United Kingdom – United Arab Emirates Inaugural Strategic Dialogue 2023: Joint Communiqué
The Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, the Rt Hon James Cleverly MP, hosted His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the United Arab Emirates, for the inaugural UK-UAE Strategic Dialogue in London on 15 May 2023.
The Strategic Dialogue builds on the visit of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, in September 2021, during which both countries’ leaders agreed to establish a Partnership for the Future. The ambitious Partnership set the roadmap for collaboration between the UK and UAE, and it was agreed through it that the Foreign Ministers co-chair the Strategic Dialogue to drive progress under the Partnership for the Future.
The Strategic Dialogue underscored the strength of the bilateral relationship, noting the breadth of the collaboration between the two countries, their shared history, and enduring commitment to deepening ties and enhancing people-to-people relations. The ministers reiterated their commitment to the relationship and welcomed the growing partnership across a range of sectors, welcoming the inaugural Strategic Dialogue as an important moment in the bilateral relationship.
During the Strategic Dialogue, both ministers agreed on the need for cooperation to tackle global challenges. The ministers discussed the importance of an inclusive and ambitious agenda for the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) to be held at Expo City Dubai in November 2023. Both ministers reiterated the importance of increased ambition and implementation in this critical decade and the need to deliver a robust and unified response to the Global Stocktake to close the ambition gaps in mitigation, adaptation, loss and damage, and climate finance in order to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, including keeping 1.5C in reach; and to halt and reverse global forest and biodiversity loss. Together they reiterated the need for accelerating climate action and collaborating on long-term projects that enhance cooperation on clean energy, climate finance, adaptation, nature, and food systems, and agreed to further elaborate these partnerships.
The two sides also praised the trade and investment links, as well as aviation relations, that exist between the UK and the UAE. They noted the success of increased trade in goods and services between the two countries, currently at an all-time high of £21.6 billion during the four quarters to the end of Q4 2022. They welcomed the success of the ‘Sovereign Investment Partnership’ signed in 2021 and outlined the UK and the UAE’s support for expanding and deepening trade and investment relations between the two countries in areas of mutual benefit.
The two sides praised the existing partnerships between the two countries in the fields of energy and clean energy, which complement and strengthen the two countries’ ambitious climate goals and transition towards a low-carbon future. Both sides expressed readiness to hold the 8th session of the UAE-UK Joint Economic Committee (JEC) this year, while also welcoming the conclusion of the third round of UK-GCC FTA negotiations that concluded in March and noting that they look forward to the fourth round, which will be hosted by the UK later this year.
In this context, the two sides agreed to build on the excellent bilateral trade and investment relationship and continue simultaneous bilateral discussions, in the form of annexes or side agreements to the GCC FTA, to explore ways to agree on UAE-UK specific matters. Both sides reiterated full commitment in the work towards solidifying the cooperation in the field of illicit finance, under the umbrella of the UAE-UK Partnership to Tackle Illicit Financial Flows signed in September 2021.
The foreign ministers discussed the importance of coordination at the United Nations Security Council and commended the UAE’s leadership on the recent UNSC resolutions on Afghanistan. The ministers also held detailed talks on shared priorities at the UNSC, including advancing the Women, Peace and Security agenda, promoting tolerance and counter extremism, and addressing the impacts of climate change on international peace and security, as well as conflict prevention and peaceful solutions, peacebuilding and sustaining peace, and addressing intolerance, hate speech, discrimination, and all forms of extremism. The ministers committed to strengthening the UAE-UK bilateral partnership through robust multilateral cooperation.
The ministers also held detailed talks on regional security and stability, and emphasised the importance of dialogue and building bridges to achieve regional peace and prosperity, including in their discussions on Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. They agreed on the need to work together, including through the UN, to support diplomatic initiatives and channels aimed at ending the war in Ukraine, in line with the principles of the UN Charter. Both sides agreed to deepen cooperation across domestic and regional security issues.
Ahead of the meeting of foreign ministers, the Minister of State for the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia and United Nations at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, Lord Tariq Ahmad, and His Excellency Dr Anwar Gargash, Diplomatic Adviser to the UAE President, met to discuss the progress made towards the Partnership for the Future.
While celebrating the progress in the relationship, both Lord Ahmad and His Excellency Dr Gargash underlined their ambition to deepen cooperation and expand bilateral collaboration. The two sides discussed the importance of collaboration on energy and climate change mitigation, development, science and technology, security, and consular affairs. Moreover, they agreed on the importance of maintaining regular communication to ensure further progress under the pillars of the Partnership.