UAE offered open borders, embassy land

Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, the minister of state of the United Arab Emirates, meets with students at Villa Primary School on Wednesday during a visit to further bilateral relations with Antigua & Barbuda. (Photo by Jake Wong/OBSERVER media)

Prime Minister Gaston Browne said yesterday that the visa requirement for citizens of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to visit Antigua & Barbuda will be abolished.

Browne’s announcement was made as a UAE delegation, led by Minister of State Reem Al Hashimy, was engaged in bilateral discussions at the Office of the Prime Minister, during a visit to the country on Wednesday.

The prime minister also gave the UAE the opportunity to establish an embassy on island, with the promise that government would provide the lands free of cost.

“We have agreed to make available to [the United Arab Emirates] a parcel of land to establish a facility, which will be a gift from the government and people of Antigua & Barbuda,” Browne said. “In addition, we have taken an executive decision to abolish the requirement for visas for citizens and residents of the UAE to travel to Antigua & Barbuda, and that will be effected in the next 30 days.”

The prime minister added that he would discuss reciprocity in the open border agreement with the UAE.

Browne also said that Dubai, the UAE’s largest city, was an inspiration for what Antigua & Barbuda could become in the future.

“We had actually set a vision, even in opposition, for Antigua & Barbuda to become the ‘Dubai of the Caribbean’,” Browne said. “We’re very impressed with the fact that Dubai does not have mineral resources, petroleum, gold, bauxite. But notwithstanding, individuals in that country, residents and citizens, enjoy living standards that are second to none. And we believe if they can do it, we can do it.”

According to the UAE tourism website, UAE Interact, Dubai’s current oil reserves are about four billion barrels — enough to supply the worldwide demand of oil for 41 days, according to the International Energy Agency.

 

(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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