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MONTEVIDEO: Peru plans to open an embassy in the UAE after several years of delays.

Peru’s Foreign Ministry published a decree on Friday announcing the new embassy in Abu Dhabi. The Latin American country is currently represented by a consulate in Dubai.

The move is part of a Peruvian government strategy to increase the number of embassies in African and Middle Eastern countries. The embassy in Abu Dhabi will be the seventh in the Middle East and North Africa.

The 2020-2026 strategy envisions new embassies and consulates to boost Peru’s trade presence in the region and to attract investment.

“Peruvian diplomacy has the challenge of building a political and economic relationship with Gulf states that’s mutually beneficial and provides opportunities for different segments of the economy,” Gustavo Lembcke, head of Africa, the Middle East and Gulf states at the Foreign Ministry, told Arab News.

Oscar Maurtua, president of the Peruvian International Law Society and a former foreign minister, told Arab News: “Peru has strong ties with the UAE. It’s an important source of investment, and we need to have an embassy there to continue building our relationship.”

Peru had originally planned to open the embassy in Abu Dhabi in 2020, but it was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the new plan, the consulate in Dubai will be in charge of setting up the embassy. An ambassador will be named in the second half of this year.

The UAE, which opened an embassy in Peru in 2016, is the Latin American country’s top commercial partner in the MENA region.

Peru exported $1.03 billion to the UAE in 2023 and imported $44 million from the Gulf state, according to Peru’s Trade Ministry.

The bulk of Peru’s exports were gold, with the UAE the fifth-largest importer of Peruvian gold last year.

Peru is the world’s ninth-largest producer of gold, the second-largest producer of copper, and among the top five producers of lead, silver, tin and zinc.

It has South America’s only Pacific coast liquefied natural gas export plant. Natural gas for that plant comes from the Camisea gas fields, in which Algeria’s national state-owned oil company Sonatrach has a 10 percent share.

While the UAE does not export substantial amounts to Peru, UAE-based DP World is the largest port operator in the Latin American country, and is currently completing a $350 million expansion of its pier at Peru’s Port of Callao.

Peru’s second-largest trading partner in the MENA region is Saudi Arabia, with bilateral trade at $44 million in 2023 — less than half the previous year.

Among Arab states, Peru has embassies in Algeria, Egypt, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

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