UAE, Austria issue Joint Declaration on Comprehensive Strategic Partnership

VIENNA, 29th July, 2021 (WAM) — His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and Sebastian Kurz, Federal Chancellor of the Republic of Austria, today attended the signing of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between the UAE and Austria.

This came as part of a Joint Declaration made by the two countries, which reaffirms their commitment to expanding their relations and launching a new stage of cooperation to achieve their shared goals and drive growth in their countries.

The Comprehensive Strategic Partnership agreement was signed by Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, and Alexander Schallenberg, Austria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, in the presence of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan; Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Airports; Mohamed Mubarak Al Mazrouei, Under-Secretary of the Crown Prince Court of Abu Dhabi, Ibrahim Salem Al Musharakh, UAE Ambassador to Austria, Mag. Gernot Blumel, Austria’s Minister of Finance, and Dr. Margarete Schramböck, Minister for Digital and Economic Affairs.

Below is the full text of the Joint Declaration:The Government of the United Arab Emirates and the Government of the Republic of Austria; building upon the strong, friendly, and long-standing relationship between both countries, taking into consideration the common objectives and shared interests of both governments, on the occasion of the official visit of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to Vienna, where he met with Sebastian Kurz, Federal Chancellor of the Republic of Austria, reaffirm that relations between the UAE and Austria have witnessed significant progress during the past few years. These relations are built on mutual trust, respect, and shared interests to ensure continued development and prosperity for the people of both countries.

This common purpose is underpinned by the understanding that both countries, as strong and trusting partners, are committed to promote the security, stability, and prosperity of their respective regions.

Kurz and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan held further discussions and exchanged views on the latest international developments, regional security as well as exploring ways to increase political, economic, humanitarian, and cultural cooperation between the two countries.

Pursuant to the Agreements and Memoranda of Understanding, signed between the two countries since the establishment of their relations, and building upon the shared successful legacy of existing bilateral ties, the two leaders envisage to elevate the bilateral relationship between the two countries to the level of a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, with the aim of deepening existing areas of cooperation, and developing new avenues of collaboration.

The foundation of such a Partnership has already been laid during their first meeting in Abu Dhabi in April 2018, further reviews and updates were made during their second meeting in March 2019, whereas the framework of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership has now been completed and will enable the United Arab Emirates and the Republic of Austria to advance their cooperation in fields of mutual strategic interest, including in the areas of Political, Diplomatic, Security and International Cooperation, Economy, Trade, the Establishment of a Direct Investment and Business-to-Business Partnership, Industry, Infrastructure, Science, Science-to-Business Partnership and Advanced Technology, Energy, Hydrogen, Food Security, Tourism, Education and Culture.

Areas of Focused Cooperation

Both countries share the view that enhancing bilateral collaboration in the areas listed below will bring mutual benefits to the common interests of the two countries, and have identified them as priority areas for focused cooperation.

Political, Diplomatic, and International Cooperation

Both countries envisage to strengthen their political dialogue and diplomatic consultations, by increasing the frequency of high-level visits and diplomatic exchanges, and by establishing shared bilateral priorities and agendas.

Both countries reaffirm their commitment to a rules-based international order with the United Nations at its core and will explore opportunities for cooperation in multilateral institutions, including the United Nations, to promote and strengthen effective multilateralism, including the promotion of tolerance and human rights.

Both countries envisage to work together in facilitating efforts to promote tolerance, combat international crime, extremism and terrorism, and to jointly work on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Both countries also envisage to explore cooperation in their humanitarian aid and relief efforts and will look into opportunities for exchange of views in international development in areas of common interest in developing countries and regions.

Economy, Energy, Trade, Direct Investment and Sectoral Partnerships

Both countries envisage to establish a closer economic relationship and work to remove regulatory obstacles and develop a more enabling environment for businesses in order to encourage a significant boost to the flow of trade and investment over the next five years. A key instrument for strengthening bilateral economic relations continues to be the bilateral Joint Commission on Economic, Industrial and Technical Cooperation set up by mutual agreement and signed on March 11th, 1976.

Expo 2020 Dubai

Both countries agreed to leverage Expo 2020 Dubai that will take place from Oct 1st 2021- March 31st 2022 in Dubai, under the theme “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”, for creating and strengthening long lasting bilateral business-to-business partnerships.

The two sides envisage to increase mutual investments and to expand cooperation. Both countries stand out as regional hubs and starting points for introducing products on highly affluent markets, where rapid expansion is possible. In order to keep increasing investments that create broad-based growth, both sides wish to shape the underlying conditions to make their business locations even more attractive. They also affirm their commitment to facilitating increased business exchanges among small, medium and large enterprises of the two countries, by setting a framework for a High-Level Joint Business-to-Business Industrial and Investment Partnership.

An increasing demand of qualified workers on the one hand and rapidly evolving and changing skills and competences due to digitalisation, sustainability, industry 4.0 but also globalisation on the other hand are present challenges for skills development, which will be tackled now. Therefore, both countries envisage to cooperate in the field of Vocational Education and Training (VET), with a focus on company-based training in order to support future needs of skilled workers for the economy. The involvement of Austrian companies with branches in UAE could support this in a fruitful way.

Both countries will pursue opportunities of collaboration to facilitate the exchange of best economic practices and knowledge, provide support for capacity building and development of an innovation-based sustainable economy, further broaden trade mutual support and collaboration in the sector of infrastructure projects.

Leveraging on the existing visa waiver agreement, the UAE and Austria will increase their cooperation in the tourism sector, and coordinate their sectoral policies by encouraging relevant institutions to sharing research, data, and market insights.

Both countries highlight the importance of information and communication technologies and the digitalisation of the public as well as the private sector and envisage to cooperate and to exchange best practice examples in this area.

They are also committed on working together to advance their industrial partnerships, with a focus on 4IR technologies.

Against the background of the need to fulfil international goals to combat climate change under the Paris Agreement and building on the advancement of their current and existing partnerships,
both countries intend to increase collaboration in petrochemicals and the oil and gas industry across the whole value chain. They also envisage to strengthen their cooperation in the field of renewable energy, including solar and wind, and, in particular, to explore possibilities for collaboration in areas of hydrogen-based energy, and other innovative energy technologies, in energy efficiency and conservation, as well as sharing technical knowledge, skills and expertise.

Both sides intend to set up a bilateral Hydrogen Alliance consisting in particular of the members of the Abu Dhabi Hydrogen Alliance and the private sector key players of Austria, setting up a framework of collaboration with respect to finance, research and development of new technologies, Export and trade.

Education and Culture

Both countries envisage to enhance cooperation in the field of arts, culture and heritage and increase ties between their education, academic and research organisations, increase cooperation on sports and youth engagements, and promote joint investments in the entertainment and creative industries in both Austria and the UAE.

They also envisage to promote increased people-to-people exchanges, especially youth exchange, with the purpose of fostering mutual understanding between both societies, engaging in cross-cultural dialogue, and strengthening cooperation in joint cultural programs between the two countries.

Building on their existing partnership in the field of Special Olympics, both sides envisage to collaborate on strategies for disabled people that aim to ensure equal rights and opportunities for all members of their societies.

Health

In light of the Corona pandemic, both countries stressed their commitment to strengthening international cooperation to counter the pandemic through sharing best practices, in addition to the scientific cooperation and to providing emergency medical supplies to countries in need.

Both countries envisage to enhance cooperation in the field of health and medical cooperation, to increase ties between their relevant authorities, hospitals, medical universities and colleges, and to increase cooperation on health courses and programs, and promote joint Medical R&D in both Austria and the UAE. They also envisage to promote medical investments in both countries especially medical and pharmaceutical industries.

Implementation of the Strategic Comprehensive Partnership

This Joint Declaration marks the start of a new and dynamic phase in the bilateral relationship between the United Arab Emirates and the Republic of Austria.

In this regard, the leaders intend to appoint Ministers from both sides to overlook the implementation of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, in particular the work of an Intergovernmental Cooperation Committee, which will ensure the coordination and cooperation between all relevant stakeholders and institutions under each area of focus and to jointly prepare an annual progress report covering all Areas of Focused Cooperation.

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