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Foreign relations of the United Arab Emirates


Foreign relations of the United Arab Emirates

This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
the United Arab Emirates
See also

Since the establishment of the United Arab Emirates in 2 December 1971, UAE adopted a balanced foreign policy based on adoption of dialogue, respect of international conventions, commitment to the United Nations Charter and non-interference of other country's internal affairs, and the settlement of disputes by peaceful means.

One of the main anchors of the UAE’s foreign policy has been building cooperation-based relations with all countries of the world. Substantial development assistance has increased the UAE's stature among recipient states. Most of this foreign aid (in excess of $15 billion) has been to Arab and Muslim countries.


  • Multilateral relations 1
  • Africa 2
  • Americas 3
  • Asia 4
  • Europe 5
  • Oceania 6
  • International disputes 7
  • Illicit drugs 8
  • See also 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11

Multilateral relations

UAE has joined the United Nations, and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

The UAE believes that the Arab League needs to be restructured to become a viable institution and would like to increase strength and interoperability of the GCC defense forces.

The UAE is a member of the following international organizations: UN and several of its specialized agencies (Non-Aligned Movement.

In October 2010, the UAE was granted observer status at the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (


Country Formal Relations Began Notes
 Egypt See Egypt–United Arab Emirates relations Since the establishment of UAE in 1971, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates relations were always at a good level and developing at an unprecedented rate. The bond of friendship between the leaders of both countries has reflected on the growing political, economic and cultural ties between them, as a result UAE ranks first among Arab and foreign countries investing in Egypt.[1] UAE and Egypt maintain a close economic ties and maintain trade between the two countries with imports and exports between the two sides. The government of UAE by an order from Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan the President of UAE, gave Egypt cargo ships carrying 850,000 tonnes of wheat as a food gift to the people of Egypt.[2]
 Somalia See Somalia–United Arab Emirates relations The United Arab Emirates officially recognizes and maintains diplomatic ties with the Federal Government of Somalia, the central government of fellow Arab League member Somalia. The Somali administration also has an embassy in Abu Dhabi. During the 2011 drought, the UAE authorities assisted the Somali government's humanitarian relief efforts and attempts at stabilizing the situation.[3] The UAE also supports the counter-piracy activities of the Somali authorities.[4] In 2013, Foreign Minister of Somalia Fowziya Yusuf Haji Adan and her Emirati counterpart Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan signed a Memorandum of Understanding on bilateral cooperation. The agreement re-establishes formal diplomatic ties between Somalia and the UAE, and also focuses on the political, security, economic, investment and development sectors. Additionally, the Emirati government announced that it would re-open its embassy in Mogadishu.[5]


Country Formal Relations Began Notes
  • Brazil has an embassy in Abu Dhabi.[6]
  • United Arab Emirates has an embassy in Brasilia.[7]
 Canada 1974 See Canada–United Arab Emirates relations
  • Canada has an embassy in Abu Dhabi and a consulate-general in Dubai.[8]
  • United Arab Emirates has an embassy in Ottawa.[9]
 Mexico 12 September 1975 See Mexico–United Arab Emirates relations
  • Mexico has an embassy in Abu Dhabi.[10]
  • United Arab Emirates has an embassy in Mexico City.[11]
 United States 1974 See [16] Commercially, the UAE is also the States' largest export market in the Middle East constituting $11.6 billion in exports annually. In March 2005, the US opened negotiations on a free trade agreement and despite recent increasing depreciation of currencies in the Persian Gulf area, the UAE dirham remains pegged to the plunging dollar.[17] The two countries have also maintained close ties through an exchange of cultural and educational partnerships which include the Guggenheim Museum, and a number of American Universities opening campuses in the Emirates.[18]
  • United Arab Emirates has an embassy in Washington, DC.[19]
  • United States has an embassy in Abu Dhabi and a consulate-general in Dubai.[20]


Country Formal Relations Began Notes
 Afghanistan Relations between Afghanistan are politically and economically strong. This is because the UAE has a small humanitarian military presence in Afghanistan. UAE troops have been welcomed by the country as allied Muslim soldiers and the Emirati soldiers compliment the Afghan hospitality they encounter.[21] Protests from Kabul arose when the victim in the torture tape with Issa bin Zayed Al Nahyan brutally beating a man who is believed to be an Afghan grain merchant that ripped him off for only $5,000.[22]
 Bangladesh The diplomatic relations between Bangladesh and the United Arab Emirates are strong. The UAE is 2nd largest remittance country for Bangladesh after Saudi Arabia. The UAE also funds a lot of projects in Bangladesh.
 India See India–United Arab Emirates relations UAE enjoys close economic and cultural relations with India. Close maritime contact between India and the Arabian Peninsula date back to 3rd and 2nd millennium BC.[23] and textile and spice trade between the two countries flourished during most of 1st millennium AD.[24] The discovery of oil allowed the UAE to increase and diversify its trade relations with India. UAE and India are each other's main trading parthers. The trade totals over $75 billion (AED275.25 billion).[25] During the first half of 2010, non-oil trade between India and the UAE stood at US$20.4 billion.[26] UAE is home to more than 1.75 million Indian expatriates, making Indians the second largest ethnic group in the nation.[27]
 Indonesia See  Iran See Iran–United Arab Emirates relations The UAE maintains very close economic ties with Iran based on long-standing relations, dating back hundreds of years. It also has a significant Iranian community. However, Iran claims three islands in the Persian Gulf (Abu Musa, Greater Tunb, and Lesser Tunb) which has been subject of dispute by the UAE. As for the Iran's nuclear program, given that the UAE adopt the principle of not interfering in the internal matters of others, The UAE chose not to interfere with Iran's nuclear program as long as Iran continues to reassure the world that the program is peaceful. The UAE announced its position concerning all kinds of weapons of mass destruction is that the UAE calls for the freeing of the Middle East region from all such weapons.
 Iraq See Iraq–United Arab Emirates relations The Iraqi invasion and occupation of Kuwait were a shock to the UAE. For the UAE, the crisis over Kuwait demonstrated a lack of Arab unity on a critical Arab issue. The UAE joined the Arab states that opposed the Iraqi invasion and supported the use of force to compel Iraq's withdrawal of troops from Kuwait.[28] Prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq in 2003, the UAE opposed the US led invasion. In June 2008, the Iraqi government announced that the United Arab Emirates would send an ambassador to Baghdad within a few days. This would become the first Arab ambassador in Iraq since the kidnapping and murder of the Egyptian Ambassador Ihab el-Sherif in July 2005. This announcement was made during a surprise visit by the United Arab Emirates' Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan to Baghdad on 5 June 2008. This marked the first time a high-ranking official from a Gulf state visited Iraq since March 2003.[29][30] On 31 July 2007 following Iraq victory of the Asian Cup, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE awarded the Iraq National football team 20 million Dhs, ($5.2 million) for capturing the Asian Cup for the first time in the country’s history.[31]
 Israel See Israel–United Arab Emirates relations Neither country have formal diplomatic relations with each other.
 Japan Diplomatic relations between UAE and Japan were established as early as UAE's independence in December 1971.[32] The two countries had always enjoyed friendly ties and trade between each other, exports from UAE to Japan include crude oil and natural gas and imports from Japan to UAE include cars and electronics items.[32]
 Malaysia See Malaysia–United Arab Emirates relations United Arab Emirates has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur, and Malaysia has an embassy in Abu Dhabi.[33] The countries established diplomatic relations in 1983.[34] In 2005 Malaysia’s export to the UAE stood at Dh7 billion. Main export items were gold and jewellery, wood products (furniture and parts), palm oil, petroleum products and electrical appliances. In 2007, trade between Malaysia and UAE was worth MYR 14.56 billion making UAE, Malaysia's largest trading partner in West Asia as well as Malaysia being the 10th largest exporter to UAE.[35] In 2009, Malaysian ambassador Datuk Yahaya Abdul Jabar said total trade between Malaysia and UAE from January to November stood at RM19.5 billion. Malaysia's main exports to the UAE are jewellery, consumer electronics and palm oil.[36]
 Pakistan See Pakistan–United Arab Emirates relations Pakistan and the UAE are very close allies with extremely close relations based on cultural affinities and shared faith. These relations date back to the UAE's formation in 1971, and have since developed into wide-ranging co-operation in various fields. UAE has been a major donor of economic assistance to Pakistan.[37] Sheikh Zayed International Airport in Rahim Yar Khan, in the Punjab province of Pakistan is an example of UAE's economic assistance as the late president and the founder of the UAE Sheikh Zayed donated the airport to the government of Pakistan. Pakistan was also the first country to accord formal recognition to UAE on its achieving independence.[38] UAE has emerged as one of Pakistan's major economic and trading partners. A large number of Pakistani expatriates, numbering nearly 400,000 are gainfully employed in UAE.
 Qatar See Qatar–United Arab Emirates relations
  • Qatar has an embassy in Abu Dhabi and a consulate-general in Dubai.
  • United Arab Emirates has an embassy in Doha.


The UAE’s liberal climate towards foreign cooperation, investment and modernization have prompted extensive commercial ties with western countries, and subsequently resulting in even closer cultural relations. The country remains a major global tourist and foreign direct investment destination but a few countries play a more significant role than the rest.
Country Formal Relations Began Notes
  • Albania has an embassy in Abu Dhabi.
  • United Arab Emirates is accredited to Albania from its embassy in Rome, Italy.
 Denmark See Denmark–United Arab Emirates relations
  • Denmark has an embassy in Abu Dhabi.
  • United Arab Emirates is accredited to Denmark from its embassy in Stockholm, Sweden.
 France See France–United Arab Emirates relations The UAE’s relationship with France has been strategically important as it negotiated a defence cooperation agreement and remains one of the country’s primary providers of military material.[39] France and the UAE have signed a defence cooperation agreement in order to diversity its procurement from solely the US.[39] Culturally, as the Sorbonne and Louvre are both establishing extensions in the UAE,[40] a plan is in the works to recreate a miniature Lyon city in Dubai complete with public squares, restaurants and museums.[41] On May 25, 2009, the French president Nicolas Sarkozy visited the UAE, Abu Dhabi where he along with UAE's president H.H Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan formally opened a French military base in the United Arab Emirates. This would become France's first permanent base in the Persian Gulf, hosting up to 500 French troops.[42] In addition to the inauguration of Peace Camp, Nicolas Sarkozy visited the site of a Louvre Museum branch which France is opening in the United Arab Emirates. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs, said that the co-operation with France is a top priority for the UAE's foreign policy.[43]
 Germany See Germany–United Arab Emirates relations German exports amount to 5.84 billion Euros.[44] German companies significantly contribute to the UAE’s ongoing infrastructure projects and play a leading role in the country’s alternative energy developments.[45] Consequently, German Business Park, an area designed to house several of the already seven hundred present companies and their logistical needs, is in the midst of construction.[46]
 Georgia Diplomatic relations between [47] The countries are represented in each other through embassies.[47]
 Greece See Greece–United Arab Emirates relations
  • Greece has an embassy in Abu Dhabi.
  • United Arab Emirates has an embassy in Athens.
  • Ireland has an embassy in Abu Dhabi.
  • United Arab Emirates has an embassy in Dublin.
 Kosovo See Kosovo–United Arab Emirates relations The United Arab Emirates recognized Kosovo on 14 October 2008.[48][49] Kosovo plans to open an embassy in the UAE.[50] After the Serbian government launched a major offensive against the ethnic Albanian population in Kosovo in 1998, the UAE called for international intervention and commenced a major program of humanitarian relief through its Red Crescent Society. In 1999, the UAE was among the first non-NATO states to voice support for NATO's bombing campaign.[51] During the UN administration period, the UAE maintained almost 1,500 peacekeeping and special operations troops in Kosovo.[52] The UAE was the only Muslim state to offer to participate in the Kosovo Force and its commitment was the first operational deployment of UAE forces outside the Middle East region.[51] As of October 2008, these forces remained in Kosovo and between 1998 and 2008, the aid given to Kosovo by the UAE’s Red Crescent Authority alone cost Dh125 million, the biggest international humanitarian mission in the UAE's history.[53]
 Russia See Russia–United Arab Emirates relations
  • Russia has an embassy in Abu Dhabi and a consulate-general in Dubai.
  • United Arab Emirates has an embassy in Moscow.
 Serbia See Serbia–United Arab Emirates relations Relations between Serbia and the United Arab Emirates have flourished in recent years. Serbia has an embassy in Abu Dhabi, and the UAE has an embassy in Belgrade. The UAE is now one of the top sources of FDI for Serbia.
  • Ukraine has an embassy in Abu Dhabi.
  • United Arab Emirates has an embassy in Kiev.
 United Kingdom See United Arab Emirates–United Kingdom relations Traditionally, links between the sheikhs of the lower Gulf and the United Kingdom were close as a result of a series of 19th-century martime truces for the suppression of piracy. Since the British withdrew their military forces from the Gulf in 1971, relations have remained friendly while the UAE has reorientated its foreign policy away from the former "colonial" relationship to one based on trade. Economically, the UAE is the UK’s largest export market for non-military goods in the Middle East.[54]


Country Formal Relations Began Notes
 Australia See Australia–United Arab Emirates relations The UAE and Australia have begun establishing closer relations, recently the UAE Minister of Economy, Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri visited Australia along with the UAE delegation - discussion focused on the development of a strategic partnership, financial services, trade and investment.[55][56][57]
 Tuvalu The UAE and Tuvalu established diplomatic relations on 31 March 2010.[58]

International disputes

  • Location and status of boundary with Saudi Arabia is not final, de facto boundary reflects 1974 agreement; no defined boundary with most of Oman, but Administrative Line in far north;
  • Claims three islands in the Persian Gulf that are part of Iran's territory: Lesser Tunb (called Tunb as Sughra in Arabic by UAE and Jazireh-ye Tonb-e Kuchak in Persian by Iran) and Greater Tunb (called Tunb al Kubra in Arabic by UAE and Jazireh-ye Tonb-e Bozorg in Persian by Iran);
  • Claims island in the Persian Gulf administered by Iran (called Abu Musa in Arabic by UAE and Jazireh-ye Abu Musa in Persian by Iran) - over which Iran has taken steps to exert unilateral control since 1992, including access restrictions and a military build-up on the island;

Illicit drugs

The UAE plays a growing role as a drug trafficking center due to its proximity to southwest Asian producing countries and the bustling free trade zone in Dubai, as a result UAE have one of the strongest anti-drug law enforcements, and the penalty of drug possession is very severe, so the government of UAE makes sure that tourists are warned of UAE drug laws before entering the country. One example of this is the seizure of drugs from different places.[59]

See also


  1. ^ "Egypt and U.A.E Relations". 
  2. ^ "Food gift: Most wheat offered to Egypt delivered".  
  3. ^ Somali President hails UAE President's humanitarian efforts
  4. ^ Somalia: Puntland President Speech at Constitutional Conference in Garowe
  5. ^ "Somalia: UAE and Somalia Foreign Ministers Sign Mou On Bilateral Cooperation". Warlalis. 2 April 2013. Retrieved 3 June 2013. 
  6. ^ Embassy of Brazil in Abu Dhabi (in English and Portuguese)
  7. ^ Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Brasilia (in English and Portuguese)
  8. ^ Embassy of Canada in Abu Dhabi (in English and French)
  9. ^ Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Ottawa (in English and French)
  10. ^ Embassy of Mexico in Abu Dhabi (in English and Spanish)
  11. ^ Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Mexico City
  12. ^ Library of Congress, Country Study: United Arab Emirates, Data as of 1993
  13. ^ CRS Report for Congress, The United Arab Emirates (UAE): Issues for U.S. Policy, May 2005
  14. ^ CRS Report for Congress Pg. 5
  15. ^ CNN News "U.S.-United Arab Emirates Sign Nuclear Deal," January 16, 2009
  16. ^ [1]
  17. ^ Thaindian News, "Pegged to dollar, Gulf currencies have depreciated: report", April 7, 2008,
  18. ^ UAE-US Relations: UAE-US Partnerships,
  19. ^ Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Washington, DC
  20. ^ Embassy of the United States in Abu Dhabi
  21. ^ "Muslim troops help win Afghan minds". BBC News. 2008-03-28. Retrieved 2010-04-02. 
  22. ^ Human rights in the United Arab Emirates#Torture
  23. ^ Ganguly, D.K. History and Historians in Ancient India. Abhinav Publications, 1985.  
  24. ^ Embassy of India - India-UAE relations
  25. ^ "UAE and India sign crucial investment protection pact".  
  26. ^ UAE-India H1 trade jumps 57% to $20.4b
  27. ^ Background Note:United Arab Emirates, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, U.S. Department of State
  28. ^ United Arab Emirates - Foreign Relations
  29. ^ "Emirates to send envoy to Baghdad".  
  30. ^ "UAE to name ambassador to Baghdad".  
  31. ^ "Iraq football team awarded 5.5mn". 2007-08-01. Retrieved 2008-11-30. 
  32. ^ a b Japan-United Arab Emirates Relations Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan
  33. ^ Official website of the Embassy of Malaysia,Abu Dhabi
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^ "Relations with UAE get wider, deeper".  
  38. ^ "Pak-UAE bilateral relations progressing steadily".  
  39. ^ a b Library of Congress Country Profile: UAE,
  40. ^ USA Today; "Louvre museum to build branch in UAE," March 2007
  41. ^ Gulf News, "UAE and France share strong bilateral relations," May 2008.
  42. ^ "French President Sarkozy opens UAE base". BBC. May 26, 2009. Retrieved January 10, 2009. 
  43. ^ "Relationship with France is top priority for UAE, Abdullah says". Gulf News. May 26, 2009. Retrieved January 10, 2009. 
  44. ^ Federal Foreign Office of Germany Country Profile UAE, October 2008
  45. ^ "UAE, Germany to cooperate in averting financial mayhem" Saudi Gazette.
  46. ^ Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority, Website News Release, October 2007
  47. ^ a b "Relations Between Georgia and the United Arab Emirates". Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Georgia). 
  48. ^ "UAE recognises Kosovo".  
  49. ^ "UAE recognises Kosovo". IC Publications. 2008-10-14. Retrieved 2008-10-14. 
  50. ^ "Kosovo Plans Diplomatic Offensive for '09".  
  51. ^ a b Ibrahim Abed; Peter Hellyer (2001). United Arab Emirates, a new perspective. Trident Press. The UAE's active interest in the Balkans was again stimulated by the conflict in Kosovo, whose autonomous status within Serbia had been abolished in 1989. ... 
  52. ^ "UAE to Keep Troops in Kosovo".  
  53. ^ It’s not enough for the UAE just to recognise Kosovo
  54. ^ British Foreign And Commonwealth Office, Country Profile: UAE; January 2009
  55. ^ UAE is strategic partner and a gateway for Australia to the Middle East, says Al Mansouri
  56. ^ UAE to forger closer economic ties Australia: Al-Mansouri
  57. ^ UAE a gateway for Australia to ME: Mansouri
  58. ^ "UAE and Tuvalu establish diplomatic relations" 31 March 2010 Link retrieved 01 April 2010
  59. ^ "Tourists Warned of UAE Drug and Prescription Medication Laws". February 10, 2008. 

External links

  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates (Arabic)
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