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  Middle East & Africa
Tunisian Press Highlights Visit of Sheikh Abdullah

Tunisian President Zine Al-Abidine Ben Ali(right)meets with visiting UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan at his office in Tunis on Feb. 4.

TUNIS(WAM)-Tunisian newspapers have covered the visit paid by UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan to Tunisia.

Al Sahafa daily, an official local newspaper said that "the relations between Tunisia and the UAE are witnessing progress in the fields of communications, exchange of visits and striking agreements in many sectors."

It added that the recent years witnessed execution of huge investment projects in fields of infrastructure, tourism, construction, investment and others.

The Tunisian press agreed that the reception of Tunisian President Zine Al Abidine bin Ali to Sheikh Abdullah "reflects the joint will of two leaderships to boost the bilateral relations in political, economic, social and educational spheres.

It also shows significant care given by the UAE to investment in Tunisia through setting up joint projects."

The papers added that the progress in the relations depicts keen follow up of Tunisian President and UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan to upgrade the relations towards ambitious level of the two peoples.

The press referred to the 'Rose Country' project, which will be executed by the UAE International Investment Company Al Maabar in Tunisian city of Ariana. It is an integrated commercial, tourism, sport and health project.

They quoted Sheikh Abdullah after meeting the Tunisian head of state as saying, "The UAE will continue boosting relations with Tunisia on private and public sector levels."

During his recent visit to Tunisia, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates, conveyed to Tunisian President Zine Al-Abidine Ben Ali
regards of President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan
on Feb. 4 .
He also discussed the bilateral relations between the two countries and the best ways to further enhance them.

Sheikh Abdullah hailed the role of the Tunisian president in boosting ties between the two sisterly countries , especially his support for UAE investments in Tunisia.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan explained about the investment project, Bilad Al Ward, planned to be carried out by Al Maabar investment group.
Al Maabar is a UAE company which has been jointly formed by Abu Dhabi-based real estate developer Aldar Properties, Al Qudra Real Estate, Sorouh Real Estate, Al Reem Investments and Al Reem International.

The said project, which includes hotels, shopping centers and sports compound, will be at Ariana neighborhood near the capital city Tunis.
The UAE has become the major Arab investor in Tunisia pumping private investment in the tune of over US$ 20 billion in 2006 and 2007, according to Tunisian Foreign Minister Abdul Wahab Abdullah.
He described the UAE private sector investment in Tunisia as a model for investment cooperation in the Arab World.

"The Southern Lake project of Sama Dubai, Tunis Sports City of Bukahter Group and stake of Tecom Dig in Tunis Telecom's capital stand today as a living testimony of the qualitative breakthrough the UAE investment have made in Tunisia,'" the Tunisian minister told the Emirates News Agency (WAM).

'"More UAE investors and businessmen have shown interest to invest in various fields including oil, tourism, transport and agriculture,"'he added.

'"The outlook of bilateral ties is promising in all domains under the strong political determination of leaders in the UAE and Tunisia,"'he said.

According to him, economic gains made by the two countries will provide a solid foundation for a constructive economic partnership.

Trade exchange, he noted, posted a marked growth as Tunisia's exports to the UAE rose to 45 million Dinar in 2007 from 22 million Dinar in 2006 while imports dropped from 54 million in 2006 to 46.6 million in 2007.

In the meantime, the UAE-Tunisian joint committee concluded on Feb.4 its fifth session by signing a number of cooperation agreements including memos of understanding on customs cooperation and exchanging two plots of land in UAE and Tunisia for building embassies for the two countries.

The two sides signed also cooperation protocols in the fields of religious affairs, general and higher education domains besides cooperation agreements in the fields of media and sports and youth.

UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and his Tunisian counterpart Abdul Wahab Abdullah signed the agreements.

Sheikh Abdullah expressed his appreciation for the important outcome of the session, pointing out the significance of the agreements between the two sides on forming a joint committee to follow up the implementation of the matters agreed on.He also stressed the importance of conducting periodical meetings for this committee.

Sheikh Abdullah expressed his hope that he would see the Tunisian foreign minister soon in Abu Dhabi.

UAE-Tunisia ties go beyond conventional boundaries

UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan said he was satisfied with the outcome of the fifth meeting of the joint Emarati-Tunisian higher committee which wrapped up its works on Monday in the Tunisian capital Tunis.

"The committee has produced good and positive results in further bolstering the already strong bilateral ties and opened up new vista for joint cooperation in several fields, Sheikh Abdullah told the Agence Tunis Afrique presse (TAP).

Sheikh Abdullah added the committee was guided in its works by the sound directives of UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and his Tunisian counterpart Zine el Abidine Ben Ali and their sincere desire to strengthen bilateral ties to serve mutual interest of the two brotherly peoples.

The UAE foreign minister indicated that the joint higher committee has gone beyond the traditional frameworks of bilateral work to open up new avenues of cooperation in tandem with the prerequisites of the modern time.

He explained that the new fields of joint cooperation would cover renewable sources of energy (winds and solar energy), science, technology, communications and other sectors that will tap human resources and expertise of the two countries.

The minister noted that the governments of the UAE and Tunisia have undertaken over the recent years a series of huge investment projects in infrastructure, tourism and construction.

Investment by private sector investors and businessmen, he continued, has been flowing heavily mainly following the recent visit made by Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to Tunisia.

According to Sheikh Abdullah, Sheikh Mohammed's trip was a milestone in the history of the two countries' brotherly relations as it gave them a big boost.

'"We encourage and support any trend for forging feasible economic and commercial partnership with Tunisia and exchange of expertise in both countries in order to make better use of available resources and potentials,'" Sheikh Abdullah said, stressing the importance of reinvigorating bilateral cooperation through the UAE-Tunisia Business Council.

Referring to the Bilad Al Word (Rose Country) project to be carried out by the UAE Al Maabar group in the Ariana area, a suburb in the capital Tunis, the UAE foreign minister hoped it would be the building block and a trailblazer for the UAE mixed purpose investment in Tunisia.

Speaking about his talks with the Tunisian head of state Zine el Abidine Ben Ali , Sheikh Abdullah said he has sensed the deep gratitude and respect the Tunisian president harbours for the leadership, government and people of the UAE and his interest and keenness to expand bilateral relations of cooperation and partnership.

"'I have conveyed the best wishes of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan to president Zine el Abidine Ben Ali and his strong willingness to enhance bilateral ties in economic, trade, educational and cultural domains.

Sheikh Abdullah added that extensive talks he conducted with his Tunisian counterpart Abdul Wahab Abdullah were constructive.

"'We have exchanged views on a wide-range of issues on the Arab World and latest developments at regional and international scene.We also conferred on topics of mutual interest,"Sheikh Abdullah concluded.(Emirates News Agency, WAM)

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