UAE keen to cooperate with Russia on energy security, says UAE minister

The UAE, whose relations with security ally the United States have been strained, has tried to walk a line between the West and Russia, with which it has also deepened ties.

 Russia's invasion of Ukraine, near Lviv (photo credit: REUTERS)
Russia's invasion of Ukraine, near Lviv
(photo credit: REUTERS)

The United Arab Emirates is keen to cooperate with Russia on improving global energy security, UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan said in Moscow on Thursday.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has drawn a raft of Western sanctions and disrupted global energy markets, putting a spotlight on Gulf energy exporters, such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia, as consumers look for supplies to replace Russian oil.

OPEC producers Saudi Arabia and the UAE have so far resisted US pleas to use their spare production capacity to help contain oil prices, saying they are committed to an output pact under the OPEC+ alliance, which includes Russia.

"It is important to maintain the stability of energy and food markets," the Emirati minister told a televised joint press conference with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.

"We welcome all mediation efforts in the Ukraine crisis ... the UAE is ready to engage with the parties to strengthen opportunities for a peaceful resolution," Sheikh Abdullah said.

 A view shows a school building destroyed by an airstrike, as Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues, in the town of Merefa, in Kharkiv region Ukraine, in this handout picture released March 17, 2022.  (credit: Press service of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine/Handout via REUTERS) A view shows a school building destroyed by an airstrike, as Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues, in the town of Merefa, in Kharkiv region Ukraine, in this handout picture released March 17, 2022. (credit: Press service of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine/Handout via REUTERS)

The UAE, whose relations with security ally the United States have been strained, has tried to walk a line between the West and Russia, with which it has also deepened ties. It abstained in a recent UN Security Council vote, vetoed by Moscow, condemning the invasion.

Sheik Abdullah said he would also discuss Iran, Syria and Iraq during his talks in Moscow.

Russia appeared this week to have backed off its previous view that Western sanctions were an impediment to salvaging the 2015 nuclear pact between global powers and Iran just as a deal appeared close at Vienna talks. Read full story

While Gulf Arab states have voiced support for the talks, they have also urged global powers to address regional concerns over Iran's ballistic missiles program and network of proxies, including in Yemen, Iraq and Lebanon.