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Erdogan receives rare visit from UAE rivals

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday held rare talks with a visiting delegation from the United Arab Emirates, extending Ankara’s effort to mend fences with Middle Eastern rivals.

The UAE team was headed by the oil-rich Gulf state’s national security adviser, Tahnoun bin Zayed, the two sides said in brief statements, adding that trade and economic investments were discussed.

The two sides have suffered from years of difficult relations, backing opposing sides in the conflict in Libya and sparring on other regional issues.

In a televised interview, Erdogan said talks held with Abu Dhabi for the last couple of months and led by the Turkish intelligence had reached a certain stage.

“I believe that there will be some more talks in the coming process,” he said.

“We are in favour of the main actors in the region directly negotiating and solving the problems.”

The UAE is also supporting Greece’s energy claims in disputed eastern Mediterranean waters that Turkey pushed into searching for new natural gas deposits last year.

But Erdogan has made efforts to reach out to a range of regional rivals, including Egypt, as he tries to break out of a growing diplomatic isolation that has cooled foreign investors in Turkey’s fragile economy.

Erdogan’s offices noted that the two sides discussed “UAE investments in Turkey.”