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UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-Operation Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed on Thursday emphasised the need for a diplomatic solution to the war in Ukraine during a visit to Moscow to discuss the crisis as well as energy and food security, among other issues.
Sheikh Abdullah said the UAE supported all diplomatic attempts at a resolution and was ready to be in touch with all sides to achieve this. He also said that he believes all sides in the conflict are capable of reaching a diplomatic solution.
During a press conference following his meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow on Thursday, the UAE minister stressed the importance of keeping food markets stable as a top priority for the region and the world.
“Securing the global food supply is considered necessary as there are a lot of countries in the world either in our region or abroad that largely depend on the import or export of grain and other basic food supplies around the world,” Sheikh Abdullah said on Thursday.
The pair also discussed the latest efforts toward a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine crisis as well as energy and food security, among other issues.
Sheikh Abdullah's visit comes three weeks after Russia invaded Ukraine, sparking an international backlash and leading to heavy western sanctions that have sent the global price of oil skyrocketing. Wheat and other commodity prices are also causing food security concerns in many countries.
"It is important to co-operate with Russia to enhance the security of energy markets and food security," he said.
He also said it was important that the UAE discussed with Russia the crises in Ukraine, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Iran and Lebanon, according to televised statements prior to his closed-door meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
“We look forward to developing relations between the UAE and Russia and diversifying the areas of interdependence between our citizens, institutions and our governments,” Sheikh Abdullah said.
Mr Lavrov thanked the UAE for its “balanced stance on the Ukraine crisis”.
The UAE has urged a halt in fighting and called for a diplomatic solution since the war began in late February.
The UAE, China and India abstained in a February 26 UN Security Council resolution condemning Russia's invasion – a bill vetoed by Moscow – but supported a March 2 General Assembly vote deploring the war and calling for the immediate halt to all hostilities.
Last Wednesday, the UAE foreign minister spoke to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the developments in Ukraine and the importance of working to reach a political settlement to the crisis.
Earlier this month, the UAE announced it would provide relief aid to affected civilians in Ukraine worth $5 million in response to an urgent appeal by the United Nations.