Fri, 24 Nov 2000

Message from the Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates

Message from the Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the Republic of Indonesia on the occasion of the National Day of the United Arab Emirates.

On December 2 every year, the United Arab Emirates celebrates its National Day. This year, the UAE commemorates its 29th anniversary.

Since its establishment in 1971, this nation, which is situated south of the Gulf, has been ruled by His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. As a federation, the UAE consists of seven Emirates: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al-Qaiwain, Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has successfully developed itself into a modern nation based on social stability and economic welfare. The country also plays its role in international relations, supporting those who need humanitarian aid due to natural disasters or wars.

The early stages of development in the UAE were initiated soon after its independence. In 1972, the nation exported its first crude oil. Back then, the population was less than 180,000. There were only limited adequate roads, the people lived in modest houses and infrastructure for education and health was insufficient.

The condition has totally changed 29 years later. The UAE is now one of the largest oil producers in the world, with some 100 billion barrels of crude-oil reserves.

In addition to its now more than 3,000 roads, this 83,600- square-kilometer country has also developed six international airports to accommodate millions of tourist arrivals yearly. A number of the country's seaports are among the world's most important harbors equipped with up-to-date devices.

Total population has grown to 3.2 million. The illiteracy rate has dropped dramatically and is currently estimated at 5 percent.

Though the UAE and Indonesia are separated by land and sea, the two countries have actually been connected for a long period. This began when Arabian traders brought silk from China and spices from the region now known as Southeast Asian, which includes Indonesia.

Indonesia was among the nations that acknowledged the UAE's independence in 1971. Diplomatic relations between the two nations were formed in 1976, followed by the opening of the Indonesian Embassy in Abu Dhabi in 1978 and the United Arab Emirates Embassy in Jakarta in 1991.

In 1979, both nations inked an agreement on air transportation, allowing Garuda Indonesia to fly to Abu Dhabi and Emirates and Gulf Air to fly to Jakarta.

Trade relations between the two nations continue to show promise, in which the balance is in favor of Indonesia. In 1992, five years after the two nations agreed to officially set up trade relations, the UAE's imports from Indonesia grew by 635 percent to US$476.9 million.

Among the commodities imported by the UAE from Indonesia are textiles, garments, furnitures, chemical materials, plywood and other items. Indonesia imports aluminum, silver, soda and oil from the UAE.

Indonesia frequently participates in international exhibitions held by the UAE. In 2001, Indonesia will attend the "Asian Tiger"; this large industrial expo is being held for the third time.

To improve bilateral relations with Indonesia, the UAE, in cooperation with the Indonesian government, opened recently its Red Cross office in Jakarta to extend various aid to Indonesians who need relief.