H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister, on Friday chaired the fourth meeting of the U.A.E.-Russia Joint Committee in the Russian capital, during which the two sides discussed ways of strengthening the economic, trade and investment cooperation relations between the two countries.
Russian Minister of Industry and Trade, Denis Valentinovich Manturov, chaired the Russian side at the meeting which brought together senior officials from different ministries, organisations and companies from both countries.
H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in his speech during the meeting, expressed his thanks and appreciation to Minister Manturov and the members of the Russian delegation. He also hailed Moscow's hosting of the fourth meeting of the joint committee.
"The U.A.E. and Russia have strong friendly relations built on a spirit of understanding, mutual respect and a shared desire to develop and promote these relations," H.H. Sheikh Abdullah said, noting that the convening of the current meeting indicates the success of the previous meetings of the joint committee.
He emphasised that the work of the committee and all the efforts to support the relations between the two countries are being backed and encouraged by their leaders and are aimed at maximising the benefit for their peoples.
"The committee's fourth meeting is proof of the leadership's keenness on bolstering bilateral cooperation in the service of the mutual interests of both sides and for preparing the ground for rapprochement between the two countries to become greater than ever before," Sheikh Abdullah added.
H.H. Sheikh Abdullah noted that Russia is a strategic economic partner of the U.A.E. with trade between the two countries growing significantly to reach US$2.5 billion in 2013, up from US$1.48 in 2012.
He said, "These figures do not satisfy our aspirations for the level of development of our current bilateral relations but require us to find more ways to increase the volume of our trade exchange." He also noted that the value of mutual investments between the two countries stood at more than US$18 billion, and that the Emirate of Abu Dhabi signed a Memorandum of Intent creating a US$5 billion investment fund in September 2013, the biggest ever foreign investment into Russia's infrastructure.
Sheikh Abdullah further noted that there are multiple opportunities for expertise exchange between the two countries, in manufacturing and infrastructure in particular, and that the U.A.E. and Russia are cooperating on the peaceful use of atomic energy and on the oil, gas and mining sectors.
"Tourism between the two countries has increased significantly, taking the number of weekly flights between them to 68, while the number of Russian tourists to the U.A.E. in 2014 reached 280,000 in October. Now there are more than 18,000 Russian residents in the U.A.E." He added that there are big opportunities for mutual investment for the private sectors of both countries, and urged the joint business council to increase its meetings to find new opportunities and overcome the hurdles for business people from both countries.
Concluding the meeting, H.H. Sheikh Abdullah thanked the co-chairs and members of the joint preparatory committee for the efforts they made towards the success of the current meeting, and underlined the need for activating the mechanisms of the joint committee and following up the implementation of its recommendations.
Sheikh Abdullah also expressed his hope that the meetings of the U.A.E.-Russia Joint Committee would contribute to the opening of new avenues for the development of bilateral relations that reflect the aspirations of the higher leaderships of both countries and serve the common goals and interests of their friendly peoples.
On his part, Russian Minister of Industry and Trade, Denis Valentinovich Manturov, welcomed the visit of H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and his delegation, and emphasised its importance for the enhancement of bilateral relations between the two countries, and the opening of new avenues for strategic cooperation in economic, trade, investment and scientific spheres in particular.
"There are many spheres for cooperation between the two countries which have evolved remarkably over the past few years," Minister Manturov said, stressing the importance of cooperation between the two countries in sectors such as investment, agriculture, the peaceful use of atomic energy, oil, gas, mining, space, tourism and banking, the sectors which, he noted, have common benefit for the peoples of the two friendly countries.
He emphasised that the current visit of Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan will also have positive and promising results in relation to the strengthening of strategic cooperation between the two countries in the future.
At the conclusion of the ministerial meeting, H.H. Sheikh Abdullah and Minister Manturov signed the minutes of the joint committee's meeting.
He also witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, between the U.A.E. Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research and the Russian Ministry of Education and Science, and the signing of an MoU between the U.A.E. Ministry of Economy and the Russian Ministry of Economic Development.