ABU DHABI // The UAE has signed an agreement with the Philippines that will improve relations between the countries. The move follows the UAE visit of the Philippines’ foreign affairs secretary, Albert del Rosario, last week.
The memorandum of understanding on political consultations was signed by Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Mr del Rosario.
“I am elated that we were able to move our relations with the UAE a notch higher,” said Grace Princesa, the Philippine ambassador to the UAE. “The MoU is a significant step in UAE-Philippine relations.”
Both countries have agreed to work on an agreement creating a joint committee for co-operation on economic, commercial, judicial, security and cultural fields, among others.
The second agreement is a visa waiver agreement for holders of diplomatic and official passports to promote an exchange of visits.
Diplomatic relations between the UAE and the Philippines were established in 1980.
Mr del Rosario took the opportunity to express his government’s appreciation for the UAE’s initiatives to improve the conditions of Filipinos, the Abu Dhabi Dialogue, the pending law to provide better protection to domestic workers in the Emirates, and efforts to reach an agreement on a standardised contract for these workers.
“The UAE has been co-operative on the issue of domestic workers,” Ms Princesa said.
Sheikh Abdullah and his Philippine counterpart exchanged views on various issues of regional importance and the state of their bilateral relations.
The addition of flights between the UAE and the Philippines and the entry of Philippine carriers Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific are seen to enhance trade, tourism and people-to-people links, according to Mr del Rosario.
“We look forward to participating in the Abu Dhabi Festival in March and in other cultural and tourism festivals in the UAE,” Ms Princesa said. “For the next two years of my stay here in the UAE, I hope there would be more bilateral agreements beyond labour relations.”