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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

West to pressure UAE over Russia ties – WSJ

Growing trade between Moscow and the Emirates has been raising concerns among the gulf state's Western partners

The US, UK and EU plan to jointly appeal to the UAE this week to request that the country stop dual-use goods sales to Russia, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday citing Western officials.

According to the report, Western states are concerned that UAE-supplied computer chips, electronic components, and other products that have both civilian and military applications could “help Moscow in its war against Ukraine.”

Read more: Kremlin reacts to claim that West endorses elimination of ‘everything Russian’

Despite historically strong ties with Western countries, the UAE refrained from joining them in placing sanctions on Russia over the conflict in Ukraine. Instead, Abu Dhabi has been actively broadening economic cooperation with Moscow, with trade turnover between the two states reportedly hitting all-time highs last year.

According to media reports, the flow of Russian oil and precious metals into the emirate has surged in recent months, as did the UAE’s export of microchips and civilian drones to Russia. Calculations from the Kyiv School of Economics based on Russia’s trade data show that the UAE exported $149 million worth of computer components and modules to Russia in the first five months of 2023, compared with just $1 million in the same period last year. Exports of communications equipment, meanwhile, surged to $64 million from zero, and deliveries of electrical and electronic equipment jumped to $20 million from $1 million.

US and EU officials cited by the WSJ said they have become increasingly concerned that more and more Western-made goods are being exported to Russia through the UAE, which, they said, has been ignoring previous calls to stop the deliveries. A US State Department source told the WSJ that Washington was actively seeking help from other countries that “are being used to circumvent export controls and divert prohibited goods to Russian end-users.”

Read more: Sacked Ukrainian defense minister reveals total value of Western military aid

It was unclear from the report what form the joint appeal to the UAE may take and when exactly it is due to be issued. Officials from Washington and Brussels are currently on a visit to Abu Dhabi.

Meanwhile, a UAE official told the WSJ that his country is monitoring the export of dual-use products to Russia and is committed to protecting “the integrity of the global financial system.”