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UAE and Canada end row over aviation rights

Gulf state lifts visa fees for Canadian citizens, marking the end of a three-year old dispute.

Last Modified: 03 Apr 2013 20:32
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The announcement followed a meeting between Baird, left, and Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, far right [WAM/AFP]

The United Arab Emirates has lifted an exclusive visa requirement for Canadian citizens, ending a three-year row between the two countries over aviation rights.

John Baird, Canadian foreign affairs minister, met his UAE counterpart Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Tuesday during a visit to the Middle East and agreed to restore the visa regime.

The two countries, which have been at odds over landing rights in Canada for UAE-based carriers, agreed to "facilitate travel requirements to increase business, tourism and joint prosperity" for citizens of both countries.

"We will be working to formalise this in the next few months and the details will follow from [Abdullah bin Zayed]'s formal announcement that we return to the previous visa regime that pre-existed the challenging time in our relationship," Baird said.

Since January 2011, the UAE charged Canadians $1,000 for a six-month multiple entrance visa, while three-month and one-month visas cost $500 and $250 respectively.

Canada was forced to close a military base in Dubai, which was part of a key supply route to Afghanistan, after refusing to grant the UAE's two national carriers, Etihad and Emirates, more landing rights.

Baird was Canada's transport minister at the time.

According to the UAE, the visa-fee was implemented when more than 25,000 Canadians were living in the UAE and bilateral trade was valued at $1.5bn annually.

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Source:
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