United Arab Emirates are an oasis of peace, security, tolerance, political stability and economic and social development

E. Mr. Abdelwahab Nasir Al Najjar was born in 1953 in Sharjah, UAE.

He has a Master’s degree in International Relations. H. E. Mr. Al Najjar joined the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in 1976. He worked at the UAE Embassy in Turkey, was the UAE Special Envoy at the 40th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, then he was appointed First Secretary at the UAE Embassy in South Korea. In 2010, H. E. Mr. Al Najjar was appointed Director of the Department of Diplomatic Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, UAE. During the period 2015-2017, he served as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United Arab Emirates to Cyprus.

In 2018 H. E. Mr. Abdelwahab Al Najjar was appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United Arab Emirates to the Republic of Bulgaria.

- Your Excellency, on 2 December, the UAE celebrates its National Day. What does this date mean to your compatriots?

- This date means a lot to the people of the UAE, it is the date on which the independence of our country and the unification of the Arab Emirates was announced. In the last 47 years the date of 2 December has been a cause for pride. This date is the beginning of the country's Renaissance.

On this occasion, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to H. E. Mr. Rumen Radev, President of the Republic of Bulgaria, H. E. Mr. Boyko Borissov, Prime Minister, H. E. Mrs. Tsveta Karayancheva, President of the National Assembly, H. E. Mrs. Ekaterina Zaharieva, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, who conveyed their congratulations on the occasion of the 47th anniversary of the UAE National Day, and I avail myself of this opportunity to offer the greetings of H. H. Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates, who stressed that the UAE highly values and respects the Bulgarian people and sincerely wishes for its further development and prosperity.

- The expired 2018 was announced in the UAE as "The Year of Zayed". How did you mark the 100th anniversary since the birth of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, also known as the "Arab Sage"?

- The celebrations are still in every house in the United Arab Emirates. They commemorate the person who laid the foundations and values ​​of the UAE, played a key role in building and developing the country and strengthening the national identity, and laid the foundations for its prosperous future. The principles and values ​​of His Highness, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan, are embedded in the contemporary cultural and economic development of the country and affirmed the position of the United Arab Emirates as an oasis of peace, security, tolerance, political stability and economic and social development.

Furthermore, the late Sheikh Zayed has succeeded in creating the foundations of the prosperous and developed UAE, as we know them today. He loved his people and his country and cherished its cultural heritage. The late Sheikh Zayed is known for his generosity and for the efforts he has made to ensure a prosperous future for his people and the entire population of the United Arab Emirates.

- What is it that binds the seven emirates, so that for 47 years now, they have been united?

- This question is raised every year on every occasion. With regard to our unification, it managed to attract the attention of the public with the unprecedented achievements that no one has succeeded in realizing, despite the opportunities.

Our unification is not limited to material achievements, but also has a human and charitable character that encompasses all those in need around the world. The hand of the alliance extends to all corners of the globe to sow and spread goodness.

Yes, our unification has succeeded, and it is not a surprise. Success is not due to following a certain example. It is achieved thanks to local culture, civilization and our tolerant religion. The unification of the Emirates resembles other Arab unions with noble purposes that the region has known for hundreds of years.

The first factor contributing to the success and stability of the Union is the wise and good governance in the name of the nation. Since its very inception, the UAE has been led by the patriarchal and humane attitude of leadership based on the paternal principle. This unique relationship was imposed by the founding fathers - Zayed and Rashid and the first generation of Emirates citizens.

The second factor that has contributed to the success of the Union is that the UAE, as a country, gives and doesn’t take. It helps every emirate without affecting local self-government unless the emirate itself has such a desire. The Union does not impose rules or restrictions that affect local authorities. It is this idea that has helped unification happen and it is at the heart of the strong ties embedded in the Union. It has contributed to laying solid foundations on which the UAE people has stepped with pride and elevation.

The third factor contributing to the success of the Emirates unification, is that it is a union of actions, not words. Its leaders have never set ideologies in their actions, instead they have always been guided by the idea of ​​the well-being of the UAE people and the security and stability of the state. Zayed never pursued political ends. He sought to secure a decent life and the well-being of his people. Instead of using country’s wealth for non-national and inhumane purposes, from its very establishment, the federation has sought to pursue one goal: to use its oil reserves for the prosperity and future development of the nation.

The fourth factor for the success of the Union stems from its nature of creation; it is not something brought from the outside, it does not duplicate previous experience, but relies on local culture.

The fifth and last factor that binds the Emirates is neighbourhood policy and peace and open-hand policy with all brotherly and neighbouring countries, despite differences. The first generation of Emirates citizens initiated this policy and adjusted it to the principles of good neighbourliness and the pursuit of peaceful and friendly coexistence. This generation is known for its kindness, its peace of mind and the desire to help those in need. It is these factors that built up the image of the UAE and contributed to their recognition as a union that embodies peace rather than war; goodness rather than evil; generosity, rather than restriction.

- Probably because of oil, but your country plays an extremely important role in international life today. What is the focus of your foreign policy at the moment?

- The UAE maintains multilateral relations with the outside world and values ​​highly political, economic and cultural cooperation with the neighbouring and distant countries.

Our country offers many humanitarian initiatives to developing countries, regardless of their ethnicity, beliefs, or religion - an act that is at the heart of Islam.

At a time when many of the countries in the region have undergone major changes in their foreign policy, the United Arab Emirates has managed to maintain its line and preserve its independence.

The success of the foreign policy of the United Arab Emirates is also due to its moderate position as well as its humanitarian aid policy in line with the UN Charter and international treaties and the non-interference in the domestic affairs of other countries.

- Your country prepared for "EXPO DUBAI 2020". Would you say something more specific about the work on the exhibition?

- One of the most important achievements currently underway is "EXPO DUBAI 2020". It effectively implements the policy of international cooperation and plays a role in extending and deepening the country's bilateral relations. Dubai's expo will be a festival of human ingenuity. It will expand and deepen bilateral and multilateral cooperation.

- Which achievements of your country today make you proud of it?

- Undoubtedly, there are many achievements that make us proud of our country, and the latter is the successful launch of the "Khalifa Sat" satellite. The first fully-developed satellite in the UAE. A hundred percent creation of local engineers and a new step in the field of the national space sector. This achievement coincided with the United Arab Emirates passport being the number one passport in the world.

- The great influence and authority of your country has given motivation to the Bulgarian government to decide in October 2015 to open an embassy in Abu Dhabi. A role here plays as well, the Bulgarian community in the UAE, which approximates 7,000 people and is one of the largest Bulgarian communities in the Middle East. What role and contribution does it make to your country?

- First, it is important to note that the presence of any foreign nationality in a given country is primarily due to the political relations between the two countries.

And the relations between the UAE and Bulgaria are based on mutual respect and cooperation in all areas of common interest. Bilateral relations are an example of friendship, we are witnessing how every day they are strengthening, deepening and developing. Bulgarians in the UAE have proved to be good specialists, each in their sphere of work, respecting the country’s laws and regulations, and being part of our generous and peaceful society.

- What is our trade turnover? Is there interest in investment and in which areas?

- Trade between the two countries at the end of last year exceeded 830 million euro, but the intensification of relations between the two countries will help to increase trade, investment and cultural relations. The diplomatic relations between the Republic of Bulgaria and the United Arab Emirates date back to 1991, and in the beginning of 2018 the embassies in Sofia and Abu Dhabi were opened. This expresses the clear desire of the two countries to develop and further strengthen their relations not only in the field of investment but in all other areas. I use this opportunity to underline that the UAE diplomatic mission in Sofia and the staff are actively working to deepen and further develop political, economic, tourist and investment cooperation between the two countries.

- What are your first impressions of Bulgaria?

- Bulgaria is a beautiful country and the Bulgarian people are good, generous and hospitable. I and my family feel in Bulgaria at home, we do not feel nostalgic here.

The photo is provided by the UAE Embassy.