Foreign Secretary William Hague visited the United Arab Emirates on 20 December.
A particular highlight of the visit was the signing, with his counterpart UAE Foreign Minister His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al Nahyan, of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to agree the funding of a key infrastructure project. The Ministers have agreed to initiate a joint project to further develop an important highway in Afghanistan known as Route 611. This will play a significant part in the development of Afghanistan’s economy and link key population centres in the North and South.
The Foreign Secretary also received a tour of Al Dhafra Airbase in Abu Dhabi where he met Emirati pilots and thanked them for their ongoing support to the UK’s Royal Air Force.
At the invitation of the UAE Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr Anwar Gargash, The Foreign Secretary addressed a special gathering of UAE diplomats and dignitaries at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on successes of UK-UAE collaboration over the course of the year.
In the subsequent discussions, His Highness Sheikh Abdullah and the Foreign Secretary addressed several issues of mutual concern. These included the situation in a number of regional countries such as Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen, the Middle East Peace Process and Climate Change. The Ministers also praised the strong links of friendship between the two countries and looked forward to continuing their cooperation.
The Foreign Secretary also had bilateral meetings with Their Highnesses Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Higher Education and Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed al Nahyan, The President’s Representative in the Western Region.
During the visit the Foreign Secretary said:
‘I am delighted to be back in the UAE for my third visit as Foreign Secretary, and to be visiting so soon after the UAE’s 40th year of union celebration. We are committed to deepening our partnership with the UAE and other Gulf countries. My visit is part of our high level engagement with the UAE, which has included six Ministerial meetings of the UK-UAE Task Force. I am also here to discuss issues in the wider region, including Iran, Yemen, Syria, Libya and Afghanistan, where we wish to work with the UAE in support of peace and security’.