BRUSSELS – Sulaiman Almazroui, Ambassador of the UAE to the Kingdom of Belgium and the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg, Head of Mission to the European Union, last evening hosted a reception to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the National day of the United Arab Emirates.
Hundreds of participants gathered in the prestigious Museum of Fine Arts in Brussels to celebrate the Spirit of the Union, including Nabil Al Arabi, Secretary General of the Arab League, ministers, ambassadors, high ranking officials and representatives of the business community.
In his welcoming speech, the UAE Ambassador paid homage to the late Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the Founding President of the Nation, and his basic principles which still guide the tremendous development of the UAE. He highlighted some of the iconic achievements of the country and the permanent efforts to realize the dream of national unity and prosperity under the directives of the UAE’s leadership.
Ambassador Almazroui spoke on the outstanding relations between the Emirates and Belgium, one of the first countries to have established diplomatic relations with the UAE in the wake of the creation of the Federation. Cooperation has been growing ever since in many fields, including health care, cultural exchanges and, most importantly, economic partnerships, he stressed.
Belgian companies indeed participated in the realization of several major projects in the Emirates, such as Burj Khalifa, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and The Palm, while leading Emirati companies found their way to the Belgian market as well, including DP World as an important investor and operator in the Port of Antwerp. Trade exchanges between the two countries are on the rise, and Belgian exports to the Emirates grew from 1.45 billion euros in 2009 to 1.67 billion euros in 2010, while imports into Belgium from the UAE evolved from 926 million euros in 2009 to 1.5 billion euros last year. The UAE is now the first export market for Belgian products in the Arab world, and ranks second among the Arab suppliers, the Ambassador noted.
Rudi Thomaes, Managing Director of the Belgian Business Federation, felicitated the UAE on the occasion of the 40th anniversary and hailed the strong relations between the business communities of both countries.
The commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the UAE coincided with an exhibition in the Fine Arts Museum of works of art by 13 talented Emirati artists, showcasing the artistic and cultural development of the Emiratis and representing a valuable contribution to the exchange of ideas and impressions in The Spirit of the Union.