President Saakashvili touts cooperation with UAE at reception honouring visiting shaykh

Shaykh Saud Bin-Saqr al-Qasimi, the deputy ruler of the UAE's Ra's al-Khaymah emirate, has arrived in Georgia to inspect recently purchased property. The Ra's al-Khaymah development company is beginning work on the Tbilisi Hyatt and Uptown Tbilisi projects. An official presentation of the projects and a ground-breaking ceremony were held yesterday in the village of Tabakhmela, outside Tbilisi. Later a special reception was held in the shaykh's honour at the Rustaveli theatre in Tbilisi. President Saakashvili spoke at the event.

In his address, the president spoke at length about the historical relations between Georgia and the United Arab Emirates, saying that these ties had further facilitated the deepening of cooperation between the two countries. Saakashvili said that relations between Georgia and Arab countries had been obstructed in the past by the Iron Curtain in Europe, though now Georgia has rediscovered this region and rediscovered historical ties.

"The geographical position of the emirates and that country's role in its region closely resemble that which we are creating for Georgia. This is a country with an important geopolitical location for which effective governance, transparency, quickly executed decisions and achieving results are of utmost importance. This is the main thing that distinguishes Georgia from the other countries of the region. That is what makes us attractive and competitive. The time for dreaming is over. The era of reconstruction has begun," Saakashvili said.

Saakashvili also spoke about the investment climate in the country, noting that more than 2.2bn dollars had been invested in Georgia. "The second wave of money received from privatization is starting to come in. It will be spent entirely on the people and on priority areas," he said.

The shaykh also spoke at the event, noting that his country had found a desirable and sensible partner in Georgia. He expressed his delight with Georgian hospitality and thanked the president and his family. "We are united by a common desire - to build a new country. We have discovered necessary and sensible partners in you," Shaykh Saud Bin-Saqr al-Qasimi said.

Translated by BBC Monitoring

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