MOSCOW, 10th November, 2016 (WAM) – His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, chaired the sixth UAE-Russia Joint Meeting held here on Thursday as the two parties discussed ways to strengthen economic, trade and investment co-operation.

H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed said their discussions evolved around enhancing co-operation between the two nations that would serve mutual interests and help achieve the aspirations of the leaders and the people.

He also thanked the Russian government and the Russian Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Valentinovich Manturov on hosting the meeting, which he “deems a major step to further strengthen the strategic bilateral relations in all fields through the exchange of views”.

This meeting is a testimony that all previous meetings of the joint committee had been success and all of them served as a platform for proposals and solutions to overcome obstacles that could hamper bilateral relations, the UAE Foreign Minister noted. Quite a few achievements have already been scored towards enhancing the relations, he added.

H.H. Sheikh Abdullah also lauded the resolutions of the previous joint meeting held in the UAE last November. This demonstrates that the two parties are keen to achieve the objectives that serve the interests of both the countries, he said.

“The UAE and Russia enjoy special historic diplomatic relations, which were established with the erstwhile Soviet Union in 1971, and then with the Russian Federation in 1991. We mark today the 45th anniversary of these relations, which are characterised with friendship and stability based on mutual understanding and respect. Hence, these relations grew and were crowned with the high-profile visits of officials of both countries as well as the signing of a number of agreements,” he said.

H.H. Sheikh Abdullah urged the two parties to double their efforts to review the achievements in sync with their bilateral relations so that future plans can be put forward to boost their relations further and co-ordination regarding political issues of mutual interest. The two countries should also support each other at international forums, he said.

The UAE Minister also praised the high-profile visits of the officials of both countries, especially the visit of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, in March this year when he met Russian President Vladimir Putin. Dr. Amal Abdullah Al Qubaisi, Speaker of Federal National Council, also visited Russia in June this year.

The Russian Industry and Trade Minister visited the UAE last April while the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visited the country in February this year, he added. He also urged both sides to exchange visits at all levels to further strengthen their co-operation in all fields.

The UAE Foreign Minister stressed the importance of economic diplomacy in drawing the foreign policy map, hailing the role of the joint meeting in extending the economic bridges between the two countries.

Despite the initial statistics showing a surge in the volume of non-oil trade exchange over the first eight months of this year by 16.6 per cent, it is still too low to compensate the drastic drop in the non-oil trade exchange in 2014 and 2015 to US$1.76 billion, he added.

“This doesn’t reflect the growth of advanced bilateral relations between the two friendly countries,” H.H. Sheikh Abdullah said.

He noted that these statistical reports would urge both sides to find ways to focus on the importance of the private sector in developing the ties.

The UAE’s top diplomat underlined that the country leverages an advanced infrastructure to compete globally, being an international hub for airports and sea ports for exports and re-exports. He called on the Russian side, and all businesspersons and corporations of both parties, to exploit this opportunity to explore the potentials in each country to strengthen the joint co-operation that could boost the economic relations.

According to statistics, there are about 300 Russian companies operating in the UAE. H.H. Sheikh Abdullah welcomed the Russian investments in the UAE, commending the memorandums of understanding, MoUs, on economy and investment, which were signed earlier between the two countries. This reflects the keenness of the two sides to bolster co-operation, he said, adding that he looks forward to signing more MoUs to strengthen co-operation.