H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, stressed that the UAE and the Russian Federation share comprehensive strategic ties and are cooperating to create a safe, prosperous and modern region.
He made this statement during a press conference that was held jointly with Sergey Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, during Sheikh Abdullah’s official visit to Russia.
“My friend, Sergey Lavrov, I am grateful for my meeting with you and the kind words about my country. In the UAE, we are proud to have comprehensive strategic relations with the Russian Federation. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we realised that our relations with Russia will witness significant development in the coming years,” Sheikh Abdullah said.
He then expressed his pride for the work of the relevant teams and the embassies of both countries in Moscow and Abu Dhabi during the COVID-19 crisis, including in the Phase III clinical trials of the Russian vaccine.
“Next year, we shall host the Expo 2020 Dubai, which was postponed from 2020 to 2021, and I am confident that the presence of Russia will be an outstanding one. We are looking forward to the Expo, as the first key global gathering after recovering from COVID-19,” Sheikh Abdullah said.
“We believe that it will be an opportunity for the international community to highlight its outstanding level of cooperation, solidarity and hard work in delivering many doses of vaccines in a short time, and we are looking forward to a more efficient world, which will be better prepared to address such challenges,” he further said.
In his response to several questions raised by representatives of Russian media outlets on maintaining security in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region, Libya, the Palestinian cause and the Gulf crisis, Sheikh Abdullah stated, “We welcome Russia’s efforts to ease tensions in the region, and our objective is its modernisation. We can work together to create modern, developed, advanced and prosperous countries.”
“There are many opportunities to achieve development and improve conditions in a region that has witnessed numerous challenges. We need to refrain from overcrowding the region with weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles and developing nuclear weapons, as well as to prevent colonisation and extremism. As countries, we have addressed the issue of terrorism for many years. However, we also need to address the concepts of hate, incitement and extremism in the region and the rest of the world. These are critical problems that need to be solved,” he added.
He also talked about the Libyan issue, affirming, “Libya is facing a significant challenge after the fall of the region, two elections, and the domination of the political system by terrorist groups.”
He noted that Libya is a key Arab country, which the UAE, along with Russia, is willing to cooperate with, adding, “We have participated, along with Russia, in the Berlin Conference on Libya, and we supported a political settlement. We will work with our Berlin Conference counterparts, our friends from around the world and the Arab League to ensure the stability of Libya.”
On the Palestinian cause, he said, “Coordinating with the Russian Federation and your friends from Arab countries on the Palestinian cause is a matter of utter importance and we hope to cooperate to revive the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians.”
“I would like to highlight Russia’s positive stance and its forward-looking perception of the solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. I hope that we can work together with Russia, the Quartet on the Middle East and the Arab League to highlight the fact that there is hope for achieving peace in the region,” he added.
“The UAE welcomes Kuwait’s efforts, and there is no doubt that restoring Arab solidarity is important, and we believe that Saudi Arabia and Egypt are the two foundations of this solidarity,” he stressed.
“If there are countries that still support terrorism and extremism in the region, then this will be a problem. However, it is very important to address the origins of these challenges,” Sheikh Abdullah further said.
“Today, there are countries in the region heading towards modernisation, and other countries are in the opposite direction. It is important to support countries aiming for modernisation, but we should also encourage countries heading in the opposite direction to join the path of modernisation,” he added.
In his speech, Lavrov said, “We had useful talks with Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, most notably on our bilateral ties and the regional and international agenda. In their talks in 2018, Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, established the strategic framework of the partnership between the two countries, which was confirmed by the official visit of President Putin to the UAE, when both leaders stressed the necessity to reinforce their relations,” he further added.
He also highlighted the advancing economic ties between the two friendly countries, noting that their trade increased by 60 percent in nine months, a joint committee between the two countries is working successfully, and their overall bilateral relations are continuous developing.
“During our talks, we addressed the current situation in the Middle East and North Africa and our points of view are mainly convergent. We also discussed the situation in Syria, Libya and Yemen, the latest developments in Israel and Palestine, and the security agenda in the Gulf region,” Lavrov added.
Sheikh Abdullah and Lavrov held a meeting before the press conference, which discussed ways of reinforcing their bilateral ties and strategic partnership and strengthening their overall cooperation, most notably in the areas of the economy, commerce, health, renewable energy, culture and aviation. They also discussed several regional and international topics of mutual concern, such as Yemen, Syria and Libya.
During his meeting with Lavrov, Sheikh Abdullah said, “My colleague and friend, Sergey Lavrov, once again I am grateful for being in Moscow. I thank you and your team for the good organisation and warm welcome, and I wish you a happy New Year and a merry Christmas.”
“During the coronavirus crisis, we discovered who our friends and partners are, and I am delighted to say that our friendship and partnership have grown stronger during this period,” he added.
“I would like to personally thank you for your keenness to strengthen this friendship, and I assure you that your relations with the UAE will get stronger in the years to come. And for sure, the Expo 2020 Dubai will be another event for our gathering and Russia will be at the heart of this key occasion,” he stressed.
“I remember, with much admiration, the journey to space of our astronaut, Hazza Al Mansoori, accompanied his colleagues in a Russian rocket, who became the first Emirati astronaut to visit the International Space Station,” he said in conclusion.
The meeting was attended by Dr. Mohammed Ahmed bin Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Ambassador to the Russian Federation, and Mikhail Bogdanov, Russian Envoy to the Middle East and North Africa, and several officials from both countries.