Minister Schwarzenberg in the Persian Gulf and Yemen
27.05.2013 / 14:34
First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Karel Schwarzenberg paid a visit to Saudi Arabia, Yemen and the United Arab Emirates on May 18-23, 2013.
In Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the Minister met the Crown Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, First Deputy Minister and Minister of Defence of Saudi Arabia, whom he invited to visit the Czech Republic, with Saud al Faisal, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and with Abdulaziz bin Abdullah, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.
„In Saudi Arabia we discussed the general situation in the Middle East. I was interested in Saudi Crown Prince´s opinion, as well as the one of the Foreign Minister and his Deputy, on situation in the region, first of all in Syria and the development in Iran. Our effort to help the Czech entrepreneurs to local markets was another important issue," said Minister Schwarzenberg.
He also held talks with Tawif Al Rabiah, the Minister of Trade and Industry and Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Rabiah, the Minister of Health.
Strenghtening of the political and trade relations was the main goal of the Minister´s visit of Saudi Arabia which offers the biggest market in the region. Minister Schwarzenberg together with the Saudi Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs also signed a Memorandum of Understanding to cooperate more closely and make regular consultations.
As usually, the Minister Schwarzenberg was accompanied by a numerous delegation of Czech businessmen who had networked on the Entrepreneurs´ Forum.
On Monday, June 20 the Minister continued to Yemen. He supported the effort of the National dialogue and acknowledged the reforms achieved. He also opened the Honorary Consulate of the Czech Republic in Sana´a with Abdo Al-Ahwal as the Honorary Consul.
In Sana´a, the Minister Schwarzenberg opened an Entrepreneurs´ Forum. He was received by the President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, the Prime Minister Mohammed Basindawa and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Abu-Bakr Al-Qirbi.
He acknowledged the Yemen government´s attempts for political transformation and reform of, first of all, the security and defence bodies. He stressed the necessity to finish successfully the Yemeni National dialogue which is to be closed in autumn this year and goes within political parties, religious fractions and tribes.
"Our good relations last about 90 years and good friends usually visit each other in difficult times, too. I can see that the effort to stabilise the situation has been successful, as well as to make reforms on the level of interior affairs and defence, and the state as such. I would like to congratulate you on this as we know from our experience that it is not an easy job to reform," said the Minister Schwarzenberg.
The Czech Minister is only the third Foreign Minister from EU country who had visited Yemen in the last years. Also, the only one to bring a business delegation with him. Yemen is a long term important foreign political issue for the Czech Republic, member of the Friends of Yemen group.
United Arab Emirates was the last country of Minister Schwarzenberg´s visit. Emirates is the most significant Arabian business partner of the Czech Republic.
The Minister was received by Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, the ruler of Ras Al Khaimah together with his family, administration representatives, leading businessmen and directors of local associations incl. the chamber of commerce, tourist agency and investment office.
The discussion was held on a better support of the good level of economic cooperation development. Mr Al Qasimi stressed the convenient environment for investments and entrepreneurship start-up, which the Minister Schwarzenberg acknowledged.
The Czech Minister can see the space for not only the economic cooperation, but also for political consultations with regards to a balanced UAE politics within the Middle East region.
Later in Abu Dhabi, the Minister Schwarzenberg met his counterpart Abdullah Al Nahyan, son of the UAE founder. They talked about the current view of the conflict in Syria and the Iranian nuclear programme development which, both partners had agreed, represents a danger for the region.
The Czech Republic is interested in a long-term development of the trade and economic relationship with the UAE. Minister Schwarzenberg provided his counterpart with a list of investment opportunities in the Czech Republic, recently requested by the Emirates side.
Minister Schwarzenberg also met the Czech compatriot community, among them the football players Jozef Chovanec and Horst Siegel who work in UAE as football coaches.
Later, the Minister opened the Entrepreneurs Forum in the seat of Chamber of Commerce. Emirates are the biggest business partner of the Czech Republic in the Arab-speaking region. Czech export to UAE within the last five years has reached more than USD 500 mil annually.