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Putin's visit set to energise UAE-Russia relations

posted on 09/09/2007: 658 views

UAE and Russia are poised to begin a new phase of political and economic cooperation when President H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan receives Russian President Vladimir Putin on his visit to UAE on September 10th and holds. Putin's visit will be the first by a Russian head of state since 1971. It comes as an extension to the extensive meetings and consultations between the leaders of the two countries.

Last February, General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces Russian minister of Foreign Affairs received Sergey Lavrov.

During that meeting, Sheikh Mohammed welcomed Lavarov and praised the progressive relations between the UAE and Russia. He expressed UAE's keenness to further enhance cooperation with Russia in the political, economic and cultural fields.

The Russian Foreign Minister briefed Sheikh Mohammed on the outcome of the tour recently made by President Put to a number of countries of the region. He said that his country was still determined to continue its efforts to resume peace talks and to reach a peaceful solution to the Iranian nuclear crisis.

Sheikh Mohammed reiterated UAE's support to the efforts aimed at achieving peace in the region. He also expressed UAE's support to the quartet's efforts to reach a comprehensive and just settlement in the Middle East and to the efforts aimed at finding a peaceful solution to the Iranian nuclear crisis.

In his meeting with Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Lavrov said that Russia respects efforts by Arab Gulf countries to acquire nuclear energy capability and has confidence that they will put those programmes under supervision by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in compliance with the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.

In addition to reviewing the UAE-Russia bilateral relations and ways to further boost them, Sheikh Abdullah and Lavrov discussed the latest development in the Middle East, the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Iraq as well as the Iranian nuclear issue. Lavrov briefed his UAE counterpart on the latest Russia's recent efforts in the Middle East based on its support for a just and peaceful solution to the current issues.

The Russian foreign minister expressed satisfaction at level of the Russia-UAE trade adding trade volume between the two countries is expected to soon reach 1 billion US dollars. He added that an agreement has been reached with the UAE to increase investments between Russia and UAE.

On October 30th, 2006, Sheikh Abdullah led the UAE side to the joint Governmental committee, while the Russian side was led by Sergei Ohansian, Chairman of the Russian Federal Energy Agency. The committee included representatives from the ministries of foreign affairs, finance and energy, central bank and from major Russian energy firms.

Following that meeting, Sheikh Abdullah discussed with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov the progress of bilateral relations between the two countries. They both expressed satisfaction at the positive outcome of the meetings of the joint governmental committee. During that visit, Sheikh Abdullah paid a visit to the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, the cultural capital of Russia.

Professor Michael Biotrfski, curator of Armitag Museum said he had discussed with Sheikh

Abdullah means of boosting cooperation between the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and Armitag Museum, which is considered one of the world's four leading museums.

He said he had discussed with Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), Russia's contribution to the development of Saadiyat Island. "We are ready to work in this flagship project along with the Guggenheim and develop the Saadiyat cultural coast on the style of the Armitag in Saint Petersburg," he added.

He disclosed that discussions covered the holding of two Armitag exhibitions in Abu Dhabi, the first, featuring treasures of the Russian Czars , will be held at the Emirates Palace on September 10, while the second, devoted to Islamic art, will be hosted by the Cultural Foundation in 2008. Also planned is a third exhibition of modern arts which will highlight the evolution of the Russian art. He said his visit to Abu Dhabi will pave the way for sustainable cultural cooperation.

On judicial cooperation, the two sides initialled in last October an agreement for cooperation on criminal matters. The two parties agreed to hold another round of talks shortly in Abu Dhabi to finalise discussion on other agreements.

Dr. Abdul Raheem Al Awadi, Assistant Under secretary for International cooperation at the Ministry of Commerce, had described the agreement as a cornerstone in the UAE-Russian judicial cooperation as it will help combat crime through exchange of criminals.

Defence cooperation was also the focus of discussion between UAE and Russian officials. The Russian Defence Ministry hosted on December 13, 2005 military talks headed by the UAE Chief of staff and the Russian Director of the federal Administration for Technical Military Cooperation. They discussed means of boosting military cooperation.

The volume of trade exchange between the UAE and Russia has jumped from 155 million dollars in 2001 to 400 million dollars in 2005. But this figure "is still far below the expectations of the two countries," according to Mohammed Ali Al Essaimi, UAE Ambassador to the Russian Federation.

In an interview with the Russian Foreign Ministry's EER Magazine, the Ambassador said the proposed agreement on promotion of investment and prevention of double taxation was most likely to push bilateral cooperation to new horizons.

Al Essaimi noted that the agreement on trade, economic and technical cooperation the two countries had signed in January 1990 had paved the way for putting the bilateral relations on strong footing.

The Ambassador invited Russian investors to take advantage of the high potentials of investment in the UAE. The UAE has evolved into a leading financial hub thanks to its political and economic stability, solid industrial base, and liberal financial laws," he said.

UAE imports from Russia in 2004 totalled Dh1.6 billion, while its commodity exports registered Dh15.2 million. Trade exchange volume has grown from Dh2.8 billion in 2004 to Dh3.5 billion in 2005.

Tourism relations are growing significantly. Abu Dhabi's pavilion at a tourism exhibition in Moscow has attracted strong interest from Russian visitors band investors. Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, aided by representatives of 16 public and private entities, was able to promote the Emirate at the exhibition. The Pavilion was recognised as the best pavilion at the exhibition, according to Ali Al Hosani, Director of Tourism promotion sector at ADTA. (Emirates News Agency, WAM)


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