UAE, Spain issue joint statement on visit of President of Government of Spain
ABU DHABI, 2nd February, 2022 – The United Arab Emirates and Spain have agreed to establish a strategic partnership in various fields, ranging from upgraded political consultations to an enhanced framework for investment and economic cooperation.
Following is the joint statement:
His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and Pedro Sánchez, President of the Government of Spain, met in Abu Dhabi on February 2nd.
The leaders agreed to establish a new and ambitious framework of relations between the United Arab Emirates and Spain, based on their shared determination to work together for a fair and sustainable collective recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic, to continue expanding their bilateral relations for the benefit of their two peoples, and to make their contribution to regional and global peace and prosperity.
The UAE and Spain enjoy excellent relations at all levels, thanks to the deep historic and cultural ties that bond them together.
They also share a strong commitment to a multilateral approach for more cooperative and integrated international relations.
Looking to the future of their relationship, Spain and the UAE agreed to establish a strategic partnership in various fields, ranging from upgraded political consultations to an enhanced framework for investment and economic cooperation; increased collaboration in sectors such as health, the environment, renewable energy, scientific and educational cooperation, sports and culture; and to open new chapters of cooperation in areas such as cybersecurity, climate action, and industry.
The President of Spain congratulated the United Arab Emirates on the continued success of Expo 2020 Dubai in providing a platform that has encouraged global dialogue and innovation to work towards a more sustainable future.
The Spanish pavilion, through its theme “Intelligence for Life”, has focused on accounts of Spanish history, culture, and ties to Arab civilization as well as the sustainable practices Spain has undertaken and galvanized.
Through their participation at Expo, Spain’s programming has been rich and diverse with a variety of cultural events.
President Sánchez congratulated the United Arab Emirates on the fiftieth anniversary of its founding in 1971, and for having recently celebrated its Golden Jubilee.
This auspicious historical occasion is marked by the extraordinary achievements in social and economic progress the United Arab Emirates has made in the last 50 years, and also by the stature and prestige the United Arab Emirates has deservedly gained in regional and world affairs, including the United Arab Emirates’ hosting of the Expo 2020 Dubai.
They agreed to further cooperate in advancing shared priorities during the United Arab Emirates’ term on the UN Security Council for 2022-2023, its current three-year membership of the United Nations Council on Human Rights, as well as towards COP 28 arrangements in 2023.
Sheikh Mohammed highlighted Spain’s role in the European Union, the G20, and the United Nations, and commended Spain on its efforts to promote effective multilateralism and committed solidarity, and to make progress in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, as well as to contribute to the empowerment of women and youth at a global scale.
The important role that Spain will play in 2022 as the host country of the NATO Summit in June, as well as the Spanish presidency of the Council of the European Union in the second semester of 2023, illustrates the leadership of Spain.
His Highness also commended Spain’s vision and leadership to develop Euro-Mediterranean relations, in particular by successfully hosting in Barcelona the sixth Regional Forum of the Union for the Mediterranean and the third ministerial meeting of the EU and its Southern Neighborhood, as well as Spain’s special role in Latin America and the Sahel, among other regions, in its efforts to contribute to the advancement of peace, security and stability through dialogue, provide economic support to developing countries, deliver humanitarian action and support the fight against terrorism.
Regarding the COVID pandemic, the United Arab Emirates and Spain are both very advanced in their vaccination campaigns.
With over 90% of the population fully vaccinated, both countries rank among the top ten in the world.
The two leaders underlined that these efforts must continue until the pandemic is over everywhere, and they agreed on an action programme to share their capabilities and expertise in support of multilateral efforts to curb the disease, in particular in the framework of the COVAX initiative and the WHO.
Furthermore, they agreed to coordinate their work to promote resilience and recovery in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in developing countries, but also in middle-income countries, in order to avert the risks of backsliding in the Sustainable Development Goals Agenda.
The leaders recalled the importance of the next round of Political Consultations, which will take place in Spain, be presided over by the two Ministers of Foreign Affairs, and will continue the dialogue on global and regional issues of common interest in a spirit of mutual trust and full cooperation.
The two leaders agreed that climate change constitutes a direct and existential threat to the global community and to human livelihoods, which requires strong and ambitious action by all countries.
Both countries stressed the need for urgently stepping up global climate change ambition to limit global warming to 1.
5 C, especially taking into account the outcomes of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow.
In this regard, both leaders noted the commitment of Spain to reach net zero emissions by 2050 and of the UAE’s Net Zero by 2050 Strategic Initiative.
With regards to adaptation, both countries acknowledge their vulnerability to the impacts of climate change, as both are prone to extreme weather events, and are already experiencing longer, more frequent and intensive heat waves and droughts.
Both countries are also vulnerable to sea level rise, which could affect critical infrastructures located in coastal areas.
In the light of the above, both countries committed to:
Enhancing cooperation in the field of climate change with a particular focus on water management and coastal management strategies, considering their particular vulnerabilities to the impacts of climate change.
Working together with a view to ensure a successful outcome for COP28 in 2023, by the time when Spain will hold the Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
In this regard, they committed to mobilise the necessary climate diplomacy to galvanize global efforts with a view to ensuring that the results of COP28 in the UAE inject momentum in the discussion of global ambition across the themes of mitigation, adaptation and finance.
Both sides further recognized the growing importance and high potential of cooperation in the field of climate change by welcoming the signing of the MoU on Cooperation in the Field of Energy and Climate Action between the Office of the UAE Special Envoy for Climate Change and the Spanish Ministry of Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge, and welcomed this progress.
Both leaders agreed that the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) has become a platform for intercultural dialogue, understanding and cooperation, solidly anchored in the UN system and remains a useful tool of preventive diplomacy, with great potential to contribute to conflict resolution.
UAE and Spain remain today solid partners of the alliance and are committed to supporting the efforts of the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, and High Representative Miguel Ángel Moratinos, as part of the Alliance’s Action Plan for 2019-2023.
Furthermore, the international peacebuilding and security architecture of the UN requires new international alliances, incorporating new technologies, artificial intelligence and technological diplomacy.
The Alliance of Civilizations needs to become one of the leading actors in this process, which will define a new Agenda for Peace to be adopted at the Summit for the Future proposed by the UN Secretary General.
The United Arab Emirates and Spain share an important trade and investment relationship, with a total trade of 2.
3 billion Euros in recent years, and a total two-way investment stock of 7.
7 billion Euros, promoting innovation, jobs and economic development in the UAE and Spain.
The two leaders set out their ambition to expand the economic relationship further, and discussed opportunities for economic cooperation presented by new and emerging sectors including technology, aerospace and defence, smart mobility, healthcare and life sciences, agrotechnology, water and clean and renewable energy, among others.
With the aim to increase bilateral investment flows, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Company and COFIDES, the Spanish state-owned financial institution.
The MoU aims to identify potential co-investment opportunities in Spain and enable both institutions to explore business opportunities and investments of common interest, with a special focus on Spanish companies and their foreign subsidiaries, as well as investment funds.
Potential co-investments will focus on a range of sectors including energy transition, sustainable mobility, transportation, circular economy, as well as digitalization, biotechnology, and agribusiness.
Additionally, the MoU will have the potential to strengthen and support reform and innovation plans for the Spanish economy and create additional opportunities to leverage funds for projects of mutual interest.
Willing to raise the level of ambition for the prosperity of the two economies and to increase bilateral investment flows, the leaders took positive note of the initialling of the Agreement on the Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investments (BIT, Bilateral Investment Treaty) between the United Arab Emirates and Spain.
Once in force, the new BIT will promote and enhance further bilateral investment and business opportunities.
The two leaders also considered positively the importance and future impact of the Spanish Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan, under the broader initiative Next Generation EU funds.
The leaders welcomed the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Health and Prevention of the United Arab Emirates and the Ministry of Health of the Kingdom of Spain to strengthen cooperation in all fields of healthcare, with a particular focus to encourage cooperation in various aspects of the transplantation of human organs and tissues.
The leaders committed to speed up the entry into force of the Agreement on Cooperation on Security and the Fight Against Crime between the countries, signed in Abu Dhabi on 7 February 2021, and welcomed the ongoing cooperation between the security forces of the United Arab Emirates and Spain in fields such as the fight against illicit finance and money laundering, border security and surveillance, the fight against cybercrime, international terrorism and drug trafficking.
The leaders reaffirmed that collaboration in the field of defence and security is gaining pace, as is the programme for future aircraft airworthiness certification entrusted to Spain’s ISDEFE, and encouraged further contacts for local industrial collaboration with other stakeholders in both countries, including Tawazun Economic Council and EDGE Group.
The leaders also welcomed the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding on Cybersecurity, to promote cooperation and to conduct exchanges in ICT-related fields, with particular attention to international cooperation, legislative and regulatory solutions, judicial and police activities, deterrence, prevention and responses to cyber-attacks, awareness-building and educational programs, scientific and technological research and development, and business and economic exchanges.
Recognising the importance of cooperating in the field of education at all levels (primary, secondary, higher and post-graduate) and the promotion of an active exchange of talent for the benefit of both societies, the leaders welcomed the initiative of the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Education of the United Arab Emirates and the Ministry of Universities of Spain in the Fields of Higher Education and Scientific Research.
The MoU aims to further the existing cooperation in the fields of higher education and scientific research through the direct links among institutions of both countries.
Among other objectives, both ministries will support joint research, exchanges and programmmes, sharing information on national legislation and the standards for the licensing of institutions and for the adoption of their educational programs in order to provide mutual recognition of scientific degrees, academic titles and diplomas of higher education, in accordance to the regulations applicable in each country.
Furthermore, the two leaders welcomed the signature of an Addendum to the existing MoU between the Ministry of Education of the UAE and the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training of Spain, in order to enlarge the Visiting Teachers Program for the Teaching of the Spanish Language.
Both leaders also recognised the role of the Spanish school in Abu Dhabi.
The relevant presence in different Emirati institutions of Spanish scientists and researchers, gathered in the Association of Spanish Scientist and Researchers in the EAU (ACIEEAU), as well as the bilateral Committee for Technological Cooperation are valuable tools the two leaders agreed to continue further develop.
They highlighted the important results achieved in this ongoing cooperation through the UAE’s Technological Innovation Institute, in particular in the project to build the first nanocomputer in the country, as the best expression of joint potential in cutting edge technologies, and their future impact in areas such as precision medicine, smart technologies and artificial intelligence, among others.
The two leaders decided that new alliances shall be actively encouraged through the relevant institutions of both countries in order to strengthen entrepreneurship, based on instruments to support technology-based companies and the alignment of venture capital funds in technologies of common interest, such as the aerospace sector, applied technologies for sustainability, biotechnology, food safety and ICT applied to various uses such as agriculture or personalized medicine.
In line with their common objective to advance cooperation in priority sectors, the two leaders also welcomed efforts to conclude the MoU on Industries and Advanced Technologies by the UAE Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology and Spain’s Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism.
The leaders recalled the importance of bringing the peoples of the United Arab Emirates and Spain closer together and building on the existing mutual appreciation of their cultures.
A commitment was made to deepen cultural exchanges, a good example of which is the 42nd Edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair, during which Spain was the international Guest of Honour.
The bilateral Commission on Culture, that met recently, examined important issues relating to the preservation of cultural heritage and the improvement of cultural industries.
The advancement of cultural exchange and mutual appreciation between the people of the United Arab Emirates and Spain will act as a powerful driving force in the continued rapprochement between the two nations.
Both leaders agreed to mutually collaborate in the “Government Exchange Experience Programme”, in line with governance principles, for the purpose to exchange knowledge and experience in spheres related to good government, and looked forward to further enhancing this collaboration through the conclusion of a Memorandum of Understanding on Governance Collaboration.
The two leaders discussed regional issues, and recalled the importance of maintaining and strengthening peace in the Middle East.
They reiterated that dialogue and cooperation must be the cornerstone of a more integrated, stable and prosperous region, and Spain welcomed the outlook of the UAE in this respect.
Both leaders agreed to support international efforts to maintain peace and security in the region and resolve regional conflicts, including efforts to support the reactivation of the Middle East Peace Process in line with the two-state solution and based on the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions and previous agreements between the parties.
They expressed hope that the Abraham Accords will contribute to regional peace and create positive change for the Middle East region.
The two leaders reaffirmed their joint commitment to the fight against extremism and terrorism, in all forms, at both regional and international levels.
They agreed to deepen their bilateral cooperation in the fight against terrorism, terrorist financing and extremism.
In this context, they emphasized the importance of promoting the values of peace, moderation, coexistence and tolerance among peoples, and stressed the need for all forms of terrorism, extremism, violence, hatred, discrimination and incitement to be renounced.
The leaders also discussed regional issues of mutual interest in Africa and in the Mediterranean basin, sharing views about the need to preserve peace and stability in full respect of the principles of dialogue, respect for sovereignty and independence of all States in the region and compliance with international law and United Nations resolutions.
They exchanged views on ongoing and future joint efforts to contribute to stability and prosperity in the region, in support of the United Nations and other regional organizations.
In relation to the Horn of Africa, the two leaders expressed their concern about the conflict in Ethiopia and their support to the mediation efforts carried out by the African Union Special Envoy Obasanjo to find a political solution to the conflict.
Regarding Sudan, both leaders expressed their hope for the success of the transitional period through an inclusive peace process.
With regard to Yemen, the two leaders encouraged a political solution to the crisis based on the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions, and committed to maintaining humanitarian efforts to alleviate the suffering of the Yemeni people.
They also reiterated their strong condemnation of the recent escalation of terrorist attacks by the Houthis against Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
On the Iranian nuclear programme, both leaders discussed the ongoing talks in Vienna and emphasized the importance of a negotiated solution to Iran’s nuclear programme.
Regarding Afghanistan, the leaders underscored the high importance of stability in the country and of an inclusive coordinated approach by the international community.
They expressed appreciation for the successful coordination between their two countries in August last year, which allowed Spain and the United Arab Emirates to serve as central hubs for the international humanitarian effort.
Spain expressed appreciation for the UAE’s humanitarian role and support in facilitating the safe transit of nationals of Spain, as well as Afghan nationals and nationals of other countries, from Afghanistan through the UAE.
The leaders furthermore expressed concern at the deteriorating economic situation in Afghanistan and the need to restore basic services that may help stabilize and reverse the present state of things.
Bearing in mind the serious humanitarian and refugee situation, they highlighted the importance of upholding human rights for all, noting that achievements in women’s and girls’ education and rights must be preserved and built upon further.
Both leaders shared the need for a renewed and robust relationship between the European Union and the UAE, welcoming the plans to foster a renewed relationship between the EU and the GCC, as well as the commitment to advance regional cooperation with a view to develop key partnerships in strategic sectors.
They encouraged further efforts in order to successfully and swiftly conclude the EU-GCC Free Trade Agreement.
In that respect, they welcomed holding the EU-GCC ministerial meeting on 21 February 2022 which will help advance further engagement between both regions and promote regional cooperation, and encouraged accelerating the work on the EU-GCC FTA.
President Sánchez thanked Sheikh Mohamed for his extraordinary hospitality and warmth and invited His Highness to visit Spain.