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Newsletter 09/2014

A word from the Ambassador | Australian sports stars in the UAE


I hope that most of you have had some time away, whether that be abroad to new places or back to Australia, and are now refreshed for the remaining few months of 2014 in the UAE.

While the Summer months of July and August are characteristically quiet at the Embassy, this year has certainly been the exception with a number of high-level visits. Following the tragic loss of 38 Australian lives, and those of many others in the MH17 shootdown, Australian consular staff, members of the Australian Federal Police and Defence Forces have actively sought to assist the affected families and facilitate the safe return of those who lost their lives. A number of staff from the Dubai Consulate-General were actively involved in assisting, including Ms Meikie Flach, Regional Consular Officer and Federal Agent Anthony Fox.

The Prime Minister, Chief of the Defence Force and the Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police transited through the UAE on their way to The Hague to pay their respects. During his transit, the Hon Tony Abbott MP met with Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. This was the second meeting between the two leaders.

We have a busy forward calendar filled predominantly with sports visits, especially for the month of October. The Australian Cricket team will be in the UAE playing a series of matches against Pakistan in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, including T20s, One Day Internationals and two Tests. A busy month of cricket for them, here’s hoping that the weather is kind to them by then!

In conjunction with the Cricket team’s tour, the ICC Cricket World Cup Trophy will also be on display throughout the region, and will in the UAE from 7–14 October. The ICC Trophy Tour is the beginning of Australia’s promotion of the 2015 World Cup Cricket, which will be hosted in Australia and New Zealand in February and March 2015.

The Socceroos will also be in the UAE and Qatar in October as part of a series of ‘friendly’ matches in the lead up to next year’s Asian Football Cup (AFC), to be held across 5 Australian cities, in January 2015. The Friendly match against the UAE National team will take place on 10 October in Abu Dhabi, followed by a friendly against Qatar in Doha on 14 October. The AFC trophy will also be visiting the UAE as part of their promotional international tour.

Our strong sporting record and infrastructure and event management capabilities help us to capitalise on these visits through a number of targeted business functions. The upcoming visits by both the Cricket Team and Socceroos, and two international sporting trophies, are a great opportunity for us to promote these capabilities further. I would encourage as many of you as possible to get along to the games and support your fellow Aussies.

Finally, and as many of you are aware, Etihad commenced direct flights to Perth on 15 July 2014. I was lucky enough to fly back to Perth in August for the celebrations. It was great to see full flights in both directions, and with a flight time of just over 11 hours I would expect this trend to continue.

Pablo Kang

Australian Ambassador to the UAE and Qatar and member of the ABCD

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