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Canada, UAE settle aviation row: Baird

OTTAWA - Canada and the United Arab Emirates have put a row over aviation rights behind them, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said Tuesday.

"Yes, we went through a bit of a rough patch last year but I'm pleased to report that I see things going in an upward trajectory," Baird said after meeting with his UAE counterpart Sheik Abdallah Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.

The minister said in a teleconference from the UAE they had several "good, positive, warm, and constructive" fence-mending talks. However, Baird did not detail any substantive changes to the bilateral relationship.

The UAE last year threatened to impose new visa fees of up to $1,000 on visiting Canadians and closed a military base to Canadian use after Ottawa refused to allow the UAE's two national carriers more landing rights.

A flurry of quiet diplomacy ensued, culminating in Baird's visit to the Gulf state this week to try to mend fences.

More than 25,000 Canadians live in the United Arab Emirates, one of Canada's biggest economic partners in the Middle East, with bilateral trade valued at about 1.5 billion dollars per year, according to UAE officials.

by Stuart Williams
(c) 2011 AFP
Published on ASDNews: Nov 22, 2011


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