King Tupou VI has visited the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi the largest in the country as part of an opening ceremony to celebrate Tonga’s new embassy in United Arab Emirates.
The king arrived about 10 years since UEA Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Abdulla arrived in Tonga in 2010 following the establishment of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) project.
The Emirates, one of the richest of the Arabian Gulf states, has committed US$50 million UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund (UAE-PPF) for the development of the project for 10 Pacific Island countries including Tonga.
The La’ā Lahi, ‘Big Sun’ solar plant in Tonga, commissioned in November 2013, was the first project to receive funding from the UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund.
Since last year UAE passport holders have been exempt from needed a visitor’s visa.
King Tupou VI praised the UAE’s efforts to promote the values of tolerance and peaceful co-existence between world peoples, and commended the development aid from UAE to Tonga, a statement said.
The opening of the embassy means Tonga joining the Expo 2020 which will be held in Dubai will have better chances in terms of communications and hosting.
The King was accompanied by her daughter Princess Angelika Lātūfuipeka Tuku’aho and members of a Tongan delegation.
The royal tour was also given an insight into the influence of Islamic history on its design and architecture.
The princess wore the abaya, a long loose-fitting robe used to cover Saudi women bodies in public.