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U.S. applauds Dubai as it lands Middle East's first World Expo

By CNN Staff
updated 3:06 PM EST, Fri November 29, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • UAE beats out Russia, Brazil and Turkey for 2020 World Expo
  • This "underscores the UAE's unique role as a leader in innovation," U.S. official says
  • Event will run from October 20, 2020, to April 10, 2021

(CNN) -- The United States on Friday congratulated the United Arab Emirates on landing the 2020 World Expo trade exhibition -- the first time that a Middle Eastern nation will host the event.

The UAE on Thursday won its bid to host the six-month event in Dubai, beating out Russia, Brazil and Turkey.

"This is a significant first as the UAE serves not only as the region's business hub, but also as a global crossroads for a larger region including Africa and Asia, and it underscores the UAE's unique role as a leader in innovation and entrepreneurship," U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said in a statement released Friday by the White House.

The event will run from October 20, 2020, to April 10, 2021.

"Dubai's Expo 2020 will permanently change the way the world looks at Dubai, the UAE and the Gulf. It means that the world will see Dubai as a leading centre of global innovation and one of the world's natural hubs for business and intellectual leadership," said a Friday editorial in the UAE-based, English-language Gulf News.

World Expos are billed as events where visitors can discover cultures and innovations from around the world. The last expo, in Shanghai, China, attracted 73 million visitors, according to the Bureau International des Expositions, the group that oversees the events.

The UAE is a federation of seven emirates, with Abu Dhabi and Dubai being the two largest.

The next World Expo is scheduled for Milan, Italy, in 2015.

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CNN's Nana Karikari-apau contributed to this report.

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