Gallup and think tank leave Abu Dhabi

Polling company and Adenauer Foundation close offices in capital.

ABU DHABI // The polling organisation Gallup and the local branch of a German think tank have announced the closure of their Abu Dhabi offices.

"Gallup has made the strategic decision to bring its efforts in Abu Dhabi back to its headquarters office in Washington DC," a statement from Gallup said yesterday.

"Gallup will continue to conduct research and publish findings about the region, and will maintain a presence in Dubai."

The Abu Dhabi office of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, aligned with the German chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic party, closed at the request of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it said.

In Berlin, Mrs Merkel said she regretted the development.

"The UAE said that the closure of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation isn't directed against the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, but is part of a general closure of foundations," she said.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said he was not aware of the closures.

He said that the ministry would not be able to comment until next week.

The foundation's head, Hans-Gert Poettering, said on its website that the German ambassador was called into the ministry and informed that the foundation had to cease activity in the country.

"We were not given any reasons and we very much regret this decision," Mr Poettering said.

The foundation's Abu Dhabi office opened in 2009.

The organisation operates more than 70 offices around the world and promotes "democracy, the rule of law and a social market economy", its website says.

The local branch has held training sessions for journalists and organised discussions about the Arab Spring and women's rights.

* Additional reporting by David Crossland, Foreign Correspondent