China’s Xi arrives in the UAE for state visit

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President Xi Jinping arrived in Abu Dhabi on Thursday for a three-day visit and was received by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan. (WAM)
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President Xi Jinping arrived in Abu Dhabi on Thursday for a three-day visit and was received by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan. (WAM)
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President Xi Jinping arrived in Abu Dhabi on Thursday for a three-day visit and was received by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan. (WAM)
Updated 19 July 2018
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China’s Xi arrives in the UAE for state visit

  • His appointments during the three days include a series of high-level meetings with his Emirati counterparts
  • The UAE and China established diplomatic relations in November 1984

DUBAI: President Xi Jinping arrived in Abu Dhabi on Thursday for a three-day visit, after the announcement of oil and trade deals between China and the UAE.
Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed said he was "delighted" to welcome Xi, posting photos on Twitter of the Chinese president receiving flowers on landing in the emirate.
"This is a historic visit and represents a new stage of cooperation in all fields, which will bring growth, development and prosperity to the people of our nations," said the crown prince of the UAE capital.
Abu Dhabi is the first stop on Xi's tour, which also includes Senegal, Rwanda and South Africa.
The Chinese president's arrival followed the Gulf state earlier on Thursday publishing details of new deals clinched with Beijing.
State-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. said it had awarded two contracts worth $1.6 billion (1.4 billion euros) to BGP Inc., a subsidiary of China National Petroleum Co., for a seismic survey in the emirate.
The survey is to search for oil and gas in onshore and offshore sites covering an area of 53,000 square kilometres (20,463 square miles), the statement said.
State-run CNPC already has two concession rights contracts with ADNOC worth around $3 billion.
The UAE's state-owned DP World also announced an agreement by the two countries to build a new trade zone in Dubai.
The deal between the global port operator and the Zhejiang China Commodities City Group will see a "traders' market" built at Dubai's Jebel Ali free zone.
The project is part of China's trillion-dollar "One Belt, One Road" infrastructure initiative, an ambitious plan to revive the ancient Silk Road trading routes with a global network of ports, roads and railways.
The new facility will cover three square kilometres at the Jebel Ali site, which is the Middle East's largest trade zone, DP World said in a statement.
The market will host a vast range of goods from food and cosmetics to building materials and technology.
DP World, which operates in 40 countries, did not announce the value of the deal or provide a timeframe for its construction.
China is the United Arab Emirates' top trading partner, with non-oil trade in 2017 rising 15 percent year-on-year to over $53.3 billion -- more than 90 percent of it Chinese exports to the UAE, according to Abu Dhabi's finance ministry.
The UAE is also one of the top 15 crude suppliers to China, exporting some $4 billion worth of oil to Beijing last year. Ninety-six percent of the country's oil reserves are located in Abu Dhabi.
In a further sign of strengthening ties between the two countries, Dubai-based real estate developer Emaar Properties on Wednesday announced plans to build the Middle East's largest Chinatown in the UAE.


Iran: US sanctions on Khamenei mean end of diplomacy

Updated 50 min 3 sec ago
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Iran: US sanctions on Khamenei mean end of diplomacy

  • Trump said the sanctions would have been imposed regardless of drone attack
  • Washington has repeatedly imposed sanctions on Tehran since last year

Iran said on Tuesday that a US decision to impose sanctions on the country’s supreme leader and other top officials permanently closed the path to diplomacy between Tehran and Washington.
“Imposing useless sanctions on Iran’s Supreme Leader (Ayatollah Ali Khamenei) and the commander of Iran’s diplomacy (Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif) is the permanent closure of the path of diplomacy,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said in a tweet.
“Trump’s desperate administration is destroying the established international mechanisms for maintaining world peace and security.”

US President Donald Trump earlier signed an executive order that would impose fresh sanctions on Iran, amid increased tensions between the long-time foes.

Trump initially told reporters the sanctions, which will target Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his office, were in response to Tehran's downing of a US drone last week. Tehran has said the drone was flying in its airspace, which Washington has denied.

Later, Trump said the sanctions would have been imposed regardless of the incident over the drone.

The US will also blacklist Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and block "billions" more in Iranian assets as part of expanded sanctions, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday.

Mnuchin told reporters Zarif would be added to an economic sanctions list "later this week," adding that eight top military commanders from Iran's Revolutionary Guards have now also been blacklisted.

The US has also blamed Iran for attacks earlier this month on two oil tankers at the entrance of the Gulf of Oman. Iran, in turn, has denied that it is to blame.

Washington has repeatedly imposed sanctions on Tehran since last year, when the US withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal to curb Iran's nuclear program in exchange for easing of sanctions. Trump’s administration has said the deal struck under his predecessor President Barack Obama did not do enough.

Trump has said he would be open to talks with Iranian leaders, but Tehran has rejected such an offer unless Washington drops the sanctions.

The Trump administration wants to force Tehran to open talks on its nuclear and missile programmes and its activities in the region.

The US also accuses Iran of encouraging allies in Yemen to attack Saudi targets. In a joint statement on Monday, the US, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and UK expressed concern over Middle East tensions and the dangers posed by Iranian "destabilizing activity" to peace and security in Yemen and the region.