Putin urges stronger trading relationship with the UAE

The Russian prime minister, Vladimir Putin, yesterday called for more trade between his country and the UAE.

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The Russian prime minister, Vladimir Putin, yesterday called for more trade between his country and the UAE, during a visit to Moscow by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. "As we welcome your visit to Moscow, we are quite aware it will contribute in development of friendship and co-operation between our countries and peoples," Mr Putin was quoted as saying by the state news agency, WAM.

"The trade exchange between the UAE and the Federal Republic of Russia is below the level of relations sought by the leadership of the two countries," Mr Putin said. Sheikh Mohammed meanwhile noted that there were "a variety of opportunities to bolster the bilateral relations in all fields". Russian tourists are a common sight in Dubai and investors from the country have been keen to invest in property in the city.

Sheikh Mohammed also invited Mr Putin to visit the UAE, and the Russian leader accepted, according to WAM. The Vice President also told a group of businessmen who accompanied him to Russia that the UAE was not being as badly affected by the global financial crisis as other countries. "Crises create men who are capable of dealing wisely and creatively with difficult situations, and this is what we are seeking to achieve," he said. The crisis would also "generate opportunities and energise all to rise again and emerge stronger".

"This scenario will manifest itself soon in the UAE, thanks to the determination of its leadership, government and institutions, who are all focused on the development of all emirates." Sheikh Mohammed pointed to the hardships endured by the country's Bedouin forefathers as evidence of the UAE's ability to overcome hardship. "Thanks to Allah the Almighty, our country is doing well, our economy is resilient. We should not worry or get pessimistic. We should rather be very optimistic," he said.

Sheikh Mohammed later visited the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Moscow, a war memorial dedicated to Soviet soldiers who died during the Second World War. * WAM