28 december, 2011
Luxembourg’s new embassy in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, the first Luxembourg bilateral embassy in an Arab country, opened 20th November was inaugurated in a ceremony led by Foreign Affairs Minister Jean Asselborn and Sheikh Abdulla bin Zayed al Nahyan, Asselborn’s opposite number in the United Arab Emirates. Crown Prince Guillaume, and Economy Minister Jeannot Krecké were present for the opening, having been on an trade mission to the Gulf Region along with 20 Luxembourgish firms from a range of industries. The delegation visited the Big 5 Show in Dubai before travelling to Qatar for talks with government officials and a visit to Qatar Airways.
The trade mission also visited the new 14 billion US dollar international airport in Doha, which will be officially opened net year and be called the New Doha International Airport. A cargo centre is planned and will cover an area of 292,000 m2 with an annual capacity of 1.4 million tonnes, with a possibility of expansion to 2.8 million tonnes. Findel’s Cargo Centre currently has a capacity of 800,000 tonnes. Up to 11 Boeing 747-8 freighters can be parked at once at the Qatar facility.
In as well as Qatari involvement in Luxembourg, firms from the Grand Duchy have been working in the emirate for some time including shipping firm Jan de Nul, which has worked since 2006 to dredge the new port in Ras Laffan. The Paul Wurth steel technology group is acting as project manager for a 17 billion euro, 400 km metro and tram network to provide transportation for the football World Cup in 2022, as well as other rail projects. During the trade mission, the Luxembourg Central Bank also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Qatari central bank, the BCL’s first bilateral agreement in the Gulf region.
While in the UAE, the delegation visited Ras Al-Kaimah, the northern-most emirate of the UAE to sign a cooperation agreement. The RAK emirate owns RAK Ceramics, the world’s largest manufacturer of ceramic and sanitary tiles, which has had an operation in Windhof since 2010 servicing the Russian market. The emirate is seeking to emerge from out of Dubai’s shadow and diversify its economy and is looking for Luxembourg’s help in building a more sustainable future.