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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 23 June 2018

UAE opens fourth consulate in US and discusses $10m to Hurricane Harvey relief

UAE Ambassador to the US Yousef Al Otaiba, Suhail Al Mazrouei, the UAE Minister of Energy, and Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State and chief executive of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, officially inaugurated the consulate in Houston

Suhail Al Mazrouei, the UAE Minister of Energy, UAE Ambassador to the US Yousef Al Otaiba and Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State, officially open the UAE Consulate General in Houston on Wednesday. Courtesy UAE Embassy
Suhail Al Mazrouei, the UAE Minister of Energy, UAE Ambassador to the US Yousef Al Otaiba and Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State, officially open the UAE Consulate General in Houston on Wednesday. Courtesy UAE Embassy

The UAE opened its fourth consulate in the United States on Wednesday, as a delegation discussed with Houston city officials a $10 million donation to support rebuilding and recovery efforts in Texas after Hurricane Harvey.

UAE Ambassador to the US Yousef Al Otaiba, Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State and chief executive of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, and UAE Minister of Energy Suhail Al Mazrouei, officially inaugurated the consulate in Houston.

Dr Al Jaber said that the opening of the facility reaffirmed the UAE’s commitment to strengthening the “already robust” trade and economic ties with the US.

“The [UAE] has a long legacy of building bridges between nations and forging mutually beneficial partnerships,” he told The National. “A legacy that the new consulate will cement and broaden.”

Mr Al Otaiba noted that the state of Texas was the second largest US market for exports to the UAE, lauding the educational, energy, aviation and trade ties between the two parties.

“In many ways, you can understand when I say that Houston feels like a second home to Emiratis,” he said.

The UAE, besides its embassy in Washington, has consulates in New York, Boston, Los Angeles and Houston.

Also on Wednesday, Mr Al Otaiba and Dr Al Jaber visited Emirati patients at Houston’s MD Anderson Cancer Center, which treats about 150 patients from the UAE per year.

In 2011, the UAE’s Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation donated to the centre $150m to support the new Sheikh Zayed Building for Personalized Cancer Care, which today hosts leading researchers and doctors working to advance cancer treatment.

“There is no better example of Sheikh Zayed’s legacy than the long-standing partnership with MD Anderson,” said Mr Al Otaiba.

Dr Robert Wolff, an oncologist at MD Anderson, said that the centre and the people of the UAE share an “enduring” relationship.

“This magnificent building exists today as a testament to the legacy of Sheikh Zayed through his sons,” he said.

Mr Al Otaiba, along with a delegation, also made on Wednesday a stop at the Harris County Emergency Operations Center, which oversaw relief efforts during and after Hurricane Harvey, and then the city council to meet with Mayor Sylvester Turner and other officials.

The two parties discussed the UAE’s $10m donation to support rebuilding and recovery efforts and how to best allocate the funds.

While large portions of the state were impacted by Hurricane Harvey, the city of Houston was hit particularly hard. At the peak of flooding, one-third of Houston was under water, and 75 of the city’s 275 schools were closed due to water damage.

“We are committed to helping Houston recover and rebuild after Hurricane Harvey,” said Mr Al Otaiba. “We want to support our friends in the ways they need it most, and today’s discussions will ensure we do just that.”