London: On the second and final day of his state visit to the UK, President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan met British Prime Minister David Cameron and discussed ways to enhance political and economic ties.
Shaikh Khalifa and Cameron also discussed recent developments in the Middle East and international efforts to restore security and stability in the region. Cameron praised the UAE’s efforts towards ensuring peace, stability and security.
“The UAE is a role model in the region. It must be emulated in terms of adopting balanced and wise policies at the local and foreign levels,” he said.
Shaikh Khalifa said the UAE is looking forward to developing strategic and economic relations with the UK through joint investment projects. Retracing the footsteps of the late Shaikh Zayed on the 1989 state visit to the UK, Shaikh Khalifa also placed a wreath on the tomb of The Unknown Warrior in Westminster Abbey in central London.
Tea with Prince Charles
Later in the day, Shaikh Khalifa met Britain’s Prince Charles at Clarence House, who described the UAE President’s visit as a milestone in the history of UAE-UK ties.
Prince Charles accompanied Shaikh Khalifa on a visit to the Prince’s School of Traditional Art and the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies. The president was briefed on studies, books and publications on Islam and the Islamic world.
Shaikh Khalifa reaffirmed the UAE’s commitment to introducing the concepts of true Islam to the world. He stressed that Islam preaches love and brotherhood and rejects hostility and hatred.
Shaikh Khalifa, along with Prince Charles, then headed to the palace garden for tea.
Earlier in the day, the UAE and UK signed two agreements to explore common cultural and political values as well as enhance the quality of higher institutions in both countries.
Foreign Minister Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and British Foreign Secretary William Hague signed the memoranda of understanding.
The first memorandum to create a dialogue of values will be supervised by a UAE-UK task force jointly chaired by Dr Anwar Mohammad Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, and Alistair Burt, British Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.
The task force will hold its first meeting this month with follow-up meetings at six-month intervals. It will discuss ways to strengthen cultural and political understanding as well as explore developments in the Middle East and North Africa.
Under the terms of the memorandum on a National Qualifications Framework, the two sides will prepare a list of quality institutions in both countries. They will exchange information about the qualifications endorsed by higher education institutions and explore new education programmes.
The meeting also stressed the importance of coordination and consultation.
The UAE Foreign Minister said the UAE President’s visit to the UK and the talks held yesterday between Shaikh Khalifa and Queen Elizabeth, as well as two memoranda of understanding, will contribute to the shared desire to strengthen relations. He expressed his satisfaction at the cooperation and historic friendship between the two countries.
For his part, the British Foreign Secretary praised the relations between the UAE and the UK, citing their cooperation on a number of issues of common interest.
— With inputs from WAM