Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates Salem Ahmed Al-Kaabi

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The UAE is one of the most developed and richest countries in the world that has recently abolished the visa regime with Ukraine. What do we know about the cooperation between our countries? What can we offer to the UAE and what the Emirates can offer to us? His Excellency Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates Salem Ahmed Al-Kaabi exclusively for FD.

Please tell us about the history of bilateral relations between the UAE and Ukraine.

The diplomatic relations between the UAE and Ukraine were established on October 15, 1992. In 2017 our countries marked their 25th anniversary. Without any doubt, a decisive contribution to the development of bilateral relations has been made by the Leadership of our countries. We are proud that the UAE had the honour to host almost all Presidents of Ukraine.

Recent visit of the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko to the UAE reaffirmed a strong partnership between our countries.

There is an active political dialogue at all levels. So far, 24 bilateral agreements and memoranda have already been concluded.

Two states cooperate closely in international organizations supporting each other in the elections to international bodies and institutions.

What directions would you determine as a priority in relations between our two countries?

I would say without exaggeration that we consider the entire spectrum of bilateral relations as important and priority. We are not inclined to allocate something separately, since all: the economy, culture, humanitarian cooperation, ect. have the same high value for us and we strive to develop them all.

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Year 2017 in the UAE was declared the Year of Giving. What charitable events were held by the Embassy of the UAE in Ukraine?

The United Arab Emirates pays great attention to the development of cultural and humanitarian cooperation between our countries. The focus of the UAE foreign policy has always been on the issue of assistance to those in need. In 2017 this issue was given even more importance since the President of the UAE Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahayan proclaimed it as a “Year of Giving”. During the year we hosted about 12 humanitarian events, during which four specialized boarding schools for children with disabilities were provided with the necessary equipment for training and with about 800 school backpacks (with all equipment).

Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates Salem Ahmed Al-Kaabi

The 2018 in the UAE is declared as the year of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahayan. How do you plan to celebrate this year in Ukraine?

Yes, indeed, 2018 marks 100 years since the birth of the father-founder of our country, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahayan. The Year of Zayed will highlight his role in establishing the Federation, and his local, regional and international achievements. The Year of Zayed reflected the unique standing that the late leader held in the hearts of every Emirati.

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I would not like to run ahead, only to say that we plan to hold a lot of events dedicated to Sheikh Zayed.

What were your first impressions of our country?

I was pleasantly impressed by the scale and dynamics of Ukraine’s domestic and foreign policy and economic development. Despite all internal and external challenges, Ukraine confidently overcomes all difficulties and develops its economy implementing significant reforms.

My first impression was that Ukraine is an extremely beautiful, interesting and promising country with rich natural resources and talented people who have a great future. Of course, every day I discover something new about Ukraine. It is my honour to work as an Ambassador of the UAE in Ukraine.

How much do you travel around Ukraine?

As Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates, I arrived in Kyiv on February 1, 2017. As you probably know, the Ambassador’s start in the country involves a number of protocol procedures and ceremonies that require time, and I had many meetings here in Kyiv, therefore, unfortunately, still did not have enough time to travel to other regions of Ukraine. I am sure that in the coming 2018 I will fill this gap and get acquainted more deeply with the regions of Ukraine.

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What do you like most in our country?

There is no simple answer to this question. Your country has a great history, rich cultural heritage, delicious cuisine, and so on. Ukraine is extremely interesting in all its respects.

In December 2017 agreements were reached between Ukraine and the UAE on a visa-free regime. What do you think will be the main consequences of this step?

We consider this step as opening of a new chapter in relations between our countries. The importance of abolishing the visa regime, and, as a consequence, the development of peopleto-people contacts, cannot be overemphasized. We are convinced that visa-free travel between the UAE and Ukraine will have positive effects in virtually all spheres of life, from tourism development to intensification of business contacts, cultural, scientific exchanges, etc. This is a crucial step that we have been able to accomplish thanks to the wise leadership of our states and whose positive results our countries will feel for a long time.