Prime Minister Gaston Browne today held bilateral meeting with His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan of the UAE with both countries pledging to continue working together on a number of strategic areas of mutual interest including renewable energy, tourism, trade, and economic cooperation and matters of international relations. Both countries recognized the need for further strengthening the already close bilateral relations including through the upcoming Expo2020 to be held in the UAE.
His Royal Highness welcomed the opportunity to meet Prime Minister Browne for a second time recalling the excellent exchange during their past meeting. His Excellency encouraged Prime Minister Browne to continue his efforts in renewable energy and pledged his country’s continued support to Antigua and Barbuda. Sheik Adbullah commented on the recently launched 50 million USD fund for the Caribbean for renewable energy and further encouraged the Prime Minister to ensure Antigua and Barbuda submits its application to the fund.
Prime Minister Browne outlined his government’s commitment to fostering stronger relations with the UAE and in particular looking at the development model of Dubai. The Prime Minister invited His Royal Highness to consider Antigua and Barbuda as a diplomatic hub within the region and the possibility of establishing an Embassy in St. John’s.
Antigua and Barbuda in 2016 waived visa requirements for citizens of UAE to enter Antigua and Barbuda and Sheik Adbullah welcomed such an initiative and informed Prime Minister Browne his country’s willingness to explore the possibility of a reciprocal visa waiver regime for citizens of Antigua and Barbuda entering the UAE. His Royal Highness also announced that he is putting together arrangements to visit Antigua and Barbuda during the latter half of 2017.
Prime Minister Browne also held bilateral meeting with Minister of state and International Cooperation Her Excellency Reem Ebrahim Al Hashimi, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the UAE. Both Prime Minister Browne and Minister Reem signed a Double Taxation Agreement between Antigua and Barbuda and the UAE. Both sides noted that the agreement along with the recently signed air services agreement and the Visa exemption privileges extended to citizens of the UAE by Antigua and Barbuda provided a platform for enhancing tourism and trade between the two countries including through the initiation of air services from the UAE to Antigua.
Prime Minister Browne thanked Minister Reem for her official visit to Antigua and for contributions via Dubai Care. Minister Reem reassured the Prime Minister of her commitment to the Dubai Care project in Antigua and Barbuda and signaled her willingness to explore other areas of cooperation and contributions.