Thu 29-07-2021 11:40 AM
VIENNA, 29th July, 2021 (WAM) -- The Federal Chancellor of Austria, Sebastian Kurz, has welcomed the visit of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, scheduled for today, saying that the "visit of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince is a source of great pleasure and honour for us".
The Austrian Chancellor stated that this visit is an important phase in strengthening and consolidating ties between the two countries, which witnessed great developments in recent years.
In an exclusive interview with the Emirates News Agency (WAM), Chancellor Kurz expressed his admiration and appreciation for the UAE's development in all sectors, which he witnessed during his two official visits to the UAE.
"The UAE is one of our most important partners in the Arab region," he stressed, adding that "it is Austria's most important economic partner in the Arab World," he said.
He pointed out that the Austrian direct investments in the UAE exceeded €7 billion, noting that, "boosting the relations between Austria and the UAE to a strategic partnership is a logical thing that will bring benefits to both countries".
Chancellor Kurz shed light on the positive outcomes that he expected to benefit both countries after the signing of the strategic cooperation agreement between them. "With the upgrade of bilateral relations to the level of strategic partnership, we now have the opportunity to make these relations even closer, especially in the areas of politics, business, education, culture and youth exchange," he stated.
He pointed out that his country pays special attention to enhancing its ties with the UAE and strengthening the strategic partnership, noting that Alexander Schallenberg, Austrian Foreign Minister, is working closely with Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, to execute the strategic partnership.
On his expectations regarding the opportunities to enhance economic and trade relations between the two countries, the Austrian Chancellor said, "There are many opportunities to expand our economic relations, especially in the field of renewable energy sources and hydrogen technology," thanks to the UAE's interest in modern innovations and future technologies.
He pointed out that the Austrian "OMV" group already has very good experiences with the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC).
Chancellor Kurz highlighted opportunities to enhance future cooperation between Austria and the UAE in the field of clean energy, and said, "We strive to work more closely together, especially in the field of renewable energies and hydrogen." He added that there are many companies in Austria and the UAE that have a lot of experience and knowledge in this field.
He explained that the Austrian Embassy in the UAE supports this sector and seeks to find joint projects in this field, aiming to establish a "hydrogen alliance" between the UAE and Austria.
Asked about the importance of Austria's participation in Expo 2020 Dubai, Chancellor Kurz said, "Participation in the exhibition is very important for Austria, which is visible with the number of high-level visitors from Austria to the exhibition."
"For us, the exhibition is an opportunity to present Austria as a centre for innovation, green technology and the digital economy," he said, noting that the Austrian pavilion provides an ideal platform for more than 50 innovative and digital solutions from companies working in the fields of climate protection, digitalisation, life sciences, mobility, and sustainability.
On the extent of both countries' consensus in the views and positions on important international and regional issues, Chancellor Kurz said, "We work closely together at the level of foreign policy, and we have great interest in achieving stability and economic development in the Arab region," adding that, "we are strongly working to strengthen pluralism, and also relations with Israel".
He stressed the need to combat violent extremism, and emphasised the importance of "strongly relying on the exchange of best practices between the two countries."
Asked about Austria's vision for the Middle East in light of recent developments related to the Abraham Accords, the peace agreements between some Arab countries and Israel," Chancellor Kurz said, "We look at peace agreements between Israel and Arab countries very positively," pointing out that the two sides could benefit from closer cooperation, ensuring more stability and security in the Middle East.
He expressed his hope that other Arab countries would follow the UAE's example.