x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Royal visit underpins strong political ties

Queen Elizabeth II¿s visit this week, her first in 31 years, has focused on her personal relationships, but the strong political ties between the two countries are also playing a prominent role.

ABU DHABI // Queen Elizabeth II's visit this week, her first in 31 years, has focused on her personal relationships, particularly with the founding President of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed, but the strong political ties between the two countries are also playing a prominent role.

Accompanying her on the trip were the British foreign secretary, William Hague, and his wife, Ffion. He attended a number of meetings with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed.

The pair signed a nuclear co-operation agreement between the two countries at a partnership celebration hosted by the British ambassador, Dominic Jermey.

A formal declaration reaffirming the UK-UAE Friendship Treaty was also signed in the presence of the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Duke of York.

The original treaty was signed on December 2, 1971, and confirmed that the two countries would co-operate on matters of mutual concern in times of need.

Sheikh Abdullah commented: "This is much more than ceremonial. It is representative of a vibrant strategic partnership that has the potential not only to deliver real benefits to our two countries, but to strengthen our ability to provide joint leadership on matters of global significance."

According to the British Embassy, the 2010 Abu Dhabi Declaration celebrates strong co-operation between the two in areas such as defence, security, energy, trade, education and culture.

An agreement was also signed to simplify visa applications. It is understood that UAE diplomats and government officials will no longer need to apply for a visa before entering the UK.

In a statement, the British Embassy said the agreements "reflect further strengthening of the long-standing co-operation between the UK and UAE following an increase in high-level engagements".

Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, oversaw an accord between the UAE University in Al Ain and the Cambridge Judge Business School, part of the University of Cambridge. Under the decade-long agrement, the two will co-operate on research, fellowships and visiting professor schemes.

Sheikh Nayhan bin Mubarak, the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, said UAE University had an important role to play in the future prospects of the nation, but it could only achieve this through "expansion of its research mission and through beneficial partnerships with world-class institutions".

The British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, speaking near the conclusion of the trip, said he was confident the visit would usher in "yet more glowing and successful" relationship between the nations.

 

munderwood@thenational.ae