ABU DHABI // The UAE is intensifying efforts to exempt citizens from visa requirements in the Schengen area of Europe.
Diplomatic efforts with the European Union on the issue have been taking place for more than a year, Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Butti Al Hamed, undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said last night.
"The UAE wishes to express its appreciation that its request to be included among the countries whose citizens do not require a visa to travel to the Schengen Area is currently under serious consideration by the European Union," Sheikh Abdullah said.
The country wishes to thank the vast number of EU and Schengen states that have come out in support of its request, which it hopes can be officially heard this year, and is hopeful it can continue to count on this support even at the later stages of the decision-making process, the undersecretary said.
The UAE is ready to work with all relevant EU-institutions and to fulfil all requirements necessary to obtain visa-free status, including full reciprocity of visa-freedom to all EU and Schengen states. Sheikh Abdullah said the exemption would "mutually benefit all parties and strengthen cooperation and friendship in various fields between the UAE and the Schengen countries."
* Reporting by Wam