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UAE-UK Taskforce meeting held in Abu Dhabi

posted on 14/04/2011: 1037 views

The fourth meeting of the UAE-UK Taskforce took place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Abu Dhabi on 11 April 2011. The meeting was hosted by Dr Anwar Gargash, the UAE's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, and the UK delegation was led by Alistair Burt MP, Minister for the Middle East and South Asia at the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The Taskforce was established in July 2010 following the visits of the British Prime Minister The Rt. Hon David Cameron MP to the UAE, and the UAE Foreign Minister His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan to the UK, with the intention of further strengthening the ties between the two countries.

Ministers praised the strong relationship between the two countries and their intense and constructive cooperation on many issues, and noted that this had been greatly facilitated by the Taskforce over the past year.

On international development assistance, Ministers welcomed the successful seminar held on 6th April in Abu Dhabi that explored the potential for cooperation between the UAE and the UK on international aid. The Taskforce called for further cooperation in this area, including examining the potential for synergies between the renewable energy and international development agendas.

On defence and counter-terrorism, Ministers stressed the importance of continuing and further expanding bilateral cooperation. The UAE and the UK will work together in the coming months to identify and prioritise ways in which cooperation on security and counter-terrorism could be further enhanced and will review existing agreements to ensure they adequately reflect the high level of cooperation that exists between the two countries.

Ministers also welcomed the UAE's initiative to host an international conference on piracy, which will bring together both governmental and private sector stakeholders in Dubai on 18 and 19 April. At the request of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon an international donors meeting in support of the international counter-piracy Trust Fund, to be co-chaired by the UAE and the United Nations, will take place in the margins of this high-level conference. Both sides welcomed the UAE's intention to announce a significant contribution to the Trust Fund at the event. The UK confirmed that they would be sending high level Ministerial representation to the conference. Ministers also welcomed the UK's recent announcement of an additional £10 million to tackle piracy in the Indian Ocean.

On trade and investment, the Taskforce recognised the importance of encouraging the growth of business between the two countries and agreed to hold early meetings of the Joint Economic Committee meeting and a new UAE-UK Business Forum in the UAE. Both sides also noted the importance of the London Gateway project, as a flagship bilateral investment.

The Taskforce recognised the extensive exchange between the two countries in the fields of culture and education, and looked forward to finding ways to further develop this. Ministers specifically praised the ongoing fruitful partnership between the planned Zayed National Museum and the British Museum.

The Taskforce also noted that the new UAE-UK Consular Working Group would meet in Abu Dhabi on 25 May 2011 and emphasised the importance of it resolving a number of consular and visa issues. The UAE welcomed the UK's recent implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding on visa exemptions for holders of UAE diplomatic and official passports and noted its plans to reciprocate as soon as possible.

The UAE and the UK expressed their enthusiasm for working closely together on a wide range of G-20 issues. Ministers expressed particular enthusiasm for pursuing an ambitious agenda on low carbon energy and for the idea of collaborating on the UAE's proposal to bring the important issue of water security onto the agenda of the G-20.

On recent unrest in the region, the Ministers discussed the evolving situation in Libya and welcomed each other's contributions to the international mission to protect and provide humanitarian assistance to the Libyan people. On Yemen, Ministers noted the important and constructive role that the Gulf Cooperation Council is playing in offering to mediate in the situation. Both countries agreed on the importance of stability in Bahrain. The Taskforce also reiterated the importance of Iran complying fully with UN Security Council Resolutions on its nuclear programme.

Ministers agreed to maintain their frequent dialogue in order to further enhance cooperation between the two countries. As such, they agreed that the Taskforce should look to meet again in London within three months. - Emirates News Agency, WAM


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