UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan with Queen Elizabeth II in Abu Dhabi, November 2010. (Getty)
UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan will pay a state visit to the United Kingdom from April 30 to May 1 2013 upon an invitation from Queen Elizabeth II, it has been announced.
This is the first state visit of a UAE President to the UK since the visit of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan in 1989, reported official news agency WAM.
Shaikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister for Foreign Affairs, said: “The state visit… is testament not only to the deep and historic ties between the UAE and the UK, but also to the immense opportunities that exist in continued cooperation between our two countries.
“The UAE is committed to further building and strengthening its bilateral relationship with the UK on all levels, with a particular focus on trade, regional and global security and education.”
Bilateral trade between the two nations is targeted to hit Dhs70 billion by 2015, said WAM. The UAE is the UK’s largest export market in the MENA region, with British exports to the UAE rising nine per cent last year.
The UAE has invested over £5 billion in the UK, including the Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA)’s projects in the North Sea and the London Gateway deep sea port.
DP World Southampton is the UK’s second largest container terminal and is operated as a joint venture between Dubai’s DP World and Associated British Ports. The UAE’s Masdar is also a major investor in the construction of the world’s largest offshore wind-farm, London Array.
Around 50,000 Emiratis visit the UK each year and over one million British visitors travel to the UAE every year. Around 170 flights operate between the two countries per week, added WAM.
There are around 5,000 UK businesses operating in the UAE and over 100,000 British expatriates live and work in the country.
The UAE President’s UK visit follows two state visits by Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh to the UAE in 1979 and 2010.