King plants tree as symbol of Malaysia-UAE close ties

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): The Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah (pic) planted the jujube or "bidara" sapling at the main square of Istana Negara here on Monday (July 27).

The tree was contributed by the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

According to Comptroller of the Royal Household of Istana Negara, Datuk Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin, the tree-planting ceremony symbolised the warm and close bilateral relations between Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The ceremony also reflected the close friendship between Al-Sultan Abdullah and Sheikh Mohamed who is also deputy supreme commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

His Majesty also received 12 jujube saplings which were flown in directly from Abu Dhabi, UAE from Sheikh Mohamed.

"Al-Sultan Abdullah is very appreciative of the contribution of the saplings, which will be planted in the vicinity of Istana Negara, Kuala Lumpur and Istana Abdulaziz, Kuantan, Pahang.

"His Majesty expresses his deepest gratitude to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and the UAE government for the contribution which is also proof of the long-existing close ties between the two nations," he said in a statement.

Also present at the ceremony were Foreign Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Muhammad Shahrul Ikram Yaakob and UAE ambassador to Malaysia Khalid Ghanim Mohammad Al-Ghaith.

Al-Sultan Abdullah and Sheikh Mohamed became friends when they met at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst more than 40 years ago.

Both leaders were college mates in 1978 and 1979, and the close friendship between them remains until today.

Ahmad Fadil said Sheikh Mohamed also attended the coronation of Al-Sultan Abdullah as the 16th Yang di-Pertuan Agong on July 30,2019, while His Majesty made special and private visits to Abu Dhabi in June and November 2019 respectively.

"Al-Sultan Abdullah expresses hope that the bilateral ties between Malaysia and UAE will be strengthened and expanded into various fields for mutual benefit," he said.

Ahmad Fadil said the King also expressed his appreciation to the UAE government for contributing more than seven tonnes of medical supplies, to be distributed to Malaysians.

"His Majesty also congratulated His Highness Sheikh Mohamed and the UAE government on the country's success in launching the first West Asia space mission to Mars, dubbed 'Hope', which departed from Japan on July 20,2020," he said.

In 2019, UAE was Malaysia's largest trading partner and the second-largest export and import destination (after Saudi Arabia) among the West Asian countries. Malaysia's total trade with UAE amounted to RM26.6bil.- Bernama

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