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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 19 July 2018

Sheikh Abdullah discusses UAE-US economic ties and Iran in Washington

Foreign Minister held talks with top US officials and legislators during three-day visit

Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed greets US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on Wednesday during his three-day visit to Washington. Wam
Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed greets US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on Wednesday during his three-day visit to Washington. Wam

Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed has concluded a three-day visit to Washington in which he discussed bilateral economic ties and Iran's destabilising activities in the region with top US officials and legislators.

Sheikh Abdullah met Secretaries of State Mike Pompeo, National Security adviser John Bolton, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and members of Congress from both parties during his visit, which was his first since June last year.

He oversaw the signing of a US-UAE aviation agreement that preserves the open skies framework, and also discussed bilateral economic ties and “joint efforts to counter extremist groups and Iran’s destabilising activities in the Middle East”, the UAE Embassy in Washington said.

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In his meetings with Mr Mnuchin and Congressional leaders on Wednesday, Sheikh Abdullah “highlighted the US’ $15.7 billion trade surplus with the UAE and the hundreds of billions of dollars of UAE investment in the US”, the embassy statement said. It noted the UAE’s ranking as the top US export destination in the entire Mena region in past nine years, with bilateral trade at $24.3 billion over the past decade.

Sheikh Abdullah and Mr Mnuchin also discussed counterterrorism and illicit financing, terror designations and the need for all countries to be "vigilant against Iran’s efforts to exploit their financial institutions to exchange currency and fund destabilising activities in the Middle East region”.

Among such efforts is collaboration within the Terrorist Financing Targeting Centre, created in 2017, between the US and Gulf States. Under the TFTC, 10 Hezbollah individuals and affiliated entities were designated by Washington and its Gulf partners on Wednesday.

In his meetings, Sheikh Abdullah also raised the recent US-UAE action to disrupt a large-scale currency exchange network that was transferring cash to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' Quds Force.

On the economic side, Sheikh Abdullah urged the US to reconsider its "national security-premised restrictions under Section 232 on UAE aluminium and steel exports to the US”, which make up 25 per cent of overall UAE exports.

The Foreign Minister's talks with US legislators, including senators Bob Corker, Bob Menendez, James Risch and Ben Cardin, and House members Eliot Engel, Ted Poe and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, addressed Iran, Yemen and the Middle East peace process.