Emiratis, Germans celebrate 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties

The two nations' shared history dates back to 1904, says ambassador

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Ernst Peter Fischer, German Ambassador to the UAE. Photo: WAM
Ernst Peter Fischer, German Ambassador to the UAE. Photo: WAM


Published: Mon 13 Jun 2022, 5:54 PM

The UAE and Germany are celebrating the 50th anniversary of their diplomatic relations, which were established in May 1972. Both nations are rejoicing over century-old interactions that began in 1904, a top German diplomat told the Emirates News Agency (WAM).

On the occasion of the bicentenary of the diplomatic ties in May 2022, Ernst Peter Fischer, the German Ambassador to the UAE, said, "I did study a little bit the history of Germans and this part of the world, and I discovered that the first real milestone was in 1904. A German explorer called Hermann Burchardt came to the Trucial States, and he took some famous photos."

Big leap from 1960s to 2004

In the 1960s, a German company called Seibert dug for water in Al Ain. They found enough water to make the first water pipeline from the oasis town to Abu Dhabi. "And since then, our relations have really taken off," said Fischer.

"Maybe I should mention that in the middle of the 1960s, the late Sheikh Zayed placed the biggest order ever for Mercedes 600 Pullman limousines. It was 13, but at that time it was the biggest order anyone had ever placed, and it had fitted with balloon tyres to drive in the desert. And there's some famous photos of Sheikh Zayed sitting at the wheel of his Mercedes," explained the envoy in an interview at the German Embassy in Abu Dhabi.

There was a big leap from 1960s to 2004 when the bilateral strategic partnership agreement was signed, which was a major milestone, Fischer said. "When [President] His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan visited Berlin in 2019, we updated and upgraded that document. So, since 2019 we have a shared road map of what we want to do together," he pointed out.

Global challenges, cultural affinity

Both countries can work together for peace, stability and peaceful conflict resolutions in both regions and in other regions of the world, the ambassador stressed.

"The next big challenge we face is the challenge of sustainability and the climate crisis. We have complementary assets, capacities and skills to face these challenges and we're both committed to them, and we can work together very well," he emphasised.

In the area of culture, both nations have an affinity, the envoy noted. "The UAE has a policy of tolerance and openness. It's a multicultural, inclusive state - so are we! Germany has a special background; we came from a space of intolerance. We know exactly the terrible consequences that that will have for everyone. It will lead to catastrophe," he warned.

"I think we have complementary experiences and by bringing our people together and doing shared projects on this kind of idea of how we live together in a multicultural, inclusive, peaceful and happy society, we can also be an example to others," Fischer emphasised.

People-to-people ties, tourism

The people-to-people relations are very good, he pointed out. About a half a million Germans used to visit the UAE per year before the pandemic, and the numbers are gradually coming back to the same levels. "Many Emiratis like to travel to Germany, especially in the hot summer months. Many have a property there and they like to experience our nature, our towns and our culture. Many Emiratis go to Germany for medical treatment as well," the ambassador explained.

An estimated 15,000 Germans are living the UAE and their number has been consistent during the pandemic, he revealed.

"We have a good number of Germans that have been here for many years. The Emiratis are very hospitable. It's a very interesting country for a German diplomat to work in," Fischer said.


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