H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, stated that the relations between the UAE and Russia are profound and continuous, noting that the two friendly countries enjoy a solid strategic partnership.
The Russian Federation is a reliable partner, most notably in terms of addressing the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, he added, affirming that he is confident that the overall bilateral ties between the two countries will further progress.
Sheikh Abdullah made this statement during a joint press conference held with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, who is currently visiting the UAE.
At the start of his speech, Sheikh Abdullah thanked Lavrov for the warm welcome and hospitality he received during his last visit to Moscow in December 2020, while stressing his keenness to enhance the relations between their countries.
“My country considers Russia a key partner, and the signing of the strategic partnership agreement between the two countries is a key step in boosting our bilateral relations,” he said.
The world today is witnessing many challenges and crises, including the coronavirus pandemic, as well as extremism, hate speech and violence that have serious repercussions, which require greater cooperation, he added.
“Our overall bilateral ties are continuing to advance. Therefore, my country is satisfied with the growing trade exchange between our countries. In 2019, our non-oil bilateral trade was estimated at US$3.7 billion, an eight percent increase compared to 2018,” he further added.
He pointed out that their diplomacy is not the only area witnessing significant development, most notably in recent times, adding that their consular relations is also a key pillar in their bilateral ties, as 800,000 Russian tourists visited the UAE in 2019 and 17,000 Russian citizens reside in the country.
“The friendly Russian Federation has shown that it is a reliable and effective partner, most notably in terms of addressing the coronavirus pandemic. Today, we are continuing to witness the outcomes of our close cooperation. On 26th January, 2020, a pilot partnership was announced between UAE University (UAEU) and the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology,” Sheikh Abdullah further said.
“I would like to thank the Russian Government for confirming its participation in the Expo 2020 Dubai, which was postponed from 2020 to October 2021,” he added.
Sheikh Abdullah stressed that the UAE believes in the importance of boosting its overall international relations and cooperating with the world’s countries, explaining that there are potential areas for further cooperation, most notably in the sectors of energy, banking, science, innovation, space discovery, culture, health and technology. He then pointed out that cooperating in food security is a priority, noting that Russia participated in the “Gulfood” exhibition last month.
“The UAE commends the strategic agreement between Mubadala Investment and SberBank of Russia, which will boost Emirati-Russian cooperation in the field of investments,” he further said He concluded his speech by stating, “We are confident in the fact that the bilateral ties between our countries will continue to grow in all areas, despite the challenges facing the entire world. My country welcomes the Russian Federation as a partner and a reliable friend. My friend Sergey, you play a key role, along with your team, in reinforcing our bilateral relations. Thank you for your visit today, I am looking forward to cooperating with you in the future and witnessing our ties become an example of profound and diverse relations serving both our countries.”
“Since the official visit of Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, to the UAE in 2019, we have been working on boosting our partnership, and there is an 80 percent increase in the trade between our countries. We support the continuous growth in our trade, and we have joint plans for future projects in various sectors, such as banking, health, water and electricity, and agriculture,” Lavrov said.
During his visit to the UAE, he talked about the developments in the Middle East, as well as several regional issues, such as Yemen, Syria and Libya, and the Abrahamic accord signed between the UAE and Israel, he added, stressing that Russia welcomes peace accords signed between countries in the region and Israeli, and is keen to contribute to direct Palestinian-Israeli talks.
In his replies to questions from Emirati and Russian journalists and media outlets, Sheikh Abdullah said that the talks focussed on the advancement of Emirati-Russian relations, as well as the Syrian crisis and the importance of regional cooperation.
“Syria’s return to the Arab fold is essential and has nothing to do with who wants or who does not want it. It is a matter of public interest and the interests of Syria and the region. Several hurdles are complicating the cooperation between different parties. However, Syria’s return to the Arab fold and maintaining its key roles within the Arab League are a must. Therefore, the Syrian side and our colleagues in the Arab League are required to cooperate to make that happen as well,” he affirmed.
“I believe that the key challenge facing joint coordination and action in Syria is the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act. There has to be a way of realising joint cooperation in Syria. However, the Caesar’s Act complicates this process for states and the private sector. I also believe that we should have clear discussions about our friends in the US in this regard,” he stressed.
On the solid ties between the UAE and the Russian Federation, he said, “We need to have friends, and I consider my counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, a friend. We discuss politics, our bilateral relations and other matters, which strengthens our relationship and positively affects our teams.”
“Emirati-Russian relations would not have seen this recent boost if it were not for persons such President Putin and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, along with the presence of Lavrov,” he further added.
Responding to a question from the Emirates News Agency (WAM) about the significant growth in the value of trade between the UAE and Russia in 2020 despite the coronavirus pandemic and the areas where both countries aim to improve their cooperation, he stressed, “Every visit by Emirati and Russian officials is a catalyst for further boosting the bilateral ties between our two friendly countries. There are various transport routes between the two countries from several Russian cities to the UAE and we aim to increase the number of flights to additional cities, which will encourage investment and trade.”
Lavrov stressed that the relations between the UAE and Russia are becoming more profound and comprehensive every year, noting that the tourism sector offers many possibilities and their cooperation in this area is witnessing further development.
Following the press conference, Sheikh Abdullah received Lavrov and his delegation at a business lunch held at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi.
They discussed ways to strengthen bilateral relations and strategic partnership between the two friendly countries and develop joint cooperation in all fields in addition to addressing a number of regional and international issues and developments of common interest.
The meeting was attended by Dr. Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash, Diplomatic Advisor to the UAE President, and Dr. Mohammed Ahmed bin Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Ambassador to Russia.
Source: UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs