02/24/2021, 16.37
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
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First arms fair during COVID-19 pandemic in Abu Dhabi

Stronger than the pandemic, IDEX 2021 is taking place between 21 to 25 February. Some 70,000 visitors and 900 exhibitors are expected. The UAE has signed deals worth US .36 billion. Military spending in the Mideast has dropped by 10 per cent because of the pandemic and the decline in oil prices.

 

Abu Dhabi (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The arms trade is stronger than the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, despite the ongoing worldwide health emergency, the Mideast’s first annual arms fair is currently underway in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Opening with pomp, IDEX 2021 is the most important event dedicated to military technology in the region, which is running in parallel with Naval Defence and Maritime Security Exhibition (NAVDEX) 2021.

Tens of thousands of people are expected, socially distanced with masks and personal sanitisers. To make easier for people to attend the event, organisers have boosted security measures and are strictly enforcing health restrictions, except for international visitors who were not required to submit to mandatory quarantine.

The 2021 International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX), which is being held from 21 to 25 February at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), represents the most important exhibit of the defence and security industry in the Middle East and Africa region.

Even during the current pandemic, the event has attracted about 900 exhibitors and is expected to bring in 70,000 local and international visitors from all over the world.

On the side-lines, the UAE signed arms agreements with local and international companies worth US$ 1.36 billion for state-of-the-art weapons destined to its Armed Forces.

However, arms sales in the Mideast have declined due to the global health emergency and the collapse in oil prices. The drop in arms spending by Gulf nations is expected to be around 10 per cent with sales not expected to rebound to pre-pandemic levels before 2024.

UAE officials, including Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, attended the fair.

The United States, the world's largest exporter of weapons, is not present, except for a few US companies who are keeping a low profile.

China and Saudi Arabia are instead present big times. The latter is promoting its own economic and energy programme called Vision 2030.

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