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Lord Mandelson Tours at the Top, but Says Dubai is Running Short on Time to Repay its Debts


Dubai, United Arab Emirates : 15 February 2010

Lord Mandelson, the UK’s Minister for Business, Innovation and Skills, toured the observation deck of the Burj Khalifa today and spent 45 minutes taking in the view from the top.  He was accompanied on the visit by Mr Abdulla Lahej, Executive Director of Emaar Properties, owners of the tower which is the world’s tallest building.

However things were a little less relaxed yesterday, when at a lunch attended by British businesses operating in the region, Lord Mandelson urged Dubai World (the Emirate conglomerate besieged with debt problems) to reach agreement on resettling its debts or to risk damaging its international reputation.

The British minister warned that time was ‘running out’ for the Emirate and that “the current uncertainties and lack of agreement can’t go on for much longer. As we approach decisions, Dubai has to be as open as possible on talks with banks and construction companies.”

Dubai World owes a number of UK companies millions of pounds because of unpaid bills and has an estimated £22 billion worth of debts overall.

Mandelson’s comments are the most outspoken so far from any UK minister on the subject of Dubai’s finances, but come at a time when concerns are increasing about Dubai’s ability to restructure its sizeable debt and reach agreement with the banks.

Critics pointed out that there were no lessons to be learnt from the British, as the UK economy has only just emerged from recession itself, with a meager growth of 0.1%.

Sarah, O’Connell, Gulf Jobs Market News

Paul Holdsworth, Staff Writer, Gulf Jobs Market News
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