As the UAE celebrates its 41st Anniversary of Union it gives me great pleasure to extend my warmest wishes to His Highness the President, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan and to the Emirati people.
Since the Union was established under the leadership of HH Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the UAE has taken giant leaps to become the prosperous and vibrant country which we all experience today.
All of us, from the UK and from the corners of the world, have watched with admiration the UAE’s economy, society and infrastructure develop at extraordinary speed as the country has grown from a young state into a major hub for the region. The UAE is home to some of the world’s largest companies and host for some of the most important and prestigious international events.
In recent years, we have seen the UAE become a vital player in the maintenance of regional peace and security. We applaud the UAE’s efforts in the area of international development – working for growth and stability in challenging areas in Yemen, Afghanistan and many other countries.
Perhaps above all, we respect the vision of the Emirati leadership for the future of this country – investing in the human capital and social infrastructure of this nation to underpin the prosperity and stability of this society for generations to come.
The UK/UAE relation goes back over 200 years but we marked this in a particular way in 1971 when both countries signed the Friendship Treaty.
The Treaty strengthened a relationship born of a shared history and common interests that will endure for centuries to come. In 2010, our two governments set up the UK-UAE Taskforce to strengthen ties in all areas from trade and defence, shared foreign policy concerns and energy and education.
Since then, our relations have only deepened and become more resilient. Just two weeks back our Prime Minister David Cameron visited the UAE for the second time since coming to office – demonstrating the critical ties in the bilateral relation. But our relations do not stop with government; they extend into to all sections of society – from businessmen to students… and everyone in between.
The UK has over 100,000 of its citizens calling the UAE ‘home’. They are here because this is a great place to be – they like this country, its society and its people. Likewise thousands of Emiratis come to the UK every year as tourists, students and to do business; many of my Emirati friends call London their second home.
As Emiratis look back with pride to what they achieved over the past 41 years, we share the same pride when we see the British innovation and expertise contributing to a host of iconic developments such as the Abu Dhabi Formula One, Burj Khalifa, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and the Dubai Metro.
The joy over this occasion is not a feeling limited to the Emiratis; it is shared by all residents of the UAE and I am delighted that includes all my countrymen here too. With great pride, we stand beside our Emirati friends on this special celebration and look forward with great excitement to all the possibilities which the next 41 years will hold.