Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation met Secretary of State Mike Pompeo yesterday at the start of an important visit to Washington. He will also meet other high-level members of the Trump administration and members of Congress.
"You are wonderful partners of ours,” Pompeo told his UAE counterpart at the start of the meeting yesterday. “We concluded an agreement with respect to the airlines, which the American industry is so happy with, thank you for working so hard personally on that.”
In his remarks, Sheikh Abdullah thanked the US Secretary of State “for being a great partner” and congratulated him getting the job and his recent successes. The UAE foreign minister referred to progress made in the North Korea talks ahead of leader Kim Jong-un and President Donald Trump's meeting on June 12th, and the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal.
He added that on the bilateral level “we have done an amazing job in the last couple of months”, including the aviation agreement.
Sheikh Abdullah also highlighted the UAE's forward-looking approach to building a more tolerant, prosperous and peaceful region that advances collective UAE and US interests and values.
The meeting, that lasted for more than an hour, focused on a broad range of regional and bilateral issues, particularly Iran and countering its non-nuclear threats and support for terrorist groups in the region.
On Iran, Sheikh Abdullah praised President Trump's decision to withdraw from the JCPOA and restated his leadership in challenging the full range of Iranian threats across the region from ballistic missiles to its arming and training of proxies like Hezbollah and the Houthis.
On Yemen, Sheikh Abdullah updated US officials on the Coalition's progress against Al Qaeda and other extremists in Yemen, while continuing to pressure the Iranian-supported Houthi rebels. He made clear that blocking Iran's ability to traffic increasingly sophisticated weaponry into Yemen, including ballistic missiles used to attack Saudi Arabia, is a key condition to any negotiated outcome.
Both men agreed on the importance of all sides supporting the UN-led political process, facilitating humanitarian and critical commercial access, and working toward a comprehensive agreement to end the conflict in Yemen.
Pompeo also emphasised President Trump’s desire to see the Gulf dispute eased, and eventually resolved. He expressed his hope that parties will engage constructively ahead of the US-GCC Summit.
On civil aviation, Pompeo thanked the UAE Foreign Minister for working with the United States to reach understandings that address concerns important to US aviation stakeholders and strengthen economic cooperation.
State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said that Pompeo thanked Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed for his work on deepening the strong strategic, economic, and security partnership between the United States and the United Arab Emirates.
The aviation deal preserves the US-UAE open skies agreement, acknowledging that many airlines are supported by the government, and committing to financial transparency.
Aviation is at the centre of a UAE-US trade and commercial relationship that generates enormous benefits for both countries. The announcement confirms business as usual by validating all of the rights and benefits – including ‘Fifth Freedom’ services – of the 2002 Air Transport Agreement between the two countries.