Significance of UAE-UK Relations

  • 27 October 2010

The visit to Britain of His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and President of ECSSR, and his meeting with the British Prime Minister David Cameron shows the advanced relationship between the two countries in all fields. The statements made by His Highness and the British Prime Minister during the visit also show the distinguished ties and the vitality that exists between the two sides, based on their keenness to develop this further for the benefit of their people. While His Highness reiterated the enthusiasm of the President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan to expand ties with Britain to even wider horizons in order to meet the ambitions and aspirations of the two countries and their friendly people, the British Prime Minister reaffirmed that his country treats its relationship with the UAE with dedication. He also praised the wisdom of the Emirati leadership which helps in tackling issues and has earned great international respect and appreciation.

The Emirati-British relationship stands on solid foundation that both parties are keen to strengthen. This is also demonstrated in the exchange of views on regional issues. Britain has always expressed interest in listening to the UAE’s wisdom on Gulf and Middle East issues as was witnessed during the visit of the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, to the UAE last June, which was his first overseas visit after taking office in May. That was another indication of the position the UAE occupies among the priorities of his government in the Middle East region. He made this clear during the visit referring to the shared future between the two countries, historic relations and harmony in issues of mutual interest and the commitment to reinforce cooperation in the fields of defense, security and economic relations.

If political relations, based on mutual respect and regular exchange of views, represent a crucial pillar in the relationship between the UAE and Britain, then the economics and trade provide solid support based on common interests. Statistics reveal that the UAE-Britain bilateral trade went up by 10 percent during the first half of this year and Britain occupied ninth position in the list of UAE’s top trade partners during 2009, with non-oil trade valued at $5.5 billion, representing 1.3 percent of the total UAE foreign non-oil trade this year. Besides, there are about 100,000 British nationals residing in the UAE and around 50,000 UAE visitors to Britain annually. They compliment the two countries’ relationship with a popular component that increases their vitality and wealth.