Image Credit: Gulf News

Dubai: New Zealand is to open its first embassy in the UAE, Murray McCully, the Foreign Minister announced on Monday.

According to a statement released in New Zealand news reports, the embassy will be the second in the Gulf region, following the first in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

"The UAE and New Zealand share a diverse and growing bilateral relationship, and our commercial presence in the UAE is also developing strongly," McCully said.

Earlier in July, Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Foreign Minister, met with McCully to discuss matters of mutual interest.

According to the Minister, the UAE embassy will "provide a step forward" for New Zealand's diplomatic presence in the Middle East, facilitating trade in the region.

He added that the GCC is already the country's sixth-largest trading partner.

"New Zealand's exports to the region grew by 122 per cent between 2000 and 2009, with the UAE established as our second-largest market among the Gulf states," he said.

The Abu Dhabi embassy is scheduled to open in January.