The Deepening UAE-Britain Relations

  • 25 November 2010

Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II of Britain chose UAE as the first stop in her first visit to the Gulf in 30 years. This decision indicated the deep relations between the two countries and their keenness to take it to the next level. The Queen’s high level visit, which began yesterday, was in response to an invitation by the President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and came after a 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, in October and the visit by the British Prime Minister David Cameron to the UAE in June. Cameron’s visit to the UAE, which was his first overseas trip after taking office, reveals the depth of political exchange between the two countries at the top-most levels. There is a keenness on both the sides to maintain channels of communication at all times so that they understand each other even better.

Britain is a major international political power that has an influence on the course of events on the international arena. The UAE, on the other hand, is keen to strengthen its ties with influential powers across the world based on mutual respect and seeks to serve the interests of the nation and generates support for just Arab causes. Britain looks at the UAE as an important regional force and is therefore eager to continuously engage with it, listen to its opinion on important regional and international issues and benefit from the wisdom of UAE’s leadership. On the occasion, the UK’s ambassador to the UAE, Dominic Jermey, said that the UAE is an extremely important player in the GCC and Arab League. On the economic and commercial levels, a solid basis of cooperation exists between the two countries which are evident in the current volume of trade exchange and their plans for the future.

The UK Ambassador estimated that the volume of trade between the two sides is approximately £7 billion and the target is to reach £12 billion, excluding oil and defense, by the year 2015. There are more than 130,000 British nationals living in the UAE and 140 direct flights connect the two countries every week. According to figures, about one million British nationals visit the UAE every year. Britain also looks at the UAE as a pioneering country in the field of renewable energy. In his speech at the London European Future Energy Forum in October British prime minister called for making use of the UAE’s Masdar City experiment. When relations between two countries stand on a strong mutual will and evolve from a solid foundation it elicits mutual respect and develops continuously. Such has been the relationship between the UAE and Britain all the time.