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UAE's achievement on IRENA is source of pride for the country and all Arabs: Abdullah

Jun 30, 2009 - 12:42 -

WAM Sharm-El-Sheikh, Jun. 29, 2009 (WAM) -- Foreign Minister, H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has praised the countries which participated in the 2nd Preparatory Meeting of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and thanked them for their unflinching support for the UAE.

He said the UAE participated in the Bonn meeting, at the invitation of the German government, to establish the IRENA, which started with 76 members. "But today the agency has 126 members and for the first time its headquarters will be in an Arab country," he added.

Sheikh Abdullah made the statement during a joint press conference held at the conference hall soon after the meeting. He was flanked by Minister of Foreign Trade Minister, Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al-Qasimi, Energy Minister, Mohammed bin Dha'en Al-Hamili, Minister of Environment and Water, Dr. Rashid Ahmed bin Fahd, Minister of State, Dr. Maitha Salim al-Shamsi, Minister of State, Reem Ibrahim Al-Hashimi and the Executive Chairman of Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar), Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al-Jaber.

"I believe the UAE's winning of the bid to host this agency is a source of pride for us in the UAE and a great honour for all Arabs," he said and praised the strong Arab support for the UAE during the past weeks and months, beginning from the Arab League, the Arab foreign ministers, the Organisation of Islamic Conference and the Non-Aligned Movement, who stood firmly behind the UAE.

Sheikh Abdullah also thanked the North and South member states for their support, saying that the UAE had really got a tremendous support from those countries. He also thanked Germany and Austria for withdrawing from such a fair competition and for their wonderful contributions to the agency. He said the two countries withdrew to enable the choice of UAE to be in consensus.

He also thanked Egypt for the great hospitality and for the successful hosting of the meeting.

He said the UAE, being a strong member of OPEC and a major oil exporting country, the hosting of IRENA headquarters is a clear indication of the UAE's deep desire to invest in renewable energy, modern energy and future energy. He cited the US$15 billion "Masdar Initiative" investment in the area of renewable energy inside and outside the UAE, adding that "Masdar" is currently implementing a number of renewable energy projects with Europe, North Africa, Australia and the US.

He pointed out that "Masdar" will build the first green city in the world, where the IRENA headquarters will be based. He said the city will also serve as a base for renewable energy-related research and education, adding that the UAE is committed to dolling out US$50 million annually for development projects in Third World countries, particularly, in Africa. "We in the UAE extend our hands to all countries of the world. The agency is not exclusively for the Emiratis. It is an international asset. All countries of the world have a right in the agency," he said.