BERLIN - His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, attended a dinner hostedin his honour by Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, at the Federal Chancellery in Berlin on Wednesday.

In a pre-event statement, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed expressed his delight at visiting the friendly Federal Republic of Germany.

''I am extremely happy to be here in Germany as we are celebrating the 15th anniversary of signing our Strategic Partnership Agreement. The trade exchange at that time was US$ 3 billion and now it is close to US$ 14 billion,'' H.H. said. ''Our visit to Germany confirms that we have a new roadmap for another 15 years. We are looking forward to double our trade exchange.''''We have discussed a variety of issues and we agree on many of them. We hope to see our bilateral relations and cooperation getting stronger,'' he added.

Chancellor Merkel warmly welcomed the visit of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince to Berlin since his last trip in 2016 and her visit to the UAE in 2017.

She said her talks with Sheikh Mohamed tackled a wide range of bilateral issues, most notably the celebration of the 15-year-old strategic partnership between the two countries.

''Our talks today underscore our commitment to deepen our bilateral ties, a goal which clearly accentuated by the Joint Statement issued on Wednesday on 'Advancing towards a more Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between the United Arab Emirates and the Federal Republic of Germany'.

She added that meeting between Sheikh Mohamed and the German economy minister and business community reflected the mutual desire to expand and enhance the economic relations.

According to her, one million German visitors travel to the UAE every year, an indication of close communication between the two countries.

On the Year of Tolerance, the German leader said:'' It is very important to us. Pope Francis, the head of Catholic Church, made his maiden papal journey to the UAE. The country also hosted the2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games, which saw wide participation from the Emiratis and residents,'' she noted.

The German Chancellor added that her talks with Sheikh Mohamed also stressed the importance of extending bridges between different religions and groups and the need for countering international terrorism, extremism and hatred through understanding between peoples.

She mentioned the economic climate and the investment opportunities in the UAE, which can contribute to push bilateral cooperation forward.

''According to Transparency International - the Global Anti-Corruption Coalition - the UAE plays a leading role in fighting corruption in the region and this is interested to the German companies and new investment,'' she continued.

Addressing regional security, she said:'' The two countries have more options of greater cooperation in the region, especially the situation in Syria, Libya and Yemen.''The German leader voiced her concern over the Iran's missile programme and Tehran's inbtereference in Syria. On Iran's nuclear deal, she acknowledged the divergent views but said: ''We are in favour of political, peaceful solutions.''

Copyright Emirates News Agency (WAM) 2019.