The UAE Foreign Affairs Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed met with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Abu Dhabi, signaling stronger ties between the two countries.
The meeting was to discuss the existing strategic partnership and bilateral efforts to “enhance prospects for more collaboration across all fronts,” the Emirates News Agency (WAM) reported on Thursday.
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“During the talks, the ministers will compare positions on key items on the global and Middle Eastern agendas,” a statement from the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
The ministers “will focus on the need to settle the persisting conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa via an inclusive dialogue that takes into account the lawful interests of all involved parties. The developments in Yemen, Libya, Syria and the Arab-Israeli peace process will be discussed in this context,” it added.
Lavrov is on a two-day trip to the oil-producing Gulf nation. His agenda, shared by the Russian ministry, shows the diplomat attending the Sir Bani Yas Forum on peace and security and a visit to the Russian School of Abu Dhabi.
The meeting comes amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow maintains is a “special military operation.”
“This upcoming visit [to the UAE] will be a major component in the intensive political dialogue whereby the two countries maintain regular contacts at top and other levels,” said a Russian ministry statement.
“Sheikh Abdullah underscored the importance of the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries in all fields and the need to strengthen it,” WAM reported.
The latest diplomatic meeting follows a meeting between UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Russian President Vladimir Putin in St. Petersburg last month.
“The presidential meeting reflected the rapid growth in cooperation between the two countries,” the UAE top diplomat was quoted as saying by WAM at the time.
During the presidential visit, President Putin expressed Russia's appreciation for the UAE’s efforts in playing a key role in the prisoner exchanges between Russia and Ukraine, saying they are a testament to its readiness to support mediation efforts.
Sheikh Mohamed, meanwhile, briefed the Russian president on the Ukrainian side’s position on several issues.
The UAE president also emphasized the need to keep the dialogue between Russia and Ukraine open, while President Putin stressed that Russia is keen on the continuation of the UAE’s mediation efforts.
Following a phone call between Sheikh Mohamed and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in October, the two leaders discussed the latest developments of the Russia-Ukraine war in a call, with the UAE leader ordering $100 million in humanitarian aid to Ukraine shortly after.
Sheikh Abdullah reportedly hosted a dinner banquet for Lavrov and his accompanying delegation.
The meeting was attended by Dr. Sultan al-Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, Ahmed al-Sayegh, Minister of State, and Dr. Mohamed al-Jaber, UAE Ambassador to Russia, WAM reported.
The UAE and Russia maintain strong, strategic ties. In 2021, bilateral trade increased by 64.5 percent compared to 2020 to $5.36 billion, making the Gulf nation Russia’s largest trade partner.
A similar momentum in trade has been reported at $3 billion since the start of 2022 by Russia’s ministry.