SINGAPORE - Singapore's Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan will make his first official visit to the Middle East this week, visiting the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Oman, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said in a press statement on Monday (March 6).
Dr Balakrishnan will make an introductory visit to the UAE from Tuesday to Wednesday, followed by the Sultanate of Oman on Thursday.
In the UAE, Dr Balakrishnan will be hosted by Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
Dr Balakrishnan will also co-chair the 2nd Singapore-UAE Joint Committee with Minister of Cabinet Affairs and the Future, Mr Mohammed Bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, on Wednesday. "Under the theme of 'Singapore and the United Arab Emirates: Cross-Regional Hubs', the Joint Committee will reaffirm the strong regional hub-to-hub connections between both countries and explore ways to further expand bilateral cooperation," the MFA said.
During his visit, Dr Balakrishnan will meet with Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces; Lieutenant General Sheikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior; Mr Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Affairs Authority; and Dr Ali Rashid Al Nuaimi, the Director-General of the Abu Dhabi Education Council and Chairman of the Hedayah Centre. The Hedayah Centre is an international centre based in Abu Dhabi to promote efforts to counter violent extremism.
Dr Balakrishnan will visit the Hedayah centre and also lay a wreath at the Wahat Al Karama ("Oasis of Dignity") UAE Heroes Memorial.
In Oman, Dr Balakrishnan will meet Mr Yusuf Bin Alawi Bin Abdullah, the Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs; General Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Numani, the Minister of Royal Office; and Dr Ahmed Mohammed Salem Al Futaisi, Minister of Transport and Communications.
Dr Balakrishnan will also be hosted to dinner by Mr Sayyid Badr Bin Hamad Bin Hamood Al Busaidi, Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. "In his meetings with the Omani leaders, Minister Balakrishnan will reaffirm Singapore's excellent bilateral relations and explore new areas of cooperation," the MFA added.