Franciska Mendez Escobar Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: While the US seeks to build walls at Mexico border, the faraway UAE sets an example of intercontinental harmony. The flourishing people-to — people ties between the Latin American country and the UAE have been crowned by a spate of marital bonds between Emirati men and Mexican women.

Around 300 Emirati-Mexican couples in the UAE symbolise the integration of both cultures, a top Mexican diplomat told Gulf News in an interview.

“They act as a bridge between both peoples … and nations,” said Francisca Mendez, the Mexican Ambassador to the UAE.

She said Emirati-Mexican marriages are very successful because of the two people’s common values. “We [both Mexicans and Emiratis] promote values of the family.”

Many Emiratis are travelling to Mexico and get attracted towards Mexican culture and people, she said.

In their [Mexican-Emirati couples’] daily life, there is an integration of both cultures, Mendez said.

She shared these thoughts on the occasion of the Mexican Independence Day. Mexico celebrated the Independence Day on September 16, the 208th anniversary of the country’s independence from Spain.

The Mexican Embassy in Abu Dhabi is organising a reception to celebrate the Independence Day on September 18 at the Emirates Palace.

The ambassador said the number of Mexicans living in the UAE has gone up from 1,500 to 1,600 during the past one year, the envoy said. Most of them are professionals in aviation, oil and gas and hospitality sectors, she said.

The UAE is surprising her with its positivity every day. “I find different new aspects of this country on a daily basis. Emiratis are very proud of their culture. They are very tolerant and practice it in their daily life.”

The Late Shaikh Zayed’s values are visible in Emirati life. His generosity and tradition of standing with the sufferings of people extended his influence across the world.

Mexicans still cherishes such an act of solidarity. “The UAE was one of the first countries to extend help to Mexico when an earthquake killed around 95 people last year,” the envoy said.

Bilateral ties witnessed huge progress with 14 legal instruments being signed between both nations during the UAE visit of the President of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, in January 2016. His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, had visited Mexico in April 2014.

The UAE’s presence in the developments in Latin America also brings both nations closer. The UAE is an observer in the Pacific Alliance, a Latin American regional grouping with Mexico, Peru, Colombia, and Chile as member countries, she said.

The envoy said the Mexican Embassy in Abu Dhabi gives high priority to its cultural agenda. “Culture is a key element to build bridges. That’s why the embassy is organising month-long cultural activities throughout September to celebrate the Independence Day.”

An exhibition of a famed sculpture ‘Wings of Mexico’ by Mexican artist Jorge Marin unveiled in Abu Dhabi on September 9 is attracting art enthusiasts in the capital. The artwork will be on display at Abu Dhabi’s cultural hub of Manarat Al Saadiyat until October 31.

Four other parallel cultural activities such as photography competition, Mexican film screening, and art and craft workshops with students will also be held in September and October at Manarat Al Saadiyat.

An exhibition titled ‘Impressions’, featuring 26 different paintings of Mexican artist Jose Toledo, which reflects the UAE’s past and present, is going at the Fairmont Hotel until October 6.

Numbers

1,600 Mexicans in UAE

300 Emirati-Mexican couples in UAE

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Mexico-UAE trade up by 189% in 2017

Abu Dhabi: The UAE-Mexico bilateral trade volumes increased by 189 per cent in 2017, compared to the previous year, thanks to growing relations, said Francisca Mendez, the Mexican Ambassador to the UAE.

As per the Mexican Ministry of economy data, of the $715-million (Dh2,624 million) bilateral trade in 2017, exports from Mexico to the UAE were to the tune of $316 million and imports to Mexico were worth $399 million, she said.

The Mexican government has appointed an agricultural attaché at the embassy in Abu Dhabi to promote trade of food products. PRO Mexico office in Dubai, a government arm, promotes the attraction of direct foreign investment and the export of goods and services, as well as the internationalisation of Mexican companies.

Many Emiratis are travelling to Mexico as tourists. As Emiratis holding a US visa does not need a separate Mexican visa, many of them visit Mexico while travelling to the US.

About 10,000 Mexicans visited the UAE in 2017, the envoy said.

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Timeline of the bilateral relations

September 1975: Establishment of diplomatic relations.

April 2008: Visit of the Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mexico Lourdes Aranda.

July 2008: Opening of the Consulate-General of Mexico in Dubai.

October 2009: Visit Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the UAE.

March 2010: Opening of the Embassy of the UAE in Mexico.

May and Nov 2010: Visits of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mexico Patricia Espinosa.

January 2012: Opening of the Embassy of Mexico in the UAE.

March 2014: Visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mexico José Antonio Meade.

April 2014: Official visit to Mexico of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

September 2014: UAE Visit of the Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, Carlos de Icaza.

October 2015: Visit of the Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, Carlos de Icaza.

January 2016: State visit to the UAE of the President of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto.

May 2016: Visit of the Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food of Mexico José Calzada

November 2016: Visit of the Minister of Economy of the UAE, Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri

Several bilateral agreements have been signed in the fields of promotion and protection of investments, avoidance of double taxation, air services, and cooperation between oil companies, in renewable energy, culture and tourism, among others.

Source: Mexican Embassy in Abu Dhabi