Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 22 October 2019

'Twin brothers': charting the UAE and Morocco's strong friendship

President Sheikh Khalifa flew to Casablanca for talks with Morocco's King Mohammed VIin 2006

President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Khalifa Ben Zayed Al Nahyane (L) stands with King Mohammed VI of Morocco during the welcoming ceremony upon his arrival at Casablanca Royal Palace, 23 July 2006, before meeting for talks. AFP PHOTO ABDELHAK SENNA (Photo by ABDELHAK SENNA / AFP)
President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Khalifa Ben Zayed Al Nahyane (L) stands with King Mohammed VI of Morocco during the welcoming ceremony upon his arrival at Casablanca Royal Palace, 23 July 2006, before meeting for talks. AFP PHOTO ABDELHAK SENNA (Photo by ABDELHAK SENNA / AFP)

The UAE and Morocco have always had a strong relationship. So much so that last year King Mohammed VI offered in a speech that the two Arab nations are like twin brothers, simply separated by geography. Speaking of his father, King Hassan II, he added: "Whenever he wanted to described relations between the Moroccan people and the people of the UAE, he could not find in the dictionary a more fitting description than that of brotherly, most cordial relations."

There have been plenty of official visits between the two nations over the years, including the one pictured, in July 2006, when President Sheikh Khalifa flew to Casablanca for talks with Morocco's king. Here, we see the two leaders at the welcoming ceremony upon Sheikh Khalifa's arrival at the royal palace.

This is a friendship that was forged under the leadership of Sheikh Zayed, the Founding Father, who paid his first official visit to the North African nation back in 1974, when he was invited by King Hassan II to open the new Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah Dam.

The relationship has been kept alive by the two late leaders' successors. In fact, King Mohammed visited the UAE just a few months ago, for talks with Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. Topics such as investment, humanitarian aid and healthcare were surely on the table, as the UAE has and continues to support Morocco in such matters for years, but also steak – as the ruler also found time to visit the city's outpost of Salt Bae's famed Turkish restaurant, Nusr-Et.

Updated: July 18, 2019 06:16 PM

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