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Berkshire Hathaway's reinsurance unit sets up Mideast office in Dubai

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FILE PHOTO: A general view of the Burj Khalifa and the downtown skyline in Dubai
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DUBAI (Reuters) - The General Reinsurance unit of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc has set up a Middle East office in Dubai, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) said on Monday.

Gen Re will provide life and health reinsurance services across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), DIFC said.

Dubai's status as the regional business and financial centre is being challenged by neighbouring Saudi Arabia, which has issued an ultimatum to foreign companies saying they should move their regional headquarters to the kingdom by the end of 2023 or risk losing out government contracts.

Reinsurers provide protection for traditional insurers.

"MENA is a key strategic region for us, and with the new office in DIFC, we will benefit from the proximity to clients in the United Arab Emirates and other GCC countries," said Ulrich Pasdika, a member of the board of executive directors of General Reinsurance.

Saudi Arabia said last month it had licensed 44 international companies to set up regional headquarters in the capital Riyadh. []

Digital payments provider Visa this month established in Dubai its headquarters for Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa.

(Reporting by Davide Barbuscia; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)