UAE and Russia join forces to counter terrorism

By Divi Shrine

DUBAI 15 October 2019: H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Denis Manturov, Russian Minister of Industry and Trade, co-chaired the 9th meeting of the UAE-Russia Joint Committee, which held in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

Addressing the meeting, H.H. Sheikh Abdullah stated that the meeting is complementing the works of previous meetings and coming as an extension of the strategic partnership announced by both countries during the landmark trip made by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to Moscow in June 2018.

”The 9th meeting of the joint committee holds a special significance as it precedes a historic state visit by Russian President Vladmir Putin to the UAE on 15th October, which underscores the depth of bilateral ties across the political, economic, cultural, social and scientific spheres,” said Sheikh Abdullah.

”To maintain the momentum of the flourishing ties, we are cooperating to ensure stability in the region and working together to counter and confront all forms of the extremist ideology,” he added, highlighting the rapid growth in bilateral relations in areas of trade, tourism, military cooperation and space sciences.

”I would like to extend our thanks and appreciation to the Russian Minister and the Russian firms, especially the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, for advancing our space partnership which culminated in the first space mission and the launch of the first Emirati astronaut into the International Space Station last month. We are all proud of Hazzaa Al Mansoori and happy that these moments will live forever in the memory of the Emirati people, especially the youth,” Sheikh Abdullah further added.

On energy market, Sheikh Abdullah said, ”The UAE and Russia have over the recent years cooperated to maintain the balance in the world oil markets and tackle imbalances in supply and demand fluctuations to ensure the aspired balance and stability in the markets and stimulate and maintain world economy growth and prosperity,” Sheikh Abdullah went on to say.

”The UAE is looking forward to consolidating this partnership with your country in sectors of energy, oil and renewable energy, which constitute the sustainable source of energy for future generations,” the UAE Foreign Minister told the Russian minister.

”In light of ongoing efforts to enhance bilateral relations, the two-way trade has seen remarkable growth over the recent years and the UAE and Russia today are maintaining advanced strategic trade and economic partnership in the region. The UAE is the key trading partner to Russia in the Gulf region. In the same context, I invite the two countries to set a time frame to double the trade exchange under the joint work approach and based on certain performance indexes,” he added.

He continued, ”We agreed today to accelerate the conclusion of a joint Memorandum on Cooperation between the Emirati and Russian customs authorities and to launch a committee for businessmen which will represent chambers of commerce in our countries.” On the investment sector, Sheikh Abdullah called for increasing mutual investment, particularly in sectors like oil, energy, renewable energy, base metal, construction and food security, noting that special focus should be given to food security as there is a prosperous market that can tap Russia’s huge potentials and UAE’s logistical capacities which Moscow can benefit from not only in inter-trade between the two countries but also through the UAE as a gateway to the region’s markets.

This, he affirmed, requires joint working teams to explore prospects for integration between these investments and other key incentive initiatives like national projects in Russia and the Abu Dhabi Government Accelerators Programme “Ghadan 21″ as well as encouraging mutual investment with a third country.

H.H. Sheikh Abdullah noted that tourism between the UAE and Russia has grown by leaps and bounds driven by mutual agreements including the entry visa waiver agreement, which has led to remarkable increase in tourism arrivals from Russia from 580,000 tourists to nearly one million. Likewise, UAE tourists to Russia also increased significantly by 58 percent.

Sheikh Abdullah affirmed that rapid growth in economic relations should be matched by increasing joint cooperation and coordination in the air traffic sector by launching initiatives seeking to mitigate impact of foreign exchange rate and other shifts in trade, tourism and investment flow.

”The UAE is expecting an important historic visit by President Putin, whose outcomes will encourage us to exert more efforts to serve our mutual interests,” Sheikh Abdullah concluded.

In his address to the meeting, Russian Minister of Industry and Trade highlighted the special strategic relations between the UAE and Russia, describing the UAE as an important trade partner for Russia in the region.

”We appreciate the mutual confidence, constructive dialogue and joint framework through which leaders in our countries are working through,” he said. He hailed President Putin’s upcoming visit to Abu Dhabi as ”important.” He noted that the mutual visa waiver agreement had contributed to a marked increase in tourism exchange between the two countries.

”We are looking forward to participate in Expo 2020 in Dubai which will further our distinguished bilateral ties,” Manturov added.

He expressed his delight at the success of the space mission of the first Emirati astronaut to the International Space Station, which he said had underscored the depth of bilateral cooperation in this sector.

later, the two ministers signed the minutes of the 9th meeting of the joint committee.

In a joint statement with the Russian minister at the end of the meeting, Sheikh Abdullah said, ”The meeting is convened as we mark two momentous occasions. The first is the safe return of Hazza Al Mansoori after an eight-day space mission aboard a Russian spaceship into the International Space Station, which will have far-reaching impact on the scientific and knowledge aspects in the UAE and encourage many Emirati and Arab youth to venture into the journey of research, knowledge and adventure.

Second, he explained, the meeting comes ahead of the landmark state visit by the Russian President to the UAE, which will highlight the course of progress in the Emirati-Russian relations.

”We are proud to see Russia as a strategic partner and friend to the UAE,” Sheikh Abdullah said, noting that several sectors had flourished thanks to this strategic partnership and confidence built by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and Russian President Putin. This relationship, he indicated, was clearly manifested in the economic, cultural, scientific and military domains and the exchange of views on regional and global challenges.

”We are looking forward to see this state visit adding a new building block to the strong bilateral relations and prompting ministers and officials in both countries to explore promising opportunities to further advance these ties,” he added.

”The UAE is marking 2019 as the Year of Tolerance which comes with many opportunities and challenges alike in a region facing extremist ideologies and a world confronting extremism and terrorism. However, the world is not united enough to face that.” ”We hope that our relations with Russia set an example for other countries to counter these ideas, address challenges and work together to provide our youth and those of other countries greater opportunities and better models,” he noted.

The Russian minister thanked the UAE for hosting the meeting, which, he said, had discussed issues that reflected the desire of both countries to bolster their cooperation.

Before the meeting, Sheikh Abdullah and Denis Manturov explored ways of bolstering bilateral relations across areas of investment, trade, economy, culture, energy and industry. They also reviewed several issues of mutual interest.

The meeting was attended by top officials from both sides.

Dubai Gazette