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Abdullah bin Zayed hails UAE- Korean ties

posted on 25/02/2013: 1331 views

Seoul: H. H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister has lauded the relations between the UAE and the Republic of South Korea.

On the occasion of his visit to the Republic of Korea, he said: "I am pleased to express to the Korean leadership and people my admiration for the achievements your country has made at all levels and to wish you further progress and prosperity." In a speech broadcasted by the Korean News Agency yesterday, the UAE Foreign Minister noted that "This is my third visit to your beautiful country since 2009, an indication of the importance we place on our bi-lateral relationship. Ties between our two countries have made - and continue to make - significant progress in many fields, thanks to the support of the UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and of Korea's leadership over many years".

He underlined the common desire of the leadership in both countries to strengthen the strategic cooperation between the two countries.

Sheikh Abdullah thanked President Lee Myung-bak for the major role he has played in furthering the bi-lateral collaboration during his tenure as president, adding that "I look forward to continuing to enhance our partnership with your new President, Park Geun-hye as she assumes the presidency." He hoped his visit will further invigorate the strategic economic, investment, scientific and technological ties between the two countries and open new areas for cooperation for the benefit of the two peoples. "We also hope that this visit will strengthen our shared commitment to maintaining regional and international security and stability.

Since the establishment of the diplomatic relations between the two countries in 1980, Sheikh Abdullah continued "we have seen tremendous progress in the establishment of ongoing and beneficial links. The formation of the joint committee for economic cooperation in 2005 was an important milestone that marked the beginning of an era of even greater opportunity for the bi-lateral relationship." In recent years, he added the two nations have progressed from historically friendly relations to a new and dynamic strategic partnership. The partnership now covers fields that include the peaceful use of nuclear energy, renewable energy, oil, human resource development, communications and information technology, in addition to political, economic, defence, and cultural cooperation.

Sheikh Abdullah said, "The UAE is now Korea's second largest economic partner in the Middle East and North Africa and is also one of the world's largest importers from Korea. The total volume of trade exchange between the two countries rose from US$ 17.7 billion in 2010 to US$ 22 billion in 2011. At the same time, the UAE is a major supplier of energy, in the form of crude oil, for the Korean economy." "We are fortunate to have seen a substantial increase in the number of Korean nationals living and working in the UAE, including business persons, medical professionals, engineers and even university professors, who have made important contributions to the prosperity of the UAE people." He said indeed, the evidence of the contribution of Korean residents in the UAE can be seen in such iconic projects as the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the tallest building in the world, which was constructed by Korean firms, as well as in important infrastructure projects, such as the four nuclear power plants being built at Barakah in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

Sheikh Abdullah noted beyond the economic and cultural relations, "Our political relationship is also important and is bolstered by numerous areas of joint cooperation, including in a shared concern regarding climate change, nuclear non-proliferation, maritime security and other critical global issues." Like the Republic of Korea, he continued that the UAE's foreign policy is based on firm strategic rules and is focused on commitment to the UN Charter, respect for international law, and establishment of relations with all, based on mutual respect and non-interference in the internal affairs of others.

"We believe in the resolution of disputes through dialogue and peaceful means and support just and legitimate issues and efforts to promote international peace and stability," Sheikh Abdullah said.

He noted that the UAE adopts the principles of tolerance and peaceful coexistence in its regional and international relations, seeking to promote friendship and understanding among countries. It has developed strategic political, economic, commercial, cultural, scientific, educational and health partnerships with countries on all continents, reinforcing its status in the international community.

At home, Sheikh Abdullah underlined the UAE has developed policies and strategies which focus on the human being and human rights. It has worked to provide citizens with a decent life and the highest levels of prosperity through community development and high quality education and health care systems.

"We offer excellent, world-class government services to all UAE residents, whatever their nationality. A government charter forms the cornerstone in our commitment to protect the fundamental rights of all people," he underscored.

As a labour importing country, Sheikh Abdullah said, the UAE hosts millions of expatriates from about 200 different nationalities. They enjoy a high standard of living, security and stability, as well as the freedom to practice their religious beliefs freely. In addition, our labour legislation protects their rights, while their savings can be remitted freely to their home countries.

"The UAE has made women's empowerment and equality in civic, political, social and economic rights a top priority. Women now occupy four seats in the Cabinet and seven seats in the Federal National Council. About two thirds of public sector jobs are held by women. A new law requires that at least one woman should sit on the boards of every company and organisation," he said.

Sheikh Abdullah stressed that "The protection of human rights forms an essential component of our principles, as recognised by the country's election to membership of the UN's Human Rights Council for 2013-2015. This will strengthen the UAE's active role in the international community, and will provide new opportunities to contribute to international efforts to improve human rights at a global level." As part of its efforts to promote bilateral and international cooperation in the fight against human trafficking, he noted that the UAE has signed over fourteen agreements with governments and organisations. A founder of the UN's Group of Friends United Against Human Trafficking, the UAE supports the United Nations' Global Plan of Action against Trafficking in Persons, and has acceded to the Bali Process on People Smuggling and Trafficking in Persons.

He underlined that the UAE is keen to build bridges of humanitarian cooperation with all countries through the provision of relief and development aid. "We focus on providing assistance to poor and developing countries in the form of loans, grants and subsidies.

According to a report by the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development report in January this year. The UAE is ranked the 20th most generous donor in the world. Our foreign aid has exceeded Dh 163 billion since the establishment of our country in 1971, "he said.

Sheikh Abdullah concluded that "I look forward during my visit to the opportunity to discuss some of these topics and to review ways in which our two countries can further strengthen our collaboration, both in terms of our bilateral ties and with regards to issues of global concern. The partnership we have developed is one that we value highly and I am confident that it will continue to grow in the years ahead." - Emirates News Agency, WAM


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