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Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has spoken by phone with the UAE’s de facto ruler, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Erdogan’s office said on Tuesday, in a fresh sign of improving ties between the regional rivals.

“Relations between the countries and regional issues were discussed in the talks,” the statement said. It did not specify when the talks took place.

Erdogan had said two weeks ago after a rare meeting with a senior UAE official that the two countries had made progress in improving relations, which could lead to significant UAE investment in Turkey.

Ankara has moved to ease tensions with several Arab powers over the conflict in Libya, internal Gulf disputes and rival claims to Eastern Mediterranean waters.

Ankara and Abu Dhabi have backed rival ideological groups for years, with Turkey supporting Islamist movements, especially the Muslim Brotherhood which took part in the “Arab spring” uprisings in a bid to overthrow autocrats in the region. Wealthy Gulf leaders worry such unrest would reach home.

UAE’s state news agency WAM said both leaders discussed “the prospects of reinforcing the relations between the two nations in a way that serves their common interests and their two peoples.”

Erdogan’s talks two weeks ago were with UAE National Security Adviser Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan and focused on economic cooperation.

Turkey last year accused the UAE of bringing chaos to the Middle East through interventions in Libya and Yemen, while the UAE and several other countries criticised Turkey’s military actions.

Reuters

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