UAE and UK hail 'growing partnership' after strategic dialogue in London

Ministers say talks are an important moment in bilateral relationship

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, with Britain’s Foreign Secretary James Cleverly. Wam
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The UK and UAE have hailed their “growing partnership” after strategic talks between their foreign ministers in London.

The two governments said the inaugural UK-UAE strategic dialogue was “an important moment in the bilateral relationship”.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, was hosted in London by his British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly.

A joint statement said they agreed on the need for co-operation to tackle global challenges, including climate change.

The Cop28 climate summit begins in Dubai in November, building on agreements at Cop26 in the UK and Cop27 in Egypt.

Sheikh Abdullah and Mr Cleverly “discussed the importance of an inclusive and ambitious agenda” at Cop28, the joint communique said.

They called for a “robust and unified response” to a global stocktake of progress on climate change that will conclude at Cop28.

The ministers “reiterated the need for accelerating climate action and collaborating on long-term projects that enhance co-operation on clean energy, climate finance, adaptation, nature, and food systems, and agreed to further elaborate these partnerships”, the statement said.

“The two sides praised the existing partnerships between the two countries in the fields of energy and clean energy, which complement and strengthen the two countries’ ambitious climate goals and transition towards a low-carbon future.”

The strategic dialogue built on a visit to London by President Sheikh Mohamed in 2021, in which the UK and UAE agreed a “partnership for the future” to strengthen relations.

Dr Anwar Gargash, diplomatic adviser to the President, met the UK’s Middle East Minister Lord Ahmad to discuss progress made since then.

Sheikh Abdullah also held talks with Grant Shapps, the UK's Energy Security and Net Zero Secretary, to review the co-operation between the two countries across industrial, trade, investment and energy sectors.

The foreign ministers “reiterated their commitment to the relationship and welcomed the growing partnership across a range of sectors, welcoming the inaugural strategic dialogue as an important moment in the bilateral relationship,” they said.

Trade links

Discussing trade links, the foreign ministers said they were ready to hold an eighth session of the UAE-UK Joint Economic Committee this year.

They said talks on a trade deal between Britain and Gulf countries could include annexes or side agreements that cover UK-UAE specific matters.

Britain is expected to host a fourth round of trade talks with the Gulf Co-operation Council this year after a third stage concluded in March.

Bilateral trade between the UK and UAE reached an all-time high of £21.6 billion ($26.9 billion) in 2022, the two governments said.

The ministers “outlined the UK and the UAE’s support for expanding and deepening trade and investment relations between the two countries in areas of mutual benefit.”

Sheikh Abdullah and Mr Cleverly also discussed foreign policy issues such as the conflicts in Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

They said they would “work together, including through the UN, to support diplomatic initiatives and channels aimed at ending the war in Ukraine, in line with the principles of the UN Charter”.

The ministers “commended the UAE’s leadership” on recent UN Security Council resolutions on Afghanistan, the statement said.

Updated: May 18, 2023, 11:26 AM