En­voy hails ADIBF move to name Poland as guest na­tion

Khaleej Times - - NATION - nazeem@khalee­j­times.com Nazeem Beegum

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.

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