ABU DHABI // The UAE has appointed its first Ambassador to a Baltic nation.
Hanan Al Alili will become Ambassador to Latvia when the UAE Embassy opens in the capital, Riga, next month.
Inara Murniece, Latvia’s speaker of parliament, was in Abu Dhabi for the Global Summit of Women Speakers of Parliament when the announcement was made.
“It is important to have women in key positions in government because they compose half of our society and sometimes it is easier to cooperate between women,” Ms Murniece said of the appointment.
“The UAE is a country of very strong women, like Latvia.”
One of those women is Mariam Al Mansouri, the UAE’s first female fighter pilot, who Ms Murniece was delighted to meet during her visit.
“She is so inspirational,” the Latvian parliamentary speaker said.
“I also praise Dr Amal Al Qubaisi, the president of the Federal National Council, for what she is doing here for society. She is a role model for young girls and women of all ages. I admire her.”
Ms Murniece met Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, Minister of Culture, and Reem Alhashimy, Minister of State, to discuss further strengthening ties between the countries.
“Cooperation is always essential,” she said. “And if we can secure a future, looking at different national, regional and international platforms, it is always essential to exchange information and create a better business environment. I admire how they think about the future and secure it, decades and decades in advance. It is very forward-thinking.”
Ms Murniece visited some of the 600 Latvians living in the UAE. “It is not a large community but they are people with big ideas,” she said. “There are also more moving here and a direct fight from Riga to Abu Dhabi is planned.”
Trade between Latvia and the UAE has increased five-fold since its embassy opened in Abu Dhabi two years ago.
“Latvia is a very integral part of the regional economy,” said Sabahat Khan, senior analyst at the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis in Dubai.
“That creates a lot of opportunities for investment and commercial collaboration between Latvia and the UAE given the robust economic growth both countries are generating.”