Natgas, DP World in UAE Minister’s talks
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the United Arab Emirates, who was in Cyprus for the inauguration of the UAE embassy in Nicosia on Monday, expressed his readiness to deepen relations with Cyprus in the sector of energy, mainly natural gas and renewable energy.
Speaking during a joint press conference with his Cypriot counterpart Ioannis Kasoulides, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan pointed out the UAE, that hosts the international Renewable Energy Agency, has been working with Cyprus very closely on looking at the potential on renewable energies, according to the Cyprus News Agency.
He said it is one of the areas that is a huge move forward not only for the environment but it is also commercially viable, because the investment cost of solar energy becomes cheaper every year.
“There are huge potentials here in Cyprus in areas of solar, wind, geothermo (energy)”, he pointed out.
“We’ll be very delighted to share our experience with Cyprus, but also encouraging some of our companies to come and look at the opportunities here in Cyprus”, he said.
Sheikh Abdullah said that his visit to Cyprus, in the context of his European tour, could be a further step forward for a strong relationship both bilaterally and in working together in a region with many challenges. He also said they talked about some regional challenges and the regional understanding of these challenges.
“Our relationship has been growing in a variety of areas, economical, trade, tourism, flights. We are very grateful that Cyprus was the first country that backed the UAE to get an access to the Schengen visa free movement, being the very first Arab country to have that privilege”, he said.
Minister Kasoulides, welcoming Sheikh Abdullah, noted that the United Arab Emirates is an influential diplomatic powerhouse, as well as a force of moderation, with a strong presence in the Arab world, in the Muslim community, in the region and beyond.
Kasoulides said that during their discussion they focused on regional and international developments and terrorism. The Cypriot Foreign Minister underlined that the two countries share a like-minded approach to regional and international developments, as well as to the importance for enhanced cooperation between the moderate countries in the region to face the challenges posed by terrorism, radicalisation and subversion.
The two Ministers also discussed the relations between the EU and the Gulf Cooperation Council, in light of the EU-GCC Ministerial Meeting that will be taking place next week in Brussels, which Sheikh Abdullah and Minister Kasoulides will be attending.
Regarding bilateral relations, Kasoulides stressed that the excellent political climate between the UAE and Cyprus provides a conducive environment to strengthen trade and financial ties.
“A tangible example is the two separate concession agreements for the commercialisation of activities within the Limassol port, which were awarded to the Emirati company DP-World. The broader sector of hydrocarbons is also another area that has seen collaborations between Cypriot and Emirati companies and the same applies for renewables between the two countries. Tourism, investments, financial services are only a few fields, where we want to see more results”, he said.
Kasoulides, speaking about the official inauguration of the UAE Embassy, underlined that “this is a concrete proof of the closeness of our relations and of the prospects that lie ahead”.
Sheikh Abdullah said that since his last visit in Cyprus the relationship between the two countries has been going in the right direction and referred to the agreements for the commercialisation of activities within the Limassol port.
“DP - World is one of our flagships for which we are very proud of”, he said, adding that “we are very proud that they’ve had the opportunity to undertake such a big project in Cyprus”
In his address at the inauguration of the Embassy on Monday, President Nicos Anastasiades said the Emirati Government’s action to open an Embassy in Nicosia is a milestone decision which, he is convinced, will play a decisive role in further strengthening our bilateral cooperation.
“It signals a new chapter in our relations, one that will certainly facilitate the expansion of the cooperation and interaction between our Governments, our institutions and our societies.”
“In recent years, we have witnessed a considerable advance in our relations, which reflects our commitment to enhance relations with the Arab countries in general, and those of the Gulf in particular. This desire is also illustrated by the fact that, during these first three years of my term, I have paid official visits to most of the Gulf countries, including the United Arab Emirates. This visit to Nicosia is further proof of the importance that your Government attaches to the development of our bilateral partnership”, he added.
Cyprus-Emirati cooperation, he stressed, grows steadily and extends in an array of fields, including tourism, economic exchanges and business cooperation.
“Commercial and trade ties have also expanded. It is worth noting that the well-known Emirati Company DP World Ltd was awarded two concession agreements for Limassol port, following a transparent international tender. I trust that this is only the beginning of a mutually beneficial relationship”, he said.
“We are also extremely pleased,” said the President, “that the United Arab Emirates citizens are able to travel to EU countries without a visa.” Cyprus was one of the first EU member states which advocated visa liberalisation, and has been instrumental during all stages of the procedure, especially during its EU Presidency, in 2012. He assured that Cyprus will continue being a close friend and advocate of the UAE within the EU.