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United Arab Emirates

Volume 455: debated on Thursday 18 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when the first round of talks between the UK and the United Arab Emirates on regional security will take place; how often such meetings will be held; at which ministerial level the UK will be represented; and whether any other countries will be involved. (116186)

Exchanges with our partners in the United Arab Emirates on regional security have long been an important element of our dialogue, at both ministerial and official level. But in view of the importance of our relationship with them, we have decided to put even more resource into this element and will now be holding regular, dedicated talks on the subject. At this stage we have yet to decide on which Minister will attend the talks, but hope to hold the first round in March/April in Abu Dhabi.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the Government intend to hold talks on regional security with countries in the Gulf in addition to those to be held with the United Arab Emirates. (116187)

Exchanges on regional security are an integral part of our dialogue with all our partners in the region. We naturally envisage that such exchanges will continue. Equally, naturally their precise format may vary according to the circumstances of the day and the partner concerned.

NATO, of which the UK is a member, offers individual co-operation to Gulf states under their Istanbul Co-operation Initiative. The UK will, with effect from 11 February 2007, be acting as NATO’s contact point through our embassy in Bahrain for the period 2007-09.