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UAE lifts visa requirements on Canadians signalling end of diplomatic dust-up

Canada's Foreign Minister John Baird, right, shakes hands with the United Arab Emirates’ Ambassador to Canada Mohammed Saif Helal Al Shehhi after making a statement at the Lester B. Pearson Building in Ottawa May 28, 2013.

CHRIS WATTIE/REUTERS

Canadian passport holders travelling to the United Arab Emirates will no longer require visas in advance.

The move marks the end of a diplomatic dust-up over Canadian landing rights for UAE-based airlines, which began in 2010.

The dispute eventually prompted the closure of a key Canadian Forces staging base outside Dubai and the imposition of visa requirements for Canadians.

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But Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird and his UAE counterpart signalled the end of the visa regime during a meeting in Abu Dhabi April.

In a statement Tuesday, the UAE's ambassador to Canada said he looks forward to continuing to build a strategic partnership between the two countries.

Baird says the removal of visa requirements as of Saturday is an important signal that bilateral relations between the two countries are getting stronger.

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