Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed's visit to 'deepen partnership' with Germany

Germany's ambassador to the UAE said the tour will strengthen ties between the countries

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed's official visit to Germany will open up a "new chapter" in the country's growing friendship with the UAE.

Ernst Peter Fischer, Germany's ambassador to the UAE, said the tour by the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces will aid joint efforts to promote tolerance and counter extremism.

Mr Fischer, currently in Berlin for the two-day visit, said the nations have much in common and have an opportunity to build on already strong links.

During his stay in Germany, Sheikh Mohamed will cover subjects from politics, peace, battling radical ideology and promises to usher new avenues for growth in artificial intelligence, energy and the environment.

“Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel and Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed will take this opportunity to outline how we will deepen our partnership in the political, economic and cultural fields, including tolerance and the prevention of extremism,” Mr Fischer told The National.

“Germany and the United Arab Emirates have been closely connected since the foundation of the UAE. Sheikh Zayed (the UAE's Founding Father) was a friend of Germany and visited several times.”

Mr Fischer said Sheikh Mohamed’s second official visit in three years “will open a new chapter with more opportunities for both countries.”

“Both countries share a strong focus on future trends and have high ambitions,” he said.

“We plan to co-operate especially on intelligent manufacturing, the internet of things, artificial intelligence, as well as resource efficiency in energy, water and food and the green economy.”

Apart from meetings with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Chancellor Angela Merkel, Sheikh Mohamed will hold talks with foreign minister Heiko Maas, minister for economy and energy, Peter Altmeier, and leaders of German industry.

Sheikh Mohamed’s trip comes days after the UAE visit by Mr Maas that was part of a regional tour during which de-escalation of tensions in the region and the future of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal were discussed.

“Both countries know that ‘diplomacy first’ is the only way to achieve sustainable peaceful solutions,” Mr Fischer said.

“The latest visit of German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas to Abu Dhabi has shown again, that we have a close and trustful exchange with the UAE on all regional foreign policy issues. We share the belief that all countries should respect international law, multilateral agreements and the sovereignty of their neighbors. We also agree that there are no military solutions to any of the regional problems.”

More than 900 German companies have set up base in the UAE.

As Germany’s biggest trade partner in the Gulf, the UAE accounts for nearly 22 per cent of all trade between Berlin and the Arab world.

The country is an enthusiastic participant in the Expo 2020, with construction work having begun on a university campus-style pavilion and another structure planned by the southern German state of Baden-Wurttemberg.

Siemens, Germany’s largest industrial group, will set up its global logistics headquarters for airports, cargo and ports logistics at the Expo 2020 Dubai site after the world fair ends.

Dalia Abu Samra-Rohte, deputy chief executive of the German Emirati Joint Council for Industry and Commerce, said Sheikh Mohamed’s visit would further strengthen ties.

“The aim right now is to enhance the strong partnership we have,” she said.

“We have a strategic partnership and long standing co-operation between both countries in renewable energy, oil and gas, medical technology and consultancy. This is definitely a good opportunity to deepen the cooperation.”

Non-oil trade between the two nations rose 60 per cent from 2010 to 2017, touching $13.45 billion (Dh49.4bn) by the end of that period, according to government data.

German firms are also eager to parytner with the UAE in clean energy and the medical sector.

“Germany can help the UAE realise the aims of its diversification process,” Ms Samra-Rohte said.

“We have a very strong SME (small and medium enterprise) culture and that is what the UAE is also looking into. Another area we can work together as part of our bilateral relationship is in building innovative industry projects.

“We have several German companies who specialise as hospital planners and in medical technology that already in the region. They are hoping to increase cooperation with upcoming projects in the UAE.”

Updated: June 12, 2019 01:29 PM


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