserve the UAE national identity, and encourage an inclusive environment that integrates all segments of society while upholding the unique culture, heritage and traditions of the UAE.

Dr Mariam called on the media to foster the national identity by preserving and propagating the use of the Arabic language, promoting the UAE’s culture, heritage and tradition, embedding values of religious moderation, and encouraging and promoting authentic UAE principles.

Dr Hassan Qayed, professor of mass communication at UAE University, said television has the greatest influence on its audience in the UAE, urging authorities to focus on the instigators and the message they pass on to the audience.

Dr Qayed said : “We need a real Emiratisation in the media, not artificial like what is taking place in the banking sector. Our graduates are victims of injustice being practised by many organisations.”

Aisha Sultan, an Emirati columnist, said the culture of hard work must be instilled in young Emiratis. “They should be advised to take on small jobs and then move on to better openings and bigger salaries.” – Gulf News


Khalifa Award for Education names Mohamed bin Zayed Education Personality of the Year

The Khalifa Award for Education has announced selection of His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces as a winner of the 'Educational Personality of the Year' category of the award for 2012/2013.

Sheikh Mohammed was awarded the title in recognition of his efforts and forward looking vision for advancing education as per international standards and best practices and for his continuous support to educational fields.

This during a press conference held yesterday after this year's award selections were approved by H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Presidential Affairs and Chairman of the award's Board of Trustees.

The award's Secretary General Amal Abdul Qadir Al Afifi expressed pride at selecting Sheikh Mohamed for this category of the award, introduced for the first time this year.

"The selection of Sheikh Mohamed as the first winner of this category is the least we could do to bring to light his efforts and continuous support to education and knowledge," she said.

She added that 34 out of 500 nominees won the award in different categories this year.

An official award distribution ceremony will be held on April 15 at the Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi. The award's total cash prize is Dh2.6 million.  – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed receives Somalia's Foreign Minister

H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foreign Minister, has received yesterday Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign Minister of Somalia H.E. Fauzia Yusuf Haji Adan. The meeting discussed a variety of topics of mutual interest as well as ways of enhancing bilateral relations to serve the mutual interests of the two countries. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


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