On 30 November at Sofia Hotel Balkan, H. E. Mr. Sultan Rashid Alnuaimi, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United Arab Emirates to the Republic of Bulgaria,

gave a reception on the occasion of the national holiday of the country. It was attended by numerous guests, including officials, ambassadors, diplomats, journalists and friends of the country.

The date of the UAE's national holiday, December 2, is linked to the establishment of a union of six emirates - Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Umm Al Qawain, Ajman and Fujairah in 1971, which until then were protectorates of Britain. In February 1972 it was joined by the seventh emirate, Ras Al Khaimah. And now, for 51 years, the United Arab Emirates has been enjoying rapid economic development and building its prosperity.

At the reception H. E. Mr. Sultan Rashid Alnuaimi addressed his guests with a welcoming speech in which he summarized his country's achievements:

Dobar vecher i dobre doshli! (Good evening and welcome!)

Your Excellencies representatives of the Bulgarian government,

Your Majesty King Simeon II,

Your Excellencies representatives of the diplomatic corps,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure and honour to welcome you all on this very special day and thank you for joining us to celebrate the 51st anniversary of the establishment of the United Arab Emirates.

After half a century of achievements, there has been increasing appreciation worldwide of the nation’s future agenda and fundamental values, thanks to initiatives such as EXPO 2020 Dubai, the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the Abraham Accords, the successful Mission to Mars, and the UAE Papal visit, amongst many others.

Today, the country has approached a new phase of growth and development and has adopted principles that have set up the strategic roadmap for strengthening the Union, building a sustainable economy and harnessing all possible resources to create a more prosperous society. Not surprisingly then the UAE adopts economic strategies that stimulate diversification away from oil, and the country is working to build an economy based on knowledge, reinforced by scientific and technological progress.

I would like to take this opportunity to draw attention to the shift witnessed in the United Arab Emirates’ diplomacy in strengthening the country’s position at the international level by giving priority to economic prosperity, relations between peoples and regional stability.

As home to more than 200 nationalities from diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds, the UAE is deeply committed to safeguarding human rights and building upon its steady progress in this field.

Over the years, the UAE has enacted a series of laws and regulations that enshrine certain fundamental rights, providing for the fair treatment of all its citizens and residents, especially women, children, workers, and persons of determination, as stipulated in the UAE Constitution.

The Government of the United Arab Emirates has a long history of commitment to the plan of supporting women, peace and security, not only within the state, but also globally. The country has provided continuous financial support since the launch of the UN Women in 2010. In 2019 it announced a three-year unmarked contribution of $ 15 million and encouraged UN Women to use part of this fund to implement the WPS Agenda worldwide.

In the same context, the United Arab Emirates, as a non-permanent member of the Security Council, supports the WPS Agenda in all the actions taken in this regard. This includes a focus on women, peace, and security.

The UAE will continue to pursue a foreign policy aimed at building on the common interests among the countries of the region in promoting peace, stability, prosperity and the well-being of peoples. The UAE firmly believes that the region cannot tolerate more polarization and confrontation and that the coming decades require more communication, integration and cooperation in the political, economic, technological, health and food fields.

Furthermore, the future of regional security depends on strong multilateral partnerships and a common commitment to achieving stability and prosperity through peaceful political and economic means.

The UAE leadership will continue to support strategic partnerships in efforts to reduce tensions and enhance international cooperation.

In this regard, I would like to point out that the United Arab Emirates and the Republic of Bulgaria are bound together by a special relationship at all levels, based on the principles of mutual understanding, respect and joint cooperation.

On this occasion, I wish to pay a special tribute to the recent visit of His Excellency President Rumen Radev to the UAE, which opened new doors of dialogue and contributed to the development, further strengthening and deepening of the relations between both countries.

This visit witnessed the signing of a number of bilateral agreements, foremost of which the Strategic Partnership MoU, building up a new layer of mutual understanding and dialogue between the UAE and Bulgaria. Furthermore, it has created a successful mechanism to consolidate political, economic and trade relations between both countries, and has paved the way for investments and joint initiatives at all levels.

All this wouldn’t have been possible without the valuable support of the Bulgarian government, especially the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and its continued efforts to enhance cooperation.

This cooperation has been further fostered by the commitment of the United Arab Emirates to international aid based on the principle of humanity and solidarity. Here I would like to convey my special thanks to the President of the Bulgarian Red Cross for his cooperation to facilitate the Embassy’s humanitarian aid response to those in need.

The Emirates foreign humanitarian aid is essential to its vision and moral duty towards less fortunate peoples. It is not tied to religion, race, colour, or culture. Over the 50 years, from 1971 to 2021, the UAE provided foreign aid worth AED 322 billion. Nearly two-thirds of the value of such assistance, or 65% was given out as grants, worth AED 208.3 billion.

I am highly convinced that the United Arab Emirates and Bulgaria will continue to elevate their relations in this field to even higher levels in the years to come.

On a final note, I would like to thank FlyDubai for their very important role in promoting relations between the United Arab Emirates and the Republic of Bulgaria in the field of trade, tourism and investments.

FlyDubai has kindly offered prizes this evening – two economy class Sofia-Dubai-Sofia return tickets for our distinguished guests and later on I will be happy to draw the winners.

Once again, thank you all for joining us on this special occasion and I would like to invite you to share the Dinner Buffet.

After the Ambassador's speech, the guests really enjoyed the wonderful specialties of Arabic and European cuisine while having a lively conversation. A special mood was brought by the raffle, through which the winners of the two round-trip FlyDubai tickets to Dubai were determined.
All guests also had the opportunity to see video films showing the prosperity of the UAE as well as view photographs revealing the country's progress over the past 51 years.

The photos are provided by the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Bulgaria.

Above: H. E. Mr. Sultan Rashid Alnuaimi, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United Arab Emirates to the Republic of Bulgaria