Queen emphasises trade relations with UAE

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Even more trade and even better relations; that is what Queen Beatrix’s state visit to the United Arab Emirates is intended to achieve.

Dutch Economic Affairs Minister Maxime Verhagen made this clear during a meeting with CEOs of Dutch and UAE businesses on the second day of the Queen’s visit. The Queen, Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Máxima underlined its importance by attending part of the round table discussion.

On Monday, Queen Beatrix will meet representatives of the Dutch expat community in Dubai and pay a visit to the emir of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is also Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates. His wife Haya, daughter of the late king Hussein of Jordan, gave birth to son Zayed last week.

On Sunday, the first day of the royal visit, both Queen Beatrix and Princess Máxima wore headscarves over their hats when they visited the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, which prompted Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders to complain that the queen was lending legitimacy to the oppression of women under Islam.

However, the democrat D66 party was quick to point out that Mr Wilders himself wears a yarmulke when he visits the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. Green Left MP Tofik Dibi not only slammed Mr Wilders’ comments about the queen’s dress but also the responses to them as a waste of time.

Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal said that the queen wore a headscarf out of respect for the customs, traditions and conventions of Islam:

“Not to have worn one during a visit to a mosque wasn’t an option. In that case, the invitation to visit to the mosque, one of the most important in the United Arab Emirates, would have to have been refused,” explained Mr Rosenthal.

He also pointed out that Queen Beatrix also adjusts the way she dresses when she visits synagogues and cathedrals.