Belfast Telegraph

Monday 15 September 2014

Queen hails UAE links with Britain

The Queen pictured meeting Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi in 2010

Britain's close links with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) - including its investment in Manchester City Football Club - have been praised by the Queen as she welcomed the nation's president to the UK.

Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, on a two-day state visit to the UK, was formally greeted by the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh during a ceremony full of pomp and military splendour staged at Windsor Castle.

The Queen later hosted a state lunch for the Arab leader and his ministers and officials, with British guests led by Prime Minister David Cameron.

In the castle's impressive Waterloo Chamber, the Queen told the president: "Our two countries have been close friends since before the foundation of the United Arab Emirates in 1971, under the wise guidance and leadership of your late father, Sheikh Zayed.

"Your visit this week is a chance to celebrate the depth of our partnership - a partnership that continues to grow and strengthen.

"Our Treaty of Friendship signed in 1971 declared that the UAE and the UK would consult each other, promote educational, scientific and cultural co-operation and build close trade relations. This has never been truer than it is today and I am delighted with how our ties have developed, spearheaded by the UK-UAE Taskforce."

Among the guests was the UAE's deputy prime minister, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, owner of Premier League club Manchester City.

The Queen added: "The UAE is one of our largest trading partners in the Gulf region, and we have welcomed Emirati investments in the United Kingdom in many areas from the construction of the largest port facilities in the UK to the Emirates Skyline, the spectacular cable-car crossing over the Thames and, of course, Manchester City."

The UAE president's state visit comes soon after three British men were jailed in Dubai for four years each for possessing drugs, amid claims they were tortured.

During talks with Sheikh Khalifa at Downing Street on Wednesday, David Cameron is expected to address the claims of the men - Grant Cameron and Suneet Jeerh, both 25, and Karl Williams, 26.

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