H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, met with the Foreign Minister of Georgia, Mikheil Janelidze on Tuesday to discuss means of enhancing and developing bilateral relations between the two countries.
During the meeting, which was held as part of Sheikh Abdullah's official visit to Georgia, the two ministers also reviewed the latest developments in the Middle East and a number of regional and international issues of common concern, during which Sheikh Abdullah reaffirmed the excellent relations the two countries share, expressing his keen interest in strengthening them in all fields.
The Georgian Foreign Minister in turn welcomed Sheikh Abdullah's visit, stressing the Georgian government's desire to promote bilateral cooperation with the UAE.
The UAE Foreign Minister and his Georgian counterpart went on to sign two Memoranda of Understanding, one exempting holders of diplomatic and/or official passports of both countries from pre-entry visas, and another on the protection and promotion of investment.
Following the meeting, the two ministers held a joint press conference, at which Sheikh Abdullah said, "Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries in 1992, bilateral relations have developed and flourished in the economic, political and social fields, and we hope to see this relationship flourish further in the future."
He said that both the UAE and Georgia have exerted efforts to promote bilateral economic and trade relations, which reflected positively on the level of trade exchange between them. "The volume of non-oil trade exchange, including free zones in 2016, reached US$132 million," Sheikh Abdullah said, adding that the two sides have demonstrated their keenness to further explore investment and trade opportunities for the benefit of both countries.
"In recent years, we have seen great growth in the relations between the peoples of the two countries. Last year, some 11,000 Georgian citizens visited the UAE, and we are proud that more than 500 Georgian citizens reside in our country. Also, the number of UAE tourists to Georgia reached more than 15,000 in 2016," he said, adding, "Our national carriers operate 28 direct flights weekly between the two countries, which contributes to the promotion of the tourism sector of both countries."
The UAE Minister also extended an invitation to the Georgian Government to participate in Expo 2020 Dubai. "We believe that Georgia's participation will enrich the exhibition and present an excellent opportunity for it to present its experiences to the world," he said.
H.H. Sheikh Abdullah expressed his full confidence in the growing relations between the two countries, especially following the signing of the agreements, "UAE-Georgia relations are well established and the UAE believes that there are more opportunities to enhance those cooperation relations further with opportunities for growth and progress in various sectors including in cultural, tourism, investment and agriculture," he said.
On the political agenda, the two sides discussed regional and international issues of common interest and means of cooperation in facing common threats and challenges, like combating terrorism and extremism.
"We explained to the Georgian side the measures we have taken alongside Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Bahrain against Qatar due to its continued support for individuals and extremist groups, which threaten the security and stability of the region, as well as efforts to put a stop to it's interference in the internal affairs of neighbouring countries and its use of media to incite extremism," he explained.
He continued, "We also discussed the importance of strengthening consultation between the two countries and coordinating efforts to reach a political settlement of the crises in the Middle East and restoring its stability."
The meeting was attended by Dr. Jassim Mohammed Mubarak Al Qasimi, UAE non-resident Ambassador to the Republic of Georgia.
Source: UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs