Dubai moves one step closer to World Expo 2020

Dubai moves one step closer to World Expo 2020

Battle lines in the race to host World Expo 2020 has narrowed down to four following the disqualification of Thai city of Ayutthaya by the Bureau of International Expositions (BIE).

Meanwhile, BIE’s General Assembly has approved Dubai’s bid, clearing a hurdle in its bid for Expo 2020. The BIE is hosting a two-day general assembly where the candidate cities are presenting their progress report.

“The Thai city of Ayutthaya has failed to meet the bid criteria and therefore is no longer in the race,” a source told Gulf News here in Paris, where the rest of the official candidate cities are making their second round presentation. Ayutthaya will not be presenting its progress report on Wednesday.

Among the rest, Dubai will face competition from Sau Paulo of Brazil, Izmir of Turkey and the Russian city of Yekaterinburg. With the growing political crisis in Turkey, Dubai is now clearly the front-runner for winning the bid which will be decided in November.

Meanwhile, the Bangkok Post reported that the president of the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) accused the government of ignoring and failing to support Thailand’s bid to host the World Expo in 2020 after the country was removed from the candidate list.

Akapol Sorasuchart was speaking as the Bureau of International Expositions (BIE), which comprises 163 member countries, started its two-day general assembly in Paris on Tuesday.

Dubai’s Higher Committee for Hosting the 2020 World Expo will make its final bid to host the event to the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) on Wednesday.

The World Expo is the third largest global, non-commercial event in terms of economic and cultural impact, after the Fifa World Cup and the Olympic Games.

A final decision will not be announced until November, when the BIE’s 166 members vote for the winner. Dubai’s theme for 2020 is “Connecting Minds, and Creating the Future,” and includes four sub-themes — sustainability, clean energy, smart systems, and opportunity. The emirate’s bid also has some big name support, including former US President Bill Clinton and Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates.

Dubai is considered one of the front-runners to host the event. If Dubai wins its bid, the expo is expected to provide jobs for residents and citizens.

The estimated budget for development of infrastructure ranges between US$2-US$4 billion (Dh7.3-Dh14.6 billion).

It is expected that 25 million visitors would attend a Dubai-hosted World Expo 2020, with 70 per cent of those attending coming from outside the UAE. The event itself will be held equidistant between Dubai and Abu Dhabi on 438 hectares of land.

During a previous presentation to the BIE, Dubai’s Higher Committee for Hosting the 2020 World Expo said the focal point of the exhibition will be a central pavilion called Al Wasl, which means ‘The Connection’ in Arabic.

The plans for the arrangement of pavilions from visiting nations is inspired by Arabian souqs, or markets.

Smaller buildings will be located near the centre of the exhibition with larger buildings on the outside. To comply with its sub-theme of mobility, Dubai said it plans build an underground railway system to connect the Al Wasl with the outer pavilions.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, will be in Paris during the presentation.

Sheikh Mohammed arrived in Paris on Tuesday at the head of a high-level delegation visiting France, according to a WAM statement. He is expected to meet with the French President, Francois Hollande, and senior French officials.

In an article for Gulf News, Sheikh Mohammed on Tuesday addressed the governments representing the 166 countries that will vote on November 2013.

“We tell them that our region deserves the chance to organise this great world exhibition, that our country is ready to host it and that we are committed to staging the best Expo in history.” – Gulf News


UAE Vice President arrives in France

Paris: Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum arrived this evening at Paris-Le-Bourget Airport, heading a high level delegation on a three-day visit to France during which he will hold talks with President Francois Hollande on ways to strengthen historical ties of friendship and cooperation between the two countries.

Sheikh Mohammed was received by French Minister of European Affairs Thierry Repentin and other senior officials.

The national anthems of the UAE and France were played by French Presidential Guards Band. Sheikh Mohammed inspected the Guards of Honour before heading to his residence in Paris. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Mohammed bin Rashid receives French Foreign Minister

Paris: Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum received at his residence in Paris this evening French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius in presence of Dubai Crown Prince H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Fabius welcomed Sheikh Mohammed's visit to France and reiterated the deep-rooted ties between the two countries in all fields.

Sheikh Mohammed and Fabius discussed a number of issues of mutual interest, as well as ways to enhance relations in economic, scientific, tourism and cultural domains.

The meeting also touched on regional developments, including the current situation in Syria.

Sheikh Mohammed presented a copy of his book 'My Vision' to the French minister who said he was looking forward to read it. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Mohamed bin Zayed receives British Chief of the Defence Staff

His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, received yesterday at Al Mamoura Building Sir Nicholas Houghton, British Chief of the Defence Staff, and his accompanying delegation.

Sheikh Mohamed welcomed the visiting military commander, hailing the advanced level of progress the relations between the UAE and Britain were witnessing in all fields.


During the meeting Sheikh Mohamed and Sir Houghton explored means of further enhancing joint defence and military cooperation out of firm commitment by the two sides to serve mutual interests of the two countries and their people.

They also exchanged views on the latest regional and international developments. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Greece's President receives Abdullah bin Zayed

Athens:  Greek President Karolos Papoulias received visiting UAE Foreign Minister H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Sheikh Abdullah conveyed the regards of UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan to the Greek head of state and his best wishes for progress and prosperity to the Greek people.

Sheikh Abdullah stressed the importance of boosting bilateral ties, particularly in economic, energy and investment fields.

For his part, President Papoulias asked the UAE foreign minister to communicate his greetings to his UAE counterpart, emphasising his country's keenness on strengthening its relations with the UAE, which he said were receiving special attention due to the prominent stature the UAE is holding worldwide.

The meeting also tackled a variety of issues of common interest.  – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Abdullah bin Zayed, his Greek counterpart discuss bilateral ties

Athens: Visiting UAE Foreign Minister H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan discussed yesterday with his Greek counterpart Dimitris Avramopoulos ways of enhancing relations and cooperation between the UAE and Greece in various sectors, especially in investment, trade and energy.

The meeting, which took place at Greek foreign ministry, tackled latest developments in the Middle East besides a variety of regional and international topics of mutual concern.

Speaking at a joint press conference at the end of the meeting, Sheikh Abdullah praised ties between the UAE and Greece, saying he was satisfied with the economic situation in Greece after it had experienced a series of economic woes.

Sheikh Abdullah called for taking bilateral ties to new heights, particularly in areas of culture, health, education and energy, which could open up new opportunities for broader cooperation. He also called for expanding and improving joint economic cooperation.

The UAE foreign minister emphasised the importance of boosting security and stability in the region.

For his part, Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos said Greece and UAE maintain growing, distinguished ties, mainly in economic and trade sectors.

He also marvelled at the prominent place the UAE is occupying at regional and international levels and its remarkable achievements in all walks of life. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Sheikh Abdullah meets President of Austria's Federal Council

Vienna: H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister, and Edgar Mayer, President of the Federal Council of the Republic of Austria, met on Monday and discussed issues of cooperation and friendly relations between their two countries in parliamentary, economic and investment spheres.

H.H Sheikh Abdullah emphasised the importance of exchanging parliamentary visits aimed at promoting cooperation, exchanging expertise in education and healthcare, and building bridges between the two peoples.

Also on Monday, H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister, opened the new building of the UAE Embassy in Vienna.

The 6.8 million Euro, five-storey building houses the offices of the UAE Embassy, the UAE Consulate and the offices of the UAE Permanent Mission to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

After unveiling a plaque to commemorate the occasion, the Foreign Minister toured the new building, expressing admiration for its design.

He urged the staff of the Embassy to provide assistance and services to Emiratis, including facilities for business people and hospital patients, as well as promotion of the image of the UAE.

Mohammed Hamad Omran, UAE Ambassador to Austria, and Ambassador Hamad Al Kaabi, UAE Permanent Representative to the IAEA were present at the Embassy opening ceremony.

Sheikh Abdullah, in a statement to the Austrian newspaper Kurier said, "Austria is a friend of the United Arab Emirates. Although this might not immediately be evident to everyone, figures underpinning the bilateral relationship between the UAE and Austria speak volumes.

These figures include the high rate of visitors between the two countries. Emirates Airlines operate 13 flights every week between the capital of Austria, Vienna and Dubai, the major travel and business hub in the Arabian Gulf. This means that in an average week, over 4,000 passengers board flights in either city to make the five-and-a-half hour journey across the Mediterranean. They travel for business or pleasure; and all of them enjoy Emirati hospitality on board an Emirates plane.

There is no doubt that business is an important driver of this close relationship between our two countries. 36 Austrian companies operate directly in the UAE and 336 Austrian companies are represented there by an agent. Moreover, the UAE is home to close to 1,800 Austrians who live and work there. Last year, over 10,000 UAE nationals visited Austria for tourist purposes, business, or to receive healthcare. Austria is an important European destination for the UAE and last year, both countries exchanged close to EURO 460 million worth of goods and services in mutual trade and investment; a significant amount for both our countries.

Another important aspect is the cooperation between our countries in the field of natural energy resources. Abu Dhabi's International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) has become the second largest shareholder in Austria's OMV with 24.9% of shares. I visited OMV and saw with my own eyes what this joint operation of two influential companies from different continents can amount to. One illustration of the formidable potential of joining forces is the concession that has been granted to OMV (together with Wintershall from Germany) to develop a sour gas field at Jebel Dhanna off the UAE's coast in the Arabian Gulf.

In my discussions with Foreign Minister Dr. Michael Spindelegger yesterday, we explored ways to expand our economic relations. But this was not the only issue on the agenda. We also discussed regional and global issues where the UAE and Austria share mutual interests, many of which relate to the security of the Middle East and Europe. In the past, we have successfully cooperated in the Balkans to ensure stability between countries and work towards peace and security for the affected populations. We both share deep concerns about the current situation in Syria, where the civil war is now in its third year and levels of suffering remain shocking. Furthermore, both Austria and the UAE support the concerted international efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

But the most important aspect of mutual friendship is enhancing the ease of movement between our two countries. Austrian citizens, along with most Europeans, are granted free 30-day visas upon arrival to the UAE. The UAE is asking that its citizens be granted similar access to the countries of the Schengen Area, in recognition of the excellent relations between the UAE and Europe, and of the significant economic contribution of Emirati activities on the continent. Too often, Emirati citizens are stopped at European borders and turned away because of unclear, complex, and restrictive visa-regulations.

In the coming weeks, the European Union is expected to make an important decision on the expansion of the list of countries that are granted visa-free access to the Schengen Area. Given the clear mutual benefits of this move, the UAE is counting on the support of its friends, including Austria, to become part of this list.

The UAE is proud to call itself a friend of Austria and a friend of Europe. We are happy to continue to contribute to this friendship and to continue investing and spending in Europe. In return, the UAE expects to be treated as a friend, including upon arrival at Europe's borders. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


Ghobash highlights labour role of Gulf States in Geneva speech

The Gulf states are a strategic partner to the International Labour Organisation, the Minister of Labour Saqr Ghobash said yesterday.

Gulf labour markets provide more than 15 million job opportunities that allow for the growth and development of workers and subsequently their home countries, Mr Ghobash said as the organisation's 102nd session took place in Geneva.

Labour ministers from the six GCC countries met Guy Ryder, the director general of the ILO, at the United Nations Palace headquarters.

Mr Ghobash remittances from Gulf states amounted to about US$80 billion (Dh294bn), which emphasised the developmental impact expatriate workers had on their home countries and on GCC countries.

The minister highlighted the impact of the Labour Mobility Conference, which was held last month under the patronage of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs.

The conference shed light on issues such as the migration of temporary workers and its impact on economic growth in home and host countries.

Mr Ghobash also spoke of the Abu Dhabi Dialogue and said it was a prominent initiative by the Government because it was a forum for continued deliberation among labourers' home and host countries.

He praised the International Labour Organisation's keenness to maintain a balance in the relationship between governments, employers and employees and said it was an essential element for the organisation's success, and he valued the ILO director general's efforts since he took office last year.

Mr Ryder said that recognised the developmental impact of the work of expatriate workers in the GCC and the positive effects it had on the Gulf countries, the workers, their families and their countries.

In parallel, there should be concerted efforts to provide a decent working environment for workers and to guarantee their rights, he said. – The National


Copyright 2007