The High Representative/Vice-President and the Minister of Foreign Affairs signed a Cooperation Arrangement between the European External Action Service and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the UAE. This Cooperation Agreement scales up the relation between the EU and the UAE through an intensification of political dialogue and strengthened cooperation on key strategic issues of mutual interest, notably trade facilitation and research. These are key areas to accompany the UAE's Vision 2021 plans to boost growth, accelerate economic diversification and shift towards a knowledge based society. In addition to bilateral relations, the High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini and Sheikh Abdullah also discussed the latest developments in the region, including Yemen, Iran, Syria, the Middle East Peace Process and Libya. The situation in the Sahel was also raised and Mogherini welcomed the UAE's announced pledge of $30 million to the Sahel Joint Force, also in view of the High Level International Conference on the Sahel on 23 February in Brussels.