(CNN) — Theresa May on Monday becomes the first British Prime Minister to make an official visit to the United Arab Emirates.
During the three-day trip, May is scheduled to attend a state banquet on Tuesday evening at the Palm Jumeirah in Dubai, her first visit to the Gulf since becoming Prime Minister in July 2016.
Earlier Monday, May and UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, met at a city’s hospital and discussed a range of international issues of shared interest and concern, Downing Street said in a statement.
“The Prime Minister and Vice President discussed how they can deepen the strong partnership between their two countries and identify new ways to support closer commercial and cultural links, tackling issues of shared concern from human trafficking to disaster relief,” the statement said.
Theresa May and Vice President of the United Arab Emirates, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, at the Sheikh Rashid General Hospital in Dubai on September 11, 2017. Credit: Andy Rain/AFP/Getty Images
The meeting between May and Sheikh Mohammed comes as Britain negotiates to leave the European Union.
According to the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the former head of MI6’s European office recently left the country, and would not be involved in talks with May and other dignitaries.
Although Britain does not currently have any embassies in the United Arab Emirates, the country is among those the UK is eyeing as it re-invests its diplomatic networks abroad.
That effort includes the country’s efforts to open up diplomatic representation in Muslim majority nations.
Last month, just before British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was due to visit the UAE for his own trip, Abu Dhabi announced it would open a new embassy in London.