Wednesday, December 3, 2014

UAE, UK relationship on the upswing

(My article in The Gulf Today)
ABU DHABI: Increased co-operation in various fields and Expo 2020 are likely to push the already vibrant UAE-UK ties to a much higher level, according to British Ambassador to the UAE, Philip Parham. 
Addressing a select group of journalists at the British embassy in Abu Dhabi on Monday as part of a “press huddle,” the envoy touched on different subjects ranging from bilateral relations, trade, Palestinian issue and terrorism, among others. 
He noted that the bilateral trade between the UAE and UK had crossed Dhs72 billion in 2013 itself, surpassing the set target of Dhs70 billion for 2015. 
“This means that we have to set a new target and we are in the process of analysing that,” he told The Gulf Today in reply to a specific question.
The ambassador also expressed optimism that the two countries will reach a deal on elimination of double taxation soon. 
With over 100,000 British citizens resident in the UAE and around 50,000 Emiratis visiting the UK each year, the two countries are known to share cordial relationship. 
There are approximately 170 flights each week between the UAE and the UK, operated by British Airways, Etihad Airways, and Emirates. Also, over one million British visitors travel to the UAE annually.
Philip Pharam said that a super priority fast-track visa service for Emiratis visiting the UK will also help boost investment and tourism between the two countries. “We are continuously also looking for ways to improve such services and value feedback.”
On the issue of Palestine, the ambassador said that his country favoured a sustainable peace process. “We are for a negotiated two-state solution.”
Asked about stand on terrorism, the envoy stated that Britain had initiated tough new measures and would never ever go soft on such a serious issue. 
“Tough new anti-terrorism legislation is being put in place. Among the steps will be counter-radicalisation measures and greater powers to stop people heading abroad to fight — including cancelling their passports.”
He indicated that the UAE and Britain were closely involved in helping displaced Syrians. 
To a specific question, the ambassador replied that the United Kingdom supports a peaceful settlement of the dispute between the United Arab Emirates and the Islamic Republic of Iran over the Abu Musa, Greater Tunb, and the Lesser Tunb islands, “by any means which are acceptable to both parties.”
Asked about cultural exchange activities between the UAE and UK, he said through the British Council, the UK supports many of the major UAE Arts festivals including Abu Dhabi Art, Art Dubai, the Sharjah March meeting and the Sharjah Biennial. “This enables the UK to showcase its Art and Creativity to UAE-based audiences.”
In 2015, as part of the “Gulf in the UK” programme, the British Council will be enabling UAE Artists to showcase their work at the Shubbak festival in London as well as the Brunei Gallery at the School of Oriental and African Studies.
In addition, in partnership with ADMAF (Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation), the British Council has launched the Cultural Excellence Fellowships, a programme aimed at developing the next generation of UAE cultural leaders and creative entrepreneurs, through mentorship from leading UAE and UK Artists.


  1. That is very good for international relations.With the new Govt in place in India,even India is in the process of bettering relations with its neighbours

  2. good to know!!

    on another note, glad to here after ages!!!!!!