Sat 25-02-2017 23:01 PM

UAE-Kenya Joint Ministerial Committee holds second meeting in Abu Dhabi

ABU DHABI, 25th February, 2017 (WAM) -- The UAE and Kenya signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Saturday for creating a joint committee on consular affairs between and the UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation and the Kenyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, at the end of the second meeting of the UAE-Kenya Joint Higher Ministerial Committee in Abu Dhabi.

The Kenyan representatives presented officials documents regarding the implementation of the "Agreement on Avoidance of Double Taxation on Income", signed on 21st November 2011. The two countries will also finalise procedures to facilitate the implementation of the "Agreement on Protection and Encouragement of Bilateral Investment", signed on 23rd November 2014, in the next few days. UAE officials then signed the minutes of the meeting.

The UAE is looking forward to expanding its co-operation with Kenya in a wide range of sectors, including trade and investments, as well as constructive partnerships in food security, energy, retail trade, infrastructure, transport, logistical services and agriculture, said Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashemi, Minister of State for International Co-operation, in her welcome address to the meeting, which she co-chaired with Amina Mohammed, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kenya, in the presence of senior officials and government and private sector representatives from both countries.

''The meeting provided a fitting opportunity for UAE and Kenyan officials to communicate with each other and discuss methods to deepen understanding, and review what has been achieved so far, and plan for greater joint co-operation,'' Al Hashemi said.

''With non-oil trade exchange between the two countries rising by 11 percent from US$741 million in 2014 to $823 million in 2015. It is important to note this positive growth in trade exchange, though under expectations, which calls us to explore the prospects for increasing trade through expanding partnerships between the public and private sectors to advance joint economic relations,'' she added.

Highlighting the important role of the aviation sector in increasing bilateral trade and investments, Al Hashemi urged civil aviation authorities in both countries to implement the legal framework for air traffic and explore the possibilities of co-operation between national air carriers in code sharing systems and third parties. According to the Air Traffic Agreement, signed by both countries on 26th August 1989, national air carriers will operate 30 passenger and cargo flights weekly between both countries.

Regarding 2020 Dubai, she said the UAE looks forward to active Kenyan participation in the international event, which provides a key platform for forging economic and cultural partnerships.

Politically, the UAE welcomed the UN Security Council Resolution No. 2268 on cessation of hostilities in Syria to pave the way for unfettered delivery of humanitarian assistance to besieged areas so as to improve living conditions of the Syrian people.

Al Hahsemi said the UAE hoped for a resumption of Geneva 3 peace talks in the nearest time so as to stoop bloodshed and find a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis.

On Yemen, the UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation stressed the importance of full commitment to supporting constitutional legitimacy, respecting the sovereignty and independence of Yemen and refraining from interference in its internal affairs.

''The UAE is for a political solution in Yemen that is based on the legitimacy umbrella, GCC Initiative, the Riyadh Declaration, outcomes of the National Dialogue, Arab League's relevant resolutions and UN Security Resolution 2216,'' she affirmed.

The UAE, she said, backed efforts being made by the UN Peace Envoy for Yemen to find a political settlement to the crisis in Yemen.

Regionally, the minister underscored the UAE's absolute rejection of Iran's flagrant interference in the internal affairs of Arab countries which threaten their security and stability and stir trouble and sedition among people of one country. He called Iran to immediately stop these interferences, observe principles of good neighbourliness, and respect the sovereignty, independence and particularity of each state.

The minister renewed the UAE's call for Iran to respond positively to its peaceful, sincere initiatives to reach a peaceful solution to the issue of the UAE's three islands - Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa - either through direct bilateral negotiations or referring the case to international arbitration.