The UAE has strengthened its growing status on the global stage, after being added to the ranks of the Central American Integration System (Sica).
The Emirates was named as a Non-Regional Observer Member State for the organisation, which represents the interests of Central America as a region and in dealings across the world.
The agreement was struck at a ministerial council meeting of Sica in San Jose, Costa Rica on Friday, Wam reported.
The group's full members are: Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. The Dominican Republic is an associated member state.
A number of nations act as regional observers, including the US, Brazil, Argentina and Mexico.
The UAE joins the list of non-regional representatives, alongside countries including China, South Korea, France, Germany and the UK.
Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, welcomed the international invitation.
"On behalf of the UAE, I would like to thank the esteemed Members of the Central American Integration System, and their representatives, for the gracious invitation extended to the UAE to join Sica as a Non-Regional Observer Member State," Sheikh Abdullah said.
He said the move would bolster ties with Central American nations.
"Proudly, the UAE plays a vital role in the region as a facilitator and catalyst for global business and trade. It’s a destination for cultural, scientific, political exchange, and a trusted partner to friends and allies around the world."
Sheikh Abdullah highlighted the strong economic links between the UAE and Sica member states – with mutual trade relations expanding by 40 per cent in the past five years.
"The upward trajectory of our trade ties, coupled with over US$670 million in UAE investments in the region since 2003, reflects on our shared desire to build a constructive and mutually beneficial relation," Sheikh Abdullah said.
He said the UAE and Sica members share a host of common goals, from the advancement of human rights and the fight against climate change to renewable energy, tourism and food security.
New partnership boosts Expo 2020 vision
Sheikh Abdullah said the Emirates would seek ways to use the upcoming Expo 2020 Dubai as a global platform to bolster its friendship with Central America.
"We aspire to identify ways of capitalising on this global event, to serve our common goals to explore co-operation through Sica," he said.
"We are confident that this platform and its members will prioritise the importance of regional and global co-operation, and multilateral support.
"The UAE reaffirms its commitment to pursue these common goals, and its readiness to seize this opportunity to achieve our common vision."
Omar Saif Ghobash, Assistant Minister for Cultural Affairs, attended the Ministerial Council of Sica and signed the UAE's accession agreement to the organisation as a Non-Regional Observer Member State.
UAE taking leading role in global community
Earlier this month, The UAE, Albania, Brazil, Ghana and Gabon were elected to serve on the UN Security Council for two-year terms beginning next year.
Sheikh Abdullah said that the Emirates was ready to "shoulder its share of responsibility for the world’s most pressing challenges".
"I hope that our history as a trusted partner and intermediary will enable us to make a lasting contribution during the two years we serve on the Security Council," he said.