UK launches charm offensive with UAE after relations sour

  • Date: 22-May-2024
  • Source: Financial Times
  • Sector:Financial Markets
  • Country:UAE
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UK launches charm offensive with UAE after relations sour

Roula Khalaf, Editor of the FT, selects her favourite stories in this weekly newsletter.

UK deputy prime minister Oliver Dowden made a secret trip to the United Arab Emirates last week in an attempt to repair a diplomatic relationship that has fallen into its worst state in years.

His visit, made before travelling to Saudi Arabia on an official delegation, followed increasing frustration from Emirati officials over comments by British politicians about a blocked UAE-linked bid to buy the Telegraph.

The relationship has also been further damaged by a perceived recent United Nations snub.

The tensions have come as the UK seeks billions of pounds of fresh investment from the state’s deep-pocketed sovereign wealth funds.

Abu Dhabi has been taken aback that UK domestic politics appears to have trumped what the UAE considers an important strategic relationship, officials and analysts from both countries said.

Some Emirati officials feel the country has been demoted to a “punching bag” for British politicians seeking to appear tough domestically, said one person close to talks between the two nations.

“This isn’t anger or frustration,” said a second person with knowledge of the bilateral relationship. “This is exhaustion.”

Senior British politicians have recognised that the UK hostility to the Telegraph deal has frayed