In his resignation letter to Cabinet Office boss Alex Chisholm, Aiken said “after serving five prime ministers, four governments and through three elections, two referendums, a pandemic and a war I feel I have done my bit for now.”
He added: “I feel privileged to have served the Cabinet Office and worked with many talented and committed colleagues.”
But the senior official’s move may raise eyebrows in Westminster given concerns about the UAE’s human rights record.
Amnesty International accused the country in 2022 of putting in place rules which “significantly curtail freedom of expression and assembly” and argued that the UAE was engaged in the arbitrary detention of prisoners.
In December, the UAE welcomed Russian President Vladimir Putin to the state with a 21-gun salute, with the country’s royal ruler Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan describing Putin as a “dear friend.”
The U.K. government is meanwhile facing pressure from Conservative MPs to block a takeover bid from a UAE-backed firm attempting to buy up the Telegraph and Spectator newspapers.