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UAE Foreign Minister Shaikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the British Foreign Secretary William Hague signed the ‘Abu Dhabi Declaration 2010’ during the ceremony, reaffirming the UAE-UK Friendship treaty signed in 1971 that asserted that the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom will, in times of need, consult each other on matters of mutual interest, will promote educational, scientific and cultural cooperation and will recognise close and outstanding trade relations. The President, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, meanwhile, met Queen Elizabeth at Al Mushrif Palace. Shaikh Khalifa welcomed Queen Elizabeth and said that the royal visit to the UAE would further enhance historic relations between the UAE and the UK.
Shaikh Khalifa expressed appreciation of the role played by Queen Elizabeth in strengthening bonds of friendship between the two countries. He added that the UAE was looking forward to further cooperation with the UK in all fields.
He also said that the UAE was honoured with Queen Elizabeth’s visit, and wished her good health and further progress and prosperity to the UK. Shaikh Khalifa hosted a luncheon in honour of Queen Elizabeth and her accompanying delegation.
Queen Elizabeth said she was honoured to visit the UAE and praised the achievements made by the country, thanks to the vision of its leadership. She expressed the hope that the UAE will make further progress under the leadership of Shaikh Khalifa.
The Queen, who later left for Britain, was seen off by Shaikh Khalifa and General Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. At the Partnership Ceremony, Shaikh Abdullah endorsed the comments of the British foreign secretary about the strength and vitality of the partnership between the UAE and the UK. “I am delighted to see gathered here today so many British people who live and work in the UAE and who make such an extraordinary contribution to our society,” he said.
Addressing the Queen, Shaikh Abdullah continued: “Your Majesty, many aspects of the UAE have no doubt changed greatly since you were last here, in 1979”.
“Nevertheless, I feel certain that you will encounter the same warm welcome, the same spirit of enterprise and innovation, and the same openness to visitors from all over the world. And I am equally sure that you will witness the same unique relationship that the UAE has always had with the British government and people”, he added.
“My late father Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founder and former President of the UAE, signed the Treaty of Friendship with Britain in December 1971,” Shaikh Abdullah recalled.
Since that time, British people have been working closely with the UAE and its citizens to harness the potential of our natural resources and to contribute to the development of our country, laying the foundations for its economic success, he stressed.
And this is by no means a one-way relationship. The UAE has been making a growing contribution to economic and social life in Britain, Shaikh Abdullah added.
Shaikh Abdullah said: “Your Majesty, we continue to build on these strong foundations and I am confident that the partnership between our countries will scale even greater heights. Whether in trade or energy, in defence or security, in culture, education or sport, in humanitarian work or promoting peace between nations, the potential is enormous”.
“And it is because of this potential and the special bond between our people that I too am proud to sign in your presence the 2010 Abu Dhabi Declaration, reaffirming the 1971 Treaty of Friendship and further cementing the partnership between the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom,” Shaikh Abdullah stressed.
In his address, the British Foreign Secretary noted that the signing of the ‘Abu Dhabi Declaration 2010’ comes almost 40 years after the signature of the original Treaty earlier in 1971 thus reaffirming that “we stand together to recommit ourselves to the relationship between our two countries”.
Noting that he has signed the declaration with Shaikh Abdullah in the presence of the Queen, William Hague said: “Britain and the United Arab Emirates share a friendship that is rooted history and reinforced by common interests, mutual respect, and daily contact between our peoples. A million British citizens visit the UAE ever year, and over 100,000 enjoy the benefits of living and working in your country.”
Tens of thousands of Emiratis have completed their studies in the UK or are doing so at this very moment, and many others are regular and valued visitors to our shores, he noted.
“Our militaries fight side by side in Afghanistan and our law enforcement officials work closely together, contributing to our mutual security. And we enjoy flourishing economic and commercial ties which we greatly value in the United Kingdom and which contribute to the prosperity of both our countries,” Hague said.
“I commend to Your Majesty and to Your Royal Highnesses all that has already been achieved between our two great nations and to realise the vision of the UAE’s founding fathers”, he added.
“Today’s Declaration celebrates the enormous untapped potential in our future relations”, he stressed.
Hague congratulated the DP World on its investment in the London Gateway project and welcomed Thursday’s unveiling of the design for the Shaikh Zayed National Museum, an exciting collaboration between the Abu Dhabi government, Foster + Partners Architects and the British Museum.
“The British government is committed to a relationship with the UAE that is based on friendship, trust and equal partnership. I am confident that this Declaration will usher in a future in our relations that is yet more glowing and successful, to the benefit of our all citizens,” Hague stressed. —
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