Prime Minister's Office, Nuku'alofa, Friday 12 February 2010:
Tonga rolled out the red carpet to welcome His Highness Sheikh Abdulla bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates and member of the Royal Household of the Ruler of Abu Dhabi Emirate and President of the United Arab Emirates, on Tuesday (9 Feb) evening.
His Highness Sheikh Abdulla was accorded a Guard of Honour on arrival and was greeted at Fua'amotu Airport by the Prince Regent, His Royal Highness Crown Prince Tupouto'a - Lavaka and HRH Prince ‘Ulukalala, and later welcomed at the Royal Tonga International Hotel, by Her Royal Highness, Princess Salote Mafile'o Pilolevu Tuita and His Serene Highness, Prince Tungi.
The Royal visitors were then welcomed by the Hon Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon Feleti Vaka'uta Sevele, at the Prime Minister's Office where a bilateral meeting was held in the Cabinet Chamber. H.H. Sheikh Abdulla was accompanied to the bilateral by UAE Minister of State, HE Reem Ebrahim Redha Ali Al Hashimy, UAE Assistant Minister for Economic Affairs, HE Khalid Ghanim Al Ghaith and UAE Ambassador to Australia, HE Dr. Saeed Mohammed Ali Al Shamsi. The Hon Prime Minister was accompanied at the meeting by the Deputy Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon Viliami Ta'u Tangi, Minister for Lands, Survey and Natural Resources, Lord Tuita, and the Chief Secretary and Secretary to Cabinet, Busby Kautoke.
His Highness Sheikh Abdulla thanked the Hon Prime Minister and Cabinet for Tonga's support for the establishment of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), an issue which is very important to the Government of the United Arab Emirates. His Highness also said that the UAE Government was eager to assist Tonga in implementing its Energy Road Map in pursuit of renewable energy. His Highness also conveyed to the Hon Prime Minister the UAE Government's condolences over the tragedies that befell the country recently, and offered his Government's assistance.
The Hon Prime Minister thanked His Highness Sheikh Abdulla for the hospitality of the UAE Government during his recent visit to Abu Dhabi for the IRENA Commission meeting, as well for the offer of assistance for the implementation of Tonga's Energy Road Map.
The two delegations also discussed ways in which the relations between the two countries can be further enhanced and agreed to explore the possibilities of implementing projects in areas outside of renewable energy, such as tourism, transport, and telecommunications. His Highness Sheik Abdulla also conveyed to the Hon Prime Minister his delegation's appreciation of the special hospitality and kindness of HRH Princess Salote Mafile'o Pilolevu Tuita, and expressed his hope that she may be able to visit the United Arab Emirates in the near future.
The meeting with the Hon Prime Minister was followed by a Private Audience with the Prince Regent, HRH Crown Prince Tupouto'a-Lavaka at Consular House after which a Memorandum of Understanding aimed at strengthening the bilateral relations between the two Governments was signed.
His Highness Sheik Abdulla and delegation was then hosted to a state dinner by the Prince Regent, HRH Crown Prince Tupouto'a -Lavaka and HRH Princess Nanasipau'u which was also attended by the Nobles of the Realm, Members of Cabinet, Members of The Legislative Assembly, and members of the Diplomatic Corps. The state dinner was followed by traditional cultural entertainment after which His Highness retired to the Royal Tonga International Hotel for the night.
His Highness Sheik Abdulla and the 29 member delegation from the United Arab Emirates departed Fua'amotu Airport on Wednesday (10 Feb) morning for Tuvalu. He was farewelled at the Airport by the Prince Regent, Crown Prince Tupouto'a Lavaka, HRH Prince ‘Ulukalala, Minister for Information, Hon ‘Eseta Fusitu'a, Chief Secretary and Secretary to Cabinet, Busby Kautoke, and Officials.
The Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon Feleti Vaka'uta Sevele, said, "Our bilateral relations with the United Arab Emirates is of recent origin but, already, it seems as if we have known each other for a long time. The visit by His Highness Sheikh Abdulla bin Zayed Al Nahyan to our shores and my own visit to Abu Dhabi in January have clearly demonstrated our mutual commitment to working together in close cooperation."