WASHINGTON, DC (28 July 2008) – His Excellency (HE) Yousef Al Otaiba, the new United Arab Emirates (UAE) Ambassador in Washington, DC, today presented his credentials to President George W. Bush at the White House. He succeeds HE Ambassador Saqr Ghobash, who had served at the post since March 2006.
Located at a critical strategic position bordering the Arabian Gulf, the Indian Ocean and the Strait of Hormuz, the UAE is an important and reliable ally of the United States. President Bush visited the UAE in January and His Highness (HH) General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, was hosted by the President at Camp David last month.
“The UAE enjoys a broad and comprehensive relationship with the United States, based on mutual interests,” Ambassador Al Otaiba said after his meeting with President Bush. “I was sent here by President HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan with a clear mission: to further strengthen the UAE’s relationship with the United States.”
“The current state of UAE-US relations is excellent,” continued Ambassador Al Otaiba. “We share common interests to advance peace and security, promote economic stability and growth, and forge closer cultural and educational ties.”
With one of the most open and innovative economies in the world, the UAE is a dependable and substantial economic partner with the United States. The US Commerce Department named the UAE as the United States’ single largest export market in the Arab World, with $11.6 billion in exports in 2007.
The UAE provides ongoing and essential support for US forces in the Middle East, and worked together with the United States in Afghanistan, Operation Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, as well as UN Operations in Somalia and Kosovo, Ambassador Al Otaiba said. As tangible evidence of the growing cultural relationship, Ambassador Al Otaiba cited the upcoming establishments of a Guggenheim Museum and a New York University campus in Abu Dhabi, as well as recent partnerships bringing a Boston University dental school and multiple Michigan State University degree programs to Dubai.
Previously, Ambassador Al Otaiba was Director of International Affairs for the Court of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. During his tenure, Ambassador Al Otaiba served as a senior advisor to HH General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, as well as the UAE’s principal security, anti–terrorism and defense liaison to other governments. In that regard, Ambassador Al Otaiba was heavily involved in diplomatic efforts to improve regional security and defense cooperation.
Most recently, Ambassador Al Otaiba helped guide Abu Dhabi’s leadership in multinational discussions on best practices for sovereign wealth funds. This activity was an extension of Ambassador Al Otaiba’s efforts to promote and deepen trade relationships between the UAE and other government, commercial, and private sector entities.
Ambassador Al Otaiba studied International Relations at Georgetown University after graduating from the Cairo American College. He subsequently attended the Industrial College of the US Armed Forces at the National Defense University in Washington, DC as an International Fellow.
For background on the UAE-US bilateral relationship see the UAE-US Relations section on this site.