Building Momentum in the Canada-U.A.E. Strategic Partnership

November 21, 2013 - Abu Dhabi - Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird and His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), today issued the following joint statement from the United Arab Emirates:

“Six months ago, we announced the Canada-U.A.E. Shared Strategic Agenda, which reflects our commitment to work together on issues of common interest. To this end, we agreed to cooperate in the pursuit of our shared goals of enhancing economic prosperity for our respective societies, strengthening regional and international security and cooperating on development objectives in third countries.

“We have made significant progress in the past six months alone. We are setting ambitious targets for the next six months. In addition to advancing our shared interests under the existing three pillars of the strategic partnership (prosperity, security, and development), we have agreed on an additional area of collaboration: regional issues.

“We have asked our senior officials to report back on the progress made over the last six months and to explore concrete goals and recommendations on how our strategic partnership can be strengthened.

“Today, we are pleased to announce the following:

Prosperity

  • “On 30 September, Canada’s Minister of International Trade, the Honourable Ed Fast, and the U.A.E.’s Minister of Economy and Trade, His Excellency Engineer Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri successfully launched the Canada-U.A.E. Business Council (CUBC) in Montréal.
  • “On 5 November, Canada announced its support for holding the World Expo 2020 in Dubai—if Dubai wins the vote at the Bureau International des Expositions on 27 November 2013 in Paris, this would be the first expo ever to be held in the Middle East and in the Arab world.
  • “We will substantially expand our bilateral commercial relations in the months ahead. We will launch a process seeking to conclude an agreement to promote and protect investment in each other’s countries.
  • “Minister Fast will attend the second meeting of the CUBC in the U.A.E. in early 2014. Our governments look forward to receiving formal recommendations and announcements identifying specific areas for business-to-business collaboration from the CUBC over the next 12 months.
  • “We will convene the first meeting of the Joint Economic Committee (JEC) in the second half of 2014. The JEC is a high-level forum for relevant ministers and senior officials to discuss bilateral commercial relations. The JEC will explore ways and means to further advance bilateral commercial relations in the fields of trade, investment, infrastructure, aerospace, health care, education, food security, the U.A.E. and Canada as regional hubs, and other commercial areas of mutual interest.
  • “We will foster business-to-business collaboration in key sectors, including the financial sphere, where we are both global leaders. We believe Canada’s world-leading banking sector is a natural partner for the U.A.E., which is a global leader for Islamic finance. We will share best practices with the goal of creating a full-service financial partnership that benefits business people and investors in both of our countries.

Security

  • “Work continues between the Public Safety portfolio in Canada and the U.A.E. Ministry of Interior to strengthen cooperation on police, corrections and border issues. Those efforts, which are the result of direct discussions between our respective ministers, lay the foundation for strong long-term security collaboration between our two countries.
  • “We will build on this collaboration in the months to come. We will intensify and expand our cooperation in the security sphere, including through cooperation on counter-terrorism and countering violent extremism policy and programming initiatives. We will continue to build on our partnership with key institutions based in the U.A.E., such as the Hedayah Center. In this regard, we welcome the participation of Canada’s Minister of State (Foreign Affairs and Consular Affairs), the Honourable Lynne Yelich, who joined the U.A.E.’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, His Excellency Dr. Anwar Gargash, in opening the Senior Officials Meeting on Countering Violent Extremism and Education hosted by the U.A.E. and held on 25 September in New York.
  • “We will establish regular high-level consultations on bilateral and regional issues of common interest, at both official and ministerial levels.
  • “We will start discussions on a defence cooperation arrangement.

Development

  • “In September, Canada’s Minister of International Development and Minister for La Francophonie, the Honourable Christian Paradis, met with the U.A.E.’s Minister of Development, Her Excellency Sheikha Lubna al Qassimi, on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly, marking the third meeting between Canadian and Emirati cooperation and development ministers in the past six months.
  • “They agreed to explore ways to collaborate on international development assistance and investment. Over the coming months, our countries will identify opportunities for cooperation in supporting economic development efforts in several third countries in mutually held priority areas—for example, sustainable economic growth.

Regional Issues

  • “We jointly note the more moderate tone of President Rouhani’s administration and urge him to follow through on his promises but also note that Iran must be judged by its deeds and not its words. Only verifiable, irreversible and measurable progress to resolve nuclear non-compliance will demonstrate Iran’s commitment to a more constructive mode of engagement with the region and with the international community.
  • “The success of the transition in Egypt is a vital concern to both countries. Canada and the U.A.E. have had a shared assessment of the challenges and opportunities facing Egypt. We are committed to supporting the progress being made on the implementation of the road map and to advancing our common objective of a stable, inclusive, prosperous and democratic Egypt. To this end, Canada and the U.A.E. will explore joint initiatives where we can work together to achieve this.
  • “Canada and the U.A.E. jointly condemn the violence in Syria and remain resolute that only a political solution will lead to lasting peace. We condemn the Assad regime for its use of chemical weapons. We call for an end to violence and the targeting of innocent civilians. We share a grave concern over the increasing radicalization of the various groups fighting in Syria. We are both invested in working to meet the humanitarian needs of the long-suffering Syrian people and express deep concern at the fast-deteriorating humanitarian tragedy.
  • “In September 2013, Canada met with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to discuss the benefits of a Canada-GCC Strategic Dialogue. We recognize the growing and constructive role of the GCC in the region and beyond. We look forward to continued Canadian engagement in the GCC context.

“We have asked our senior officials to report back to us in six months on the progress achieved on the agenda we have today.

“Since agreeing on the Shared Strategic Agenda, both countries now see even more clearly our long-term interest in cooperating with each other, including on our shared vision for regional and global security, stability and prosperity.”

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