By Andy Sambidge
Sheikh Khalifa accepts invitation from Queen Elizabeth II to visit between April 30 and May 1
Buckingham Palace and the Ministry of Presidential Affairs of the UAE on Wednesday announced that Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, will pay a state visit to the UK next month.
In a statement carried by official news agency WAM, it said Sheikh Khalifa, also ruler of Abu Dhabi, has accepted an invitation from Queen Elizabeth II to visit from April 30 to May 1.
According to WAM, the state visit will be the first to the UK by a UAE President since the visit of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan in 1989.
It added that the visit was a "further important milestone in the context of the strong bilateral relationship between the UAE and UK".
The UAE President will be accompanied by a high level UAE government delegation that will meet with UK counterparts on the sidelines of the visit.
Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister for Foreign Affairs, said in comments published by WAM: "The state visit... is testament not only to the deep and historic ties between the UAE and the UK, but also to the immense opportunities that exist in continued cooperation between our two countries.
"The UAE is committed to further building andstrengthening its bilateral relationship with the UK on all levels, with a particular focus on trade, regional and global security and education."
Bilateral trade between the UAE and the UK is targeted to reach AED70bn by 2015.
Around 50,000 Emiratis visit the UK each year and the UAE is a significant and dependable investor in the UK economy, injecting capital, creating jobs and contributing to long-term growth.
The UAE has invested over £5bn in the UK, including the Abu Dhabi National Energy Company's projects in the North Sea and the ambitious London Gateway deep sea port - the single largest job creation project in the UK, supporting 35,000 jobs.
For the UK, the UAE is the largest export market in the Middle East and North Africa, and there are around 5,000 UK businesses operating in the UAE. UK goods exports to the UAE went up by 9 per cent last year.
Over 100,000 British expatriates live and work in the UAE and over 1 million British visitors travel to the UAE every year.
The visit of Sheikh Khalifa follows the 2010 state visit by The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh to the UAE in 2010.
I am sure that His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, will pose good photographs in typical Arab Dress and Shake hand up straight with queen Elizabeth