The vice president of the United States, Joe Biden, has just concluded a successful visit to Abu Dhabi and Dubai where he and his wife, Dr Jill Biden, met the leadership. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Price of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, received Mr Biden on Monday. The two leaders discussed regional challenges from the rise of ISIL to ways that the UAE and the US can work together to combat Iran’s negative influence.
Iran’s meddling in regional affairs and the recent nuclear weapons deal was a pressing matter of discussion. In defiance of the nuclear deal, Iran conducted multiple ballistic missile tests on Tuesday as Mr Biden was preparing to visit Israel and the West Bank.
Testing missiles with a 2,000km range appeared to be an aggressive act timed to coincide with Mr Biden’s visit to the region. The tests were proof positive of the criticism that the UAE and other Gulf countries have expressed about Iran’s recent behaviour.
In Abu Dhabi, Mr Biden said that the US clearly understands the challenges that Iran’s actions pose. Instead of coming in from the cold, Iran has chosen this reckless missile test and continues to spread instability following the nuclear deal and the lifting of sanctions.
The Biden visit wasn’t focused solely on political challenges. Mr Biden visited Masdar City in Abu Dhabi to discuss cooperation on renewable energy and clean technology. Dr Jill Biden also met Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak to strengthen cooperation on issues of women’s empowerment. Dr Biden, a full-time English professor at a community college, visited New York University Abu Dhabi and spent some time with university leaders and students.
Meeting Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, the Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, on Tuesday, the US vice president accepted an invitation for US participation in Expo 2020 in Dubai. With Dubai fast becoming a top destination for American expatriates, Mr Biden and Sheikh Mohammed discussed areas for development and growth in the tourism sector.
From issues of security to renewable energy, Mr Biden’s visit solidified our partnership with the United States and our place as a leader in the region. We have a strong foundation to continue to find solutions to the region’s problems.