The Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the Netherlands, H.E. Mr. Jamal Jama Al Musharakh, explained to Diplomat Magazine Publisher Dr. Mayelinne De Lara the priorities of his mandate. While the two countries already enjoy a solid, multifaceted partnership, the Ambassador plans to further expand cooperation across a wide range of sectors.
Ambassador, how do you assess the current state of the relations between your country and the Netherlands?
The partnership between the UAE and the Netherlands is a multifaceted one, and it is in constant evolution. As the world changes, so do the priorities of both the UAE and the Netherlands, meaning that bilateral ties today focus on different topics as compared to 20 years ago. Today, our bilateral ties see a major focus on topics such as sustainability, climate change and energy. These topics were at the core of the Dutch pavilion at Expo 2020, which focused on the nexus of water, energy and food. Moreover, our Minister of Climate Change and Environment, H.E. Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, recently led a visit by a large Emirati delegation to the Netherlands. The visit was a great opportunity to discuss issues of common interest, such as climate change, food and water security, as well as agri-tech. The visit also served as a springboard for discussing potential partnerships with Dutch institutions, so as to further strengthen our cooperation in these fields.
All these developments come on the backdrop of an already solid relation between the UAE and the Netherlands. Investment between the two countries is flourishing, spanning across a wide range of sectors including construction, energy and farming. Business to business relations are strong, as are people to people ties. Crucially, the UAE has been an important platform for Dutch businesses interested in doing business not only with the UAE itself, but also with other countries in the region. There is also an upcoming joint economic committee meeting on the horizon.
As your mandate begins, what are your priorities for the next years?
The main priority is to build upon the existing relations and take them to a next level – to go beyond the status quo, beyond business as usual, even beyond existing expectations. There are tremendous avenues of cooperation that need to be explored, and we plan to do it with all of our energy. Climate-related topics are surely set to remain at the center of the agenda, given their interest to both the UAE and the Netherlands, as well as to the whole international community. The UAE will be hosting next year’s COP, and the Netherlands has already expressed its willingness to work on important issues in this regard.
In addition, we want to expand ties in other fields too. The cultural angle, for instance, is very important to us. We are keen to know more about Dutch culture and arts, which are very rich and diverse. We would also love the Netherlands to know more about us, beyond what can be read in a textbook. Expanding people to people ties, including students’ opportunities for exchanges, is always a good avenue in this regard, as there are many programs offered in English.
How do Emirati-Dutch relations fit into the broader framework of the UAE’s foreign policy?
The partnership developed with the Netherlands reflects the vision of our leadership in the UAE and the priorities of our ministers. There are a wide range of topics that we deem very important, and hence we assign specific ministries to them. Look, for instance, at the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, the Ministry of Culture and Youth, or the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology. These topics are not only our domestic priorities, but also the cornerstones of our partnerships with other countries, including the Netherlands.
These partnerships are a key element of our foreign policy. This was clear during the Covid-19 pandemic, when we relied on our partners for vaccines. To do so, we relied on both the United States and China, consistently with our strategy to have friends and partners everywhere, and building bridges. Our foreign policy is based on dialogue – a dialogue that allows us to constantly expand our network of alliances.