Deal with Israel will help UAE move away from oil: Minister

Emirati Economy Minister Abdulla bin Touq Al-Mari said both nations, the UAE and Israel, will learn from each other. (WAM)
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Updated 17 September 2020

Deal with Israel will help UAE move away from oil: Minister

  • Abdulla bin Touq Al-Mari said the UAE-Israel accord could generate between $300 million and $550 million in new business deals for his country
  • Al-Mari predicted that the UAE and Israel will partner in developing solar power for the region, that there will be a focus on reducing trade tariffs

CHICAGO: The accord between Israel and the UAE will help the latter shift its reliance on oil production and exportation to other industries in the near future, Emirati Economy Minister Abdulla bin Touq Al-Mari told a gathering hosted by the Atlantic Council and attended by Arab News.

The UAE and Bahrain each signed peace deals with Israel, dubbed the Abraham Accords, at the White House on Tuesday.

Al-Mari said the UAE-Israel accord could generate between $300 million and $550 million in new business deals for his country.

The UAE is the eighth-largest oil-producing country in the world, and seventh in terms of oil exports, which the country estimates accounts for a quarter of its gross domestic product.

“Both nations (the UAE and Israel) will learn from each other … In the UAE we’re very strong in trade. We’re very strong in terms of logistics, in airlines, construction,” Al-Mari said, adding that water and agricultural development are important too.

“There’s a lot of learning in future technology here … The current economic mix for the region can’t depend on oil,” he said.

“We need to redesign the future of the economy, the future of the economic mix. What mix of the economy do we need 10 years down the line? That’s what’s important, and that’s what the conversation is going to be about.”

Al-Mari predicted that the UAE and Israel will partner in developing solar power for the region, that there will be a focus on reducing trade tariffs, and that the accord will progress better than those struck by Israel with Egypt and Jordan.

“We’re very, very excited. I think both nations (the UAE and Israel) come in with an attitude of excitement and curiosity … How can we change for the better?” he said.

“I think it’s important to look at our strengths … We have so many similarities on things that we do. We have a lot of similarities in our economics … and I think it’s just a matter of putting our heart into it, our mind to it and moving forward faster with it,” he added.

“This signing was historic. It was a day that fills the future with optimism, hope and confidence.”

Al-Mari said he received his first phone call from an Israeli official the morning before the discussion, from the minister of economy and trade.

“We had a great conversation … We said, ‘Let’s move fast, let’s move for the nation, let’s move for the people, let’s move for the Palestinian people’.”

Al-Mari emphasized several times that the interests of the Palestinians will continue to be a priority for the UAE.

“We have confirmation from both parties (the US and Israel) that this agreement will bring benefits to the Palestinians,” he said.

Al-Mari added that the UAE-Israel deal will not be one-sided, and that the two countries will “complement” rather than “compete.”


Iraq PM in talks with UK's Boris Johnson on security, political reforms

Updated 22 October 2020

Iraq PM in talks with UK's Boris Johnson on security, political reforms

  • Johnson expressed his strong support for the Iraq government
  • Both leaders discussed issues of bilateral interest, and discussed recent political and security issues

LONDON: Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi and his British counterpart Boris Johnson discussed security challenges in the Middle East on Thursday.
A-Khadimi met the UK leader at Downing Street as part of an a European tour. 
Johnson expressed his strong support for the Iraq government as they discussed economic reforms, the coronavirus pandemic and the continued effort to defeat Daesh.
The Twitter account of Al-Kadhimi's office said both leaders discussed issues of bilateral interest, and discussed recent political and security issues in Iraq and the region. 
They also agreed on more cooperation in the fight against terrorism.
“It was agreed to increase more cooperation in the field of combating terrorism, as well as in the political and economic sectors, in light of the economic challenges that Iraq faces,” his office said.
Prior to his UK trip, Al-Kadhimi met with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin.
During these visits, Al-Kadhimi discussed Iraq’s main challenges such as the fight against terrorism and foreign interference in its affairs.
The Iraqi leader, who became prime minister in May, has a particularly affinity with the UK, having lived there for many years after fleeing Iraq in the 1980s.