The ninth meeting of the UK-UAE Taskforce was hosted by Foreign Office Minister for the Middle East Alistair Burt on 24 January in London.
The UAE delegation was led by His Excellency Dr Anwar Gargash, the UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.
Ministers welcomed the continued success of the Taskforce, first established in July 2010 by the British Prime Minister The Rt. Hon David Cameron MP, and the UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to further strengthen UK-UAE relations.
The Taskforce reflected on the successful visit of the British Prime Minister to the UAE in November and welcomed the establishment of the strategic defence partnership. Ministers emphasized the key role of the Taskforce in continuing to set out the strategic direction of the bilateral relationship.
As part of the ongoing efforts for closer cooperation on consular issues, Ministers signed the Prisoner Transfer Agreement. The Agreement will, where relevant, help to enable British and UAE nationals to serve the remainder of their prison sentences in their own country. Ministers also discussed and agreed to invigorate the UK/UAE Consular committee as a platform for progress on consular issues and to share best practices.
UK Minister of State for International Development, Alan Duncan MP joined the meeting to discuss UK-UAE cooperation on international development, including ongoing joint work in Afghanistan. Ministers agreed to explore options for further collaboration in Yemen, Palestine and Pakistan.
On counter terrorism, Ministers welcomed the inauguration of the International Centre of Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism and reiterated their support for the centre’s work. Looking ahead, the Taskforce also highlighted the need to work closely on the UAE hosted Anti-Piracy Conference later in the year.
The Taskforce discussed ongoing regional issues, and agreed to work together to improve stability in the region, working together to try to end the conflict in Syria and committing to coordinate closely to support political progress in Yemen and Somalia.
Ministers were pleased on the progress being made on UK-UAE joint communications work and agreed to pursue opportunities to promote future UK-UAE cooperation.
On trade and investment, Ministers noted the ongoing opportunities to deliver commercially viable collaborations. The Taskforce welcomed the fact that the UK/UAE Business Council is continuing to drive forward the bilateral trade agenda.
The Taskforce also discussed next steps in developing closer collaboration in education and culture.