By Binsal Abdulkader ABOU DHABI, October 30, 2021 (WAM) – Around 240,000 annual tourist traffics in both directions between Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates, the presence of the region’s largest Swiss expat community in the Emirates and strong bilateral business and investment relations make the United Arab Emirates “an important partner for Switzerland in the Middle East,” the Swiss president told the Emirates News Agency (WAM).
“With nearly 3,000 inhabitants, the United Arab Emirates is home to the largest community of Swiss citizens in the Middle East and North Africa region. In general, around 140,000 Emiratis travel to Switzerland each year in the summer for enjoy its beautiful nature. On the other hand, an estimated 100,000 Swiss citizens visit the United Arab Emirates every year, âsaid Guy Parmelin, President of the Swiss Confederation.
In an exclusive interview in Dubai, he added: âThe UAE is now Switzerland’s 11th largest trading partner in the world.
United Arab Emirates as an important partner in the MENA region The United Arab Emirates is an important partner for Switzerland in the Middle East and North Africa region, underlined Mr. Parmelin. “According to the MENA strategy adopted by the Swiss government, our priorities [for relations] with the United Arab Emirates include economics, finance and science, sustainable development, digitization, as well as peace, security and human rights. “
Economic relations with the United Arab Emirates remain strong despite the setback of the COVID-19 pandemic, the president said.
âTrade between us reached US $ 13 billion in 2020 and Switzerland remains a significant investor, with Swiss companies creating around 10,000 jobs in the UAE alone,â he said, adding that more than 200 companies Swiss operate in the UAE.
Official talks on bilateral relations and global issues Parmelin, who arrived in Dubai on Thursday evening for a three-day official visit, met with His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president of Dubai, vice-president on Friday. Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, at the Swiss Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai.
The president will also meet with other senior Emirati officials “to discuss how we can deepen an already very strong relationship, especially in business and investment.”
Bilateral talks will also cover global issues such as climate change, including the urgency of ambitious climate action by each country and the need to agree at the next UN climate conference in Glasgow ( COP26) on a solid rulebook under the Paris Agreement, he revealed.
“I think there are various areas where we could support dialogue and cooperation in the region. The UAE is an important and influential player in the Middle East and North Africa. Therefore, we regularly discuss together political developments in the wider region, including what is happening in Afghanistan, âhe said.
“We aim to intensify these exchanges by 2023, when the United Arab Emirates and – hopefully – Switzerland as well, will be members of the UN Security Council.”
The Expo is unique He attended the official Swiss National Day at Expo 2020 on Friday. “The Swiss pavilion is a unique architectural experience and I hope that many Emiratis will come and see it for themselves.”
The Expo is unique because it is the first of its kind to be held in the Middle East, noted Parmelin.
âSecond, it takes place at a very special time and essentially offers the first real opportunity to meet people from all over the world on a large scale since the start of the pandemic,â he said, adding that he would also offer a chance to increase bilateral cooperation on issues related to education, research and innovation.
“United Arab Emirates reminds me of Switzerland” This is his first official visit to the United Arab Emirates. “I can only say that I am impressed. What this country has accomplished in the last 50 years barely since its founding deserves praise and admiration. I see a country that is both modern and open to the world and which at the same time cherishes time its traditions and culture.As such, the United Arab Emirates reminds me of Switzerland.
He welcomed the UAE’s National Climate Change Plan with its overarching strategic priorities which include the âUAE’s Net Zero Strategic Initiative by 2050â, a national initiative to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, making the Emirates the first country in the MENA region to do so. .
âAt the same time, all our efforts must be focused on achieving the global targets set for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Given the negative impact of COVID-19 on the situation of economic growth, financing the transition to clean energy has become a greater challenge, âhe stressed.
Switzerland will host a hydropower conference in Geneva in autumn 2022, on the theme of financing, the president said.
Farmer turned president, Parmelin, 61, had a university education in agriculture and worked as a farmer.
“It influenced me, it is my identity. My education and my previous work as a farmer taught me one thing above all: you have to be rooted in the land from which you come to advance in the future with serenity and confidence. Also, you can only reap if you have sown on time, “he explained.