President Nicos Anastasiades gets his official four-day visit to the United Arab Emirates underway today as he looks to open more investment opportunities for the island’s beleaguered economy.
With Cyprus having recently strengthened its relations with United States, the EU and, more crucially, Israel, the head of state’s visit to both Abu Dhabi and then later Dubai is seen by many analysts as a reminder by the Cypriot government that it has not turned its back on the Arab world.
Cyprus also continues to have strong ties with both Russia – a major investor on the island – and China.
During his visit to both cities, the President will meet influential political, royal and business figures as efforts continue to boost the island’s static economy by means of foreign investment.
This weekend, President Anastasiades described the visit as being within “the framework of our efforts for further investments, utilising our friendly relations with Arab states, irrespective of the multilevel new foreign policy we have drafted”.
The president is set to dine with entrepreneurs and business officials in Abu Dhabi tonight while tomorrow morning he will meet with Abdul-Rahman al-Ghamdi, who is the General Manager of the Arab Monetary Fund, before then holding talks with the Executive Director of investment and development company ‘Mubadala’, Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak.
A dinner at the Mushrif Palace will take place later in the evening where he will be greeted by the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
His busy day will also include meetings with the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) director Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
On Wednesday, the President will travel to Dubai where he will first visit the Tomb of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan - the founder and first president of the UAW, who died in 2004 and is buried in a small courtyard close to the mosque.
He will later meet the Cyprus Business Forum in Dubai and Abu Dhabi where he will make a speech before then holding talks with Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum who is the president of the Department of Civil Aviation, CEO and chairman of The Emirates Group and Chairman of Dubai World.
Later in the evening he will sit down for talks with Emaar, a global property developer and provider of premier lifestyle.
Apart from the First Lady, the President will be accompanied by Finance Minister Haris Georgiades, Energy Minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis, Undersecretary to the President Constantinos Petrides, Foreign Ministry Permanent Secretary Alexandros Zenon and the Director of the President’s Diplomatic Office Nicos Christodoulides.
He is set to return to Cyprus on Thursday.