United Arab Emirates

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United Arab Emirates: monthly report November 2023

The ongoing war between Israel and Hamas did not prevent the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from fully committing to its economic and financial agenda and international events hosted in November.

Indeed, UAE hosted the Dubai Airshow, which, compared to previous editions, showed a wide selection of Chinese aerospace products, including fighter jets and drones. The largest aerospace and defence event in the Middle East region was also marked by the absence of Israel, with SIBAT - the Directorate of International Defence Cooperation that deals with armament transfers on behalf of the Israeli Ministry of Defence - which cancelled its participation. Furthermore, EDGE Group, the leading Emirates defence conglomerate, presented 11 new drones and missiles and the setting up of a test facility - the first of its kind in the region - for unmanned systems. The Italian presence at the event was also relevant, both industrially and politically. Indeed, the Italian Minister of Defence, Guido Crosetto, attended the Airshow. He took the opportunity to discuss with the Emirati Minister of State for Defence, Mohammed Ahmed Al Bowardi, about security issues and the role played by the Emirates in ensuring stability in the region, as well as possible opportunities for collaboration in the defence sector.

With the opening ceremony of COP28 at the end of November, the UAE aims to highlight its commitment to the energy transition process. In this regard, during the Emirates Energy Forum, the UAE had already announced the new 2022/2023 UAE State of Energy report and officially launched the National Hydrogen Strategy. It is worth mentioning that hydrogen production represents a frontier towards which the UAE is investing considerable resources in order to place itself as a competitive exporter of hydrogen on a global scale. Climate change, renewable energy and a truly sustainable energy transition for the Global South countries were the main topics of UAE President Mohamed bin Zayed’s speech at the virtual summit of G20 leaders.

Regarding the UAE's position vis-à-vis the unfolding war in Gaza, the Gulf country has shown its alignment with Arab-Islamic partners, thus, reiterating its call for a permanent ceasefire, the release of Hamas’ hostages, and the urgent need to open humanitarian corridors to the Gaza Strip. Indeed, against the backdrop of the catastrophic humanitarian situation in Gaza, the UAE is at the forefront with regional partners in providing humanitarian assistance to Palestinians in the Strip. Additionally, as stated on several occasions at the United Nations and regional summits – including the coordination meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Amman attended by Abdullah bin Zayed on Nov. 4, as well as the extraordinary Arab-Islamic summit in Riyadh on Nov. 11 joined by the UAE vice-president Mansour bin Zayed – the UAE has been demanding the international community to kick off a comprehensive and sustainable political process based on the two-state solution. Yet, according to some regional and international sources, the UAE has been reportedly among those influential states that blocked the adoption of some decisive measures against Israel in the final joint statement of the Riyadh summit, including severing all diplomatic and economic ties with Tel Aviv. Noteworthy, the UAE normalized relations with Israel within the framework of the Abraham Accords in 2020.

As part of the UAE's efforts to strengthen economic ties and trade relations with Southeast Asian countries, Abu Dhabi hosted the first session of the UAE-Indonesia Joint Commission – a meeting jointly chaired by the Emirati Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdullah bin Zayed, and his Indonesian counterpart. Within the framework of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement signed by the two countries in July 2022, non-oil bilateral trade has considerably increased over the past year, reaching over 4 billion dollars. As showcased by the UAE’s expanding portfolio of interest by entering in Indonesian geothermal energy sector, trade, investments, energy, and renewables are, indeed, the main fields where Abu Dhabi and Jakarta are bolstering bilateral cooperation.

Download the November 2023 report

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