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Slovenia and UAE negotiating cooperation on artificial intelligence, business and tourism

Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Miro Cerar is paying a working visit to the United Arab Emirates, where the formal opening of the first Slovenian embassy in the Gulf states will be held on Tuesday, 29 October 2019. The visit by the Slovenian Minister coincides with the first meeting of the Joint Commission for Economic Cooperation between Slovenia and the United Arab Emirates.

Minister Cerar met Minister of State Reem Al Hashimy at the Expo 2020 site. She recalled with pleasure the Slovenian pavilion at Expo 2015 in Milan. She went on to express appreciation for Slovenia opening an embassy in Abu Dhabi, which will promote the establishment of new links between the two countries.

The site of the upcoming Expo 2020 is being erected outside of Dubai and will open its doors within a year. On Monday, Minister Cerar and the delegation visited the construction site of the national pavilions and the infrastructure required for such a large exposition.

Minister Cerar outlined for Minister Al Hashimy the concept of the Slovenian presentation at Expo 2020, which will set up a wooden pavilion to illustrate sustainable development. Slovenia and the UAE are partner countries in the Green Group of six small countries, which was established by Slovenia in 2009. The countries have joined forces to express caution about issues relating to sustainable development and the preservation of waters and a clean environment. The two ministers also discussed potential improvements in transport connections between their two countries and the possibility of establishing regular flights between the UAE and Slovenia.

“Slovenia has a rich tradition of spa tourism and a well-preserved natural environment, attracting guests from all over the world,” stated Dr Cerar, adding that regular flight connections would boost tourist visits between the UAE and Slovenia.

Minister Cerar and Minister Al Hashimy also discussed opportunities for establishing links between artificial intelligence experts from both countries. The UAE is the only country with a minister responsible for artificial intelligence, and an academic programme in artificial intelligence will be launched soon. Minister Cerar stated that Slovenia will establish a UNESCO AI centre at the Jožef Stefan Institute, and that it will encourage any potential links between research centres.

Tomorrow, Minister Cerar will be meeting Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash and in the evening, he is to open the premises of the new Slovenian embassy in Abu Dhabi.