Envoy hails ADIBF move to name Poland as guest nation
dubai — They are just 4,125 in number here, but the Polish boast of an almost three decade-long strong bond with the UAE.
The UAE’s Polish community is also the biggest in the Arab region. Little is known about the community here, which is why many were surprised when Poland was selected the guest of honour country for the upcoming Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF).
In an exclusive interview with Khaleej Times, Robert Rostek, Polish Ambassador to the UAE, said: “This year is very unique for us, as our 100 years of Independence coincides with the 100th birth anniversary of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. In the Year of Zayed, we are the Abu Dhabi book fair’s guest of honour country, a first in our relations with Arab nations.” Robert Rostek told Khaleej Times that there was huge rise in the number of Poles visiting the UAE; in the last six months, the number touched 15,000. 16,000 Emiratis visited Poland in the same period.
Leading writers, media personalities and politicians will participate in the 5-day ADIBF. A commemorative book, which will be released both in the UAE and Poland, and an Arabic translation of a popular Polish book are among the slated post-book fair activities.
For their 100th Independence day, there will be “activities other than usual speeches”, the ambassador said. “We have a Polish school with 250 students, under the embassy of Abu Dhabi. They will do Polonus performances in traditional dress before dignitaries, including sheikhs and ambassadors from other countries.”
Other areas of cooperation
The two countries are also cooperating on political dialogue, sport, defence and trade ties. The bilateral trade ties are worth $800 million in 2017 and the highest ever amount was $1billion.
Talking about the strong security situation in the UAE, the ambassador said: “People think the situation across the region is like Syria, Iraq and Yemen. I was asked a few months back, why are so many Poles visiting the UAE? Securitywise, the UAE is top. Even in the USA, one does not feel this much security.” Regarding political dialogue, Rostek said: “His Highness
I was asked, why are so many Poles visiting the UAE? Security-wise, the UAE is top. Even in the USA, one does not feel this much security.” Robert Rostek, Polish Ambassador to the UAE
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, met the president– elect during his visit to Poland in 2015. Now the official visit from Polish side is due. It will happen before Expo 2020.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of both countries will meet this year, most likely in Abu Dhabi first and then in Warsaw. The UAE appreciates personal visits and dialogue more than other countries, in order to create the ground for future cooperation.”
Despite all this “there are still gaps, which needs to be filled, like in the education sector,” the ambassador said.
“Besides, we are getting queries from Emirati business people about investing in Poland, which is very positive.”
Visa waiver is an added advantage for both countries and there are four services, including a charter flight option for visitors from both nations, making connectivity and ties quite easy.