The UK has officially announced its support for UAE’s bid to host the Expo 2020.
William Hague, British Foreign Secretary, in an opinion column for local daily Gulf News, announced Dubai as his choice for the hotly contested event.
“The United Kingdom will be backing Dubai to host the 2020 Expo because it deserves the opportunity to share its achievements with the world and because it would be a fantastic demonstration of the dynamism and potential of the region,” he said.
Hague acknowledged the “strong field of contenders” for the expo, which include Brazil, Russia, Thailand and Turkey but chose Dubai overall for sheer cultural diversity and its notable achievements during a short span of time.
“The emirate has blazed a trail of ideas and embarked on a vision which influenced the wider region and beyond. Dubai does not rest on its laurels, but continues to set itself bold targets to be the best and to achieve this in collaboration with its diverse community,” he said.
Hague further justified the UK’s choice of venue by saying that it will remind the world that the “Middle East is a region of dynamism, innovation and human potential” and not of “conflict and insecurity for which it is known.”
The announcement follows on the heels of a much-hyped state visit by UAE president His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan to UK in April this year. Prior to Hague’s official announcement, Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, also pledged his support for Dubai’s bid during his visit to Dubai in April.
About 100,000 British citizens reside and work in UAE while both countries are seeing increased bilateral relations in trade which is estimated to reach Dhs 70 billion in 2015. The UAE is also the UK’s largest import market in the MENA.
Former US president Bill Clinton, during his visit to UAE in April, said that Dubai was in a “strong position” to win the expo.