EU chief visits UAE to talk Russia sanctions ahead of COP28

AFP , Thursday 7 Sep 2023

EU chief Ursula von der Leyen visited the United Arab Emirates Thursday, three months before it hosts UN climate talks and as it comes under pressure over sanctions on Russia.

EU - UAE talks
European Union chief Ursula von der Leyen meets United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan ahead of COP28 climate talks in Dubai in November-December. AFP


The European Commission president held talks with President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed in Abu Dhabi, before the neighbouring emirate of Dubai organises COP28 in November-December.

"We both want to make COP28 a success and I look forward to our continued cooperation," she posted on X, formerly known as Twitter. "We will work across the board to reinforce UAE-EU relations."

Despite cordial relations with the Gulf monarchies, Western powers have faulted the UAE and top oil exporter Saudi Arabia for staying close to Russia since the war in Ukraine broke out in February last year.

Before von der Leyen's visit, EU sanctions envoy David O'Sullivan flew to the UAE this week, along with US and British officials, in a push to maintain sanctions on Moscow.

According to reports, Western officials are concerned that goods that could help Russia's war effort are being shipped to it from the UAE.

The US, EU and British officials were in the UAE "to discuss the effective implementation of our sanctions" on Russia, a US embassy spokesperson told AFP.

The UAE said it strictly implements United Nations sanctions, and monitors for compliance through its banks.

"The UAE strictly abides by UN sanctions and has clear and robust processes in place to deal with sanctioned entities, which we have exercised against a number of companies since the beginning of the conflict," a UAE official said.

"We will continue to take these responsibilities extremely seriously, especially given the current geopolitical landscape."

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