x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

UAE and UK join forces to build vital Afghan road

UK minister of state for international development, Alan Duncan, was in the UAE yesterday to discuss joint efforts to provide developmental aid to Afghanistan.

Alan Duncan the UK minister of State for Development talks about UAE and UK joining forces to build a vital Afghan road.
Alan Duncan the UK minister of State for Development talks about UAE and UK joining forces to build a vital Afghan road.

DUBAI // A major motorway is to be built in Afghanistan as part of a joint foreign aid project by the UAE and the UK.

Reem Al Hashimi, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, yesterday met the UK minister of state for international development, Alan Duncan, to discuss their continuing cooperation in the area of development aid. Initial plans for the arterial motorway, Route 611, are already being set being set, Mr Duncan said. "We are at the early stages with the Afghanistan project but it will emerge."

The British foreign secretary, William Hague, signed a memorandum of understanding with the UAE last December to jointly fund further development of the thoroughfare in Afghanistan.

The 100km north-south motorway is one of the country's main supply routes and is the main road between the southern Gerishk district and the northern Kajaki district in Helmand Province. "We have agreed with the UAE to share efforts and cooperate in international development," Mr Duncan said. "We would like to share our knowledge and gain theirs in aid and development to better serve the interests of the people in need."

The UK government is also working with Dubai Cares to coordinate educational materials in the country, he said. Ms Al Hashimi and Mr Duncan were also expected to discuss aid to Yemen at yesterday's meeting. Before arriving in the UAE on Wednesday, Mr Duncan was in Sanaa where he met the Yemeni president, Abd Al Rab Mansur Al Hadi, and conducted a number of high-level meetings.

"Yemen is one of the most important regional projects at the moment," he said. "The country has been on the edge of collapse for so long, and now that Ali Abdullah Saleh is gone there is a chance for it to turn a corner."

Mr Duncan said he had been working with the UAE and other GCC countries over the past two months to raise funding for Yemen and get everyone to work together.

"In Riyadh and New York over the past month the international community pledged nearly US$8 billion [Dh29bn] to Yemen," he said. "The key thing is to ensure this money is spent and spent honestly and responsibly to help the country."

The largest contributor is Saudi Arabia with Dh11.7bn in aid.

The UAE has pledged Dh514m for nutrition aid and a further Dh367m for education in Yemen.

Mr Duncan described their cooperation efforts as crucial and the most effective way to provide targeted aid to a stricken country to prevent the eruption of conflicts.

"We have a structured way in approaching development aid while the GCC have a generous approach. What we aim to do is combine these two ways in an effective and positive way," he said.

 

amustafa@thenational.ae