The Swiss city of Geneva has signed a cooperation agreement with Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, governing economic and cultural ties.
Geneva's mayor, Pierre Muller, and the director general of the Dubai municipality, Qassim Sultan, signed the pact at a ceremony in Dubai on Wednesday.
The deal covers the economy, tourism and culture, and aims to facilitate investment between the two cities.
"Geneva is a popular destination for citizens of the UAE," Muller told swissinfo. "Many come during the summer to escape the heat of the Gulf, and many also do business there. It's good to reinforce that with this agreement."
Geneva city and tourism officials also visited the UAE-based airline, Emirates, to discuss the start of regular direct flights to Geneva airport. Details of the service are expected to be released within the first half of 2001.
Around 20,000 passengers a year from the UAE pass through Geneva airport, with the majority coming from Dubai.
The agreement was finalised at the "Swiss Horizons - Swiss Presence in the Gulf" conference and exhibition, which runs until Thursday.
by Tom O'Brien