Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al Nahyan, the UAE foreign minister hopes that during his official visit to Cyprus beginning Monday afternoon, a new bilateral agreement will be adopted.
In an article on the occasion of his visit, the minister said the United Arab Emirates and Cyprus had been close partners since the start of their bilateral relations in the 1960s.
“Since then, our relations have been marked by mutual respect and understanding of each other`s independence, sovereignty, and culture,” he said.
As seafaring nations, Sheikh Abdullah said, “the UAE and Cyprus also share a common interest in a stable and peaceful regional environment that enables trade to flourish and allows our people to prosper. Today, as I visit Cyprus, I am confident that jointly we will be able to further boost this vital relationship and take it to even higher levels”.
One particularly important element of the relationship has been our close cooperation on trade and commerce, he added.
In 1977, the Cyprus Trade Centre was established in Dubai in order to enhance trade and commercial ties between the two countries.
This, he added, over time had grown into a dynamic hub and a driver of economic exchanges between Cyprus, the UAE and the Arab Gulf as a whole. As a result, bilateral trade between the UAE and Cyprus has progressively grown, reaching USD102 million in 2015.
Some 70 Cypriot companies are now operating in the UAE, which are mostly engaged in trading, engineering, services, and contracting and there are 1,000 Cypriot citizens, who are residing in the UAE.
Shipping and transport are sectors are also of enormous importance for both countries and economies, said the Sheikh. UAE airlines are now operating 10 flights to Cyprus each week. Earlier this year, the UAE`s DP World and the Cypriot logistics and service company, GAP Vassilopoulos Public, agreed to cooperate in the running of Limassol Port.
Sheikh Abdullah said relations were only limited to commerce and trade alone. In 2009, Cyprus opened an embassy in Abu Dhabi. In 2015, the UAE opened its embassy in Nicosia, which was being inaugurated on Monday as part of the visit.
“This has allowed our countries to further broaden our bilateral relations and will enable us to cooperate more closely on regional and international issues”, the UAE FM said.
Sheikh Abdullah said both countries have a joint interest in an open and tolerant regional order that safeguards the rights of individuals and opposes extremism, violence, and discrimination in all of its forms.
“We in the UAE remain resolute in our commitment to regional peace and stability and are proud about having fostered a culture of tolerance and non-discrimination in the UAE that safeguard people’s rights regardless of their origin, beliefs, or race against acts that promote religious hate, extremist ideologies, and intolerance,” he added.
Concluding, he said he hoped that his visit Cyprus “will help our two countries to forge an even closer relationship, by injecting further dynamism in our growing business and economic ties, driving forward the adoption of important new bilateral agreement, and promoting a peaceful and stable regional order that benefits our citizens and our neighbours”.
Cyprus is Sheikh Abdullah`s first stop in a series of visits in European capitals. During official talks with the Cypriot Foreign Minister Monday afternoon, “the two will exchange views on regional developments, security challenges and EU relations with the Gulf Cooperation Council.”
Sheikh Abdullah will also be received by the President Nicos Anastasiades.
Later in the evening, the official inauguration ceremony of the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Nicosia will be held, in the presence of the president.