UAE passes Expo 2020 test as Thai city rejected

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An artist's impression of the UAE's World Expo site.

An artist's impression of the UAE's World Expo site.

Dubai has moved a step closer to hosting the World Expo 2020 after its bid passed the latest stage and the Thailand city competing was disqualified, reducing the number of contenders to four.

The Bureau of International Expositions (BIE) on Tuesday approved Dubai’s plans for the international event as meeting the criteria for staging the expo, based on inspections by BIE officials.

The cities also will present their progress reports to the BIE general assembly in Paris on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the BIE officials voted to drop the Thai city Ayutthaya from contention amid concerns the bid did not have sufficient support from the government.

The Bangkok Post said the city’s bid had faced opposition because of concerns about the cost of staging a world event.

The other cities still in the race are Sao Paulo in Brazil, Yekaterinburg in Russia and Izmir in Turkey.

Izmir also faces a tough battle due to recent unrest in the Turkish capital, Istanbul.

Dubai is widely regarded as the front runner.

The emirate has the backing of the UK and former US president Bill Clinton.

UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs William Hague said staging the event in Dubai would bring together the entire globe.

The winner will be announced after a vote by the bureau’s 166 member states at its next general assembly in November.

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