Bilateral ties between Singapore and the United Arab Emirates further strengthened during the current visit of K Shanmugam to the Middle East countries.
Shanmugam, the Home Affairs and Law Minister of Singapore, is visiting UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt from November 5 to 13.
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces met Shanmugam at Al Bahr Palace. Both the leaders discussed ways of strengthening ties of friendship and cooperation between the two countries. They also discussed were avenues for joint security cooperation, exchange of expertise and a range of issues of mutual interest.
Minister Shanmugam also met Sheikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior.
A release from Ministry of Home Affairs, Singapore, stated, “During their meetings, they reaffirmed the warm and close relations between Singapore and the UAE, and had a good exchange of views on bilateral security cooperation as well as on the global terrorism threat.”
Minister Shanmugam will also hold meetings with his counterparts and security officials during his visit to Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
Notably, Singapore has longstanding ties with the Middle East going as far back as the 9th century and the Abbasid Caliphate, when Arabian traders in dhows (traditional sailing vessels with triangular sails) frequently plied the Maritime Silk Road to trade with China. Singapore was a major port and trading post of the Sumatran Srivijaya Empire, and these traders often stopped at Singapore en-route back to Arabia.
The ties between Singapore and Middle East are regularly being strengthened. The enhanced political engagement of the Middle East has paved the way for the bolstering of economic ties. In 2015, total trade between Singapore and the Middle East stood at SGD45.1 billion.
Singapore signed the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (GSFTA) on December 15, 2008. This was an important milestone as Singapore is the first country outside of the Middle East to conclude an FTA with the GCC (comprising Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, Bahrain and Oman). Today, the UAE and Saudi Arabia are respectively Singapore’s largest and the second largest trading partners in the Middle East.