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Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashemy, Minister of State for International Cooperation, visited Australia from 3rd to 5th May, 2023, with the aim of enhancing cooperation between the two countries in the political, economic, and trade fields. The Minister visited Sydney, Canberra, Adelaide, and Brisbane.
During the visit, Al Hashemy met with Richard Marles, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence of Australia, to discuss ways to strengthen advanced relations between the two countries, review ways to elevate ties, and develop investment and economic opportunities.
The two sides praised relations between the two countries in various fields and reaffirmed the keenness of the leaderships of the two countries to further strengthen ties, especially in the economic and trade fields, and achieve new levels of growth and prosperity to serve the aspirations and future-oriented visions of the two countries.
Al Hashemy met with Penny Wong, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, wherein the two ministers discussed mutual interests between the two countries in an effort to ensure stability, security, and prosperity for future generations. The two officials also reviewed a number of issues of common interest, as well as developments at the regional and international levels, and exchanged views on them.
She also met with Don Farrell, Australian Minister for Trade and Tourism, with whom she discussed joint cooperation in various economic and trade fields, including renewable, technological, and digital energy.
Farrell praised the significant role played by UAE airlines in promoting tourism, trade, and foreign direct investment between the two countries. He discussed with Al Hashemy plans to develop this important aspect of bilateral relations, as she stated that the number of flights between the two countries stands at 56 per week and that more than 230,000 Australian tourists visited the UAE in 2022. Both officials expressed their aspiration to increase the number of flights between the two countries.
During her meetings with members of the UAE-Australia Business Council and a group of businesspeople, Al Hashemy stressed the need to continue exploring promising commercial and investment opportunities in the markets of both countries to build additional business partnerships. She underscored the importance of bolstering channels of communication between both countries' business communities to widen economic cooperation and increase trade exchange in the coming period. She remarked that bilateral trade amounted to US$ 3.5 billion in 2021 and noted that she was looking forward to raising this number in the near future.
Furthermore, Al Hashemy highlighted the importance of the private sector in reinforcing economic cooperation between the UAE and Australia, which will benefit both countries.
During her visit to the capital, Canberra, Al Hashemy held a meeting with a group of high-ranking officials in the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to discuss bilateral cooperation in joint files, in addition to ways to enhance relations in the political, economic, trade, and scientific fields, as well as exchange views on regional and international issues of common interest.
At the Australian National University (ANU), She delivered a speech on the UAE's efforts to enhance global consensus in preparation for its hosting of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28). In the presence of various officials, academics, experts, entrepreneurs, and students from the university, as well as students from Pacific Island nations--one of the regions of the world hit hardest by climate change--Al Hashemy discussed issues related to climate change. She stressed the need to coordinate an urgent and comprehensive response to climate action and noted the importance of concerted efforts by the international community and the role of business leaders, civil society, the scientific community, and youth.
Al Hashemy expressed her aspiration for Australia to participate in COP28, which will be held in November at Expo City Dubai. In this context, she said, "The UAE, in its pioneering role in combating the climate crisis, was inspired by the vision of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who sensed the importance of protecting the environment from carbon emissions and urged the need to find a solution to flaring gas at a time when this issue was not known."
She stated that the UAE was one of the first countries to adopt a comprehensive approach to combating climate change not only as an environmental challenge, but as a way of life that contributes to achieving prosperity and ensuring a decent life for all.
Moreover, Al Hashemy met with Annastacia Palaszczuk, Premier of Queensland, and discussed with her ways to enhance trade, investment, and tourism cooperation. She also visited the Brisbane Business Centre, which is a growth incubator for entrepreneurs, where she learned about its role in supporting female entrepreneurs. In this regard, Al Hashemy was acquainted with a number of local companies operating in knowledge-based future economy sectors centering on innovation and artificial intelligence. Ways to create cities that host international events and a strategy to support entrepreneurs in vital cities were also discussed.
As Brisbane is preparing to host the Olympics and Paralympics in 2032, Al Hashemy exchanged experiences with the Australian side regarding the UAE's hosting of Expo 2020 Dubai.
At the end of her visit, Reem Al Hashemy commended bilateral relations and the bonds of friendship between the two countries and expressed her aspiration to enhance them further in order to reach new horizons of fruitful cooperation in all fields.
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