Middle East minister visits Gulf to deepen economic ties
Asia and Middle East Minister Amanda Milling made her second trip to the Gulf this week, visiting Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
The visit comes as ties between the UK and the Gulf Cooperation Council are rapidly growing. Last month, the UK announced that GCC countries will be visa-free, joining the electronic travel authorization scheme and also launched talks on the free trade agreement.
During a one-day visit to Bahrain, Minister Milling met with Bahrain’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, His Excellency Dr. Abdullatif Al Zayani, where they then reflected on the strength of the bilateral relationship. Ms Milling commended the Minister for Bahrain’s continued progress on human rights and reaffirmed the UK’s commitment to supporting Bahrain’s work in this area.
She also had fruitful talks with the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Finance and National Economy. Ms Milling heard from influential young Bahrainis about their hopes and aspirations, met business figures and visited the UK Naval Support Center for a briefing on the UK’s contributions to security in the region, alongside the United States and other defense partners.
In Qatar, the Minister met with her counterpart, the Deputy Foreign Minister and HE Sultan Saad Al Muraikhi to discuss strengthening the bilateral partnership, building on the recent visit to the United Kingdom of His Highness the Amir, including the areas of regional and international security.
The minister also met Nasser Al Khater, CEO of Qatar 2022 ahead of the World Cup to discuss what England and Wales fans can expect during the tournament, Labor Minister Dr Ali bin Samikh Al-Marri, to discuss labor rights and Minister of Public Health, Dr. Hannan Al Kuwari to discuss cooperation on global health issues.
In the United Arab Emirates, Minister Milling met with key Emirati officials such as Dr Anwar Gargesh and HE Sheikh Shakbout bin Nahyan to discuss how to take forward the ‘Partnership for the Future’ (P4F) agreement signed by the Prime Minister and Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan during a government guest visit to the UK in September 2021.
Minister of State for Asia and the Middle East, MP Amanda Milling, said:
Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are close friends of the UK. We make it easier for UK businesses to trade with Gulf businesses through a free trade agreement and for Gulf citizens to travel to the UK through our electronic visa authorization system.
In Bahrain, I reiterated that the UK is a reliable partner and that we will continue to work closely together in many areas, including regional security, human rights, trade and investment.
In Qatar, I had the opportunity to discuss ongoing preparations for the World Cup and our support for a safe and enjoyable experience for British fans.
In the United Arab Emirates, my counterparts and I discussed the full range of shared priorities outlined in the Partnership for the Future, from boosting bilateral trade to regional stability and development.