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Red carpet welcome in Seoul

posted on 22/05/2007: 781 views

The charisma added much sparkle to the warm welcome ceremony in the South Korean capital, Seoul, as His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, arrived here yesterday on a two-day state visit.

Marking the memorable occasion with a rich red-carpet welcome for Sheikh Mohammed and members of his high-level delegation, the courteous Korean hosts displayed very visibly the high esteem in which they hold the visiting dignitaries.

The UAE delegation led by Sheikh Mohammed includes senior cabinet ministers, top businessmen and a large contingent of media personnel. The Grand Hyatt, the venue of the glittering reception, was all spruced up and the welcoming ceremony began the moment Sheikh Mohammed alighted from the dark Mercedes that drove him from the airport late yesterday afternoon.

Sheikh Mohammed's son, Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, also accompanied the UAE delegation.

Later in the evening, the Conference Hall of the Grand Hyatt was chock-a-block with a galaxy of local dignitaries, top officials and leading South Korean businessmen and others — providing a perfect setting for the momentous occasion and the distinguished chief guest, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed, who was greeted with thunderous cheers on his arrival.

A battery of newspersons, both from the UAE and South Korea, jostled with each other for space in the confines of the tastefully decorated hotel hall while cameramen and television crew vied for vantage points, climbing precariously over table tops and window ledges to line up their lenses to catch the first glimpse of Sheikh Mohammed and capture the euphoria of the moment.

The moment the UAE Vice-President made his entry, the large gathering of South Korean dignitaries and members of the UAE trade delegation seated at neatly laid-out tables nearby and others gave him a standing ovation and applauded repeatedly in admiration of the UAE leader.

Those at the back of the hall, anxious not to miss out on any of the ceremony or the celebration, craned their necks to get a better view of the proceedings. And none, it is easy to vouch, was disappointed. And none, it was equally obvious, would forget this memorable Monday that marked the beginning of a new era in UAE-South Korean bilateral relations and economic ties, bringing both nations still closer together in mutual trust and cooperation on the basis of shared values and common aims. (Khaleej Times)


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