UAE firm over counter-terrorism and its foreign policy matches international conventions, says Abdullah bin Zayed

ABU DHABI: H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE Foreign Minister, has said that the positive role played by the UAE in regional and international forums is a cumulative balance of its diplomatic performance and its relations with the world, based on United Nations’ conventions and international laws that promote justice, stability, development, and international security and peace.

Sheikh Abdullah told the London-based ‘al-Hayat newspaper’ in an interview on the occasion of the UAE’s 43rd national day, observed on 2nd December, that the UAE’s attitude on counter-terrorism has been firm and has not changed over decades as the region has been driven by sectarianism and violence that tears apart its social fabric.

He said the Custodian of The Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, had restored the compass of joint activity by the GCC states to its correct direction during the Riyadh extraordinary Summit held last month. He cited the important strategic developments in the fraternal historic relations between Abu Dhabi and Riyadh.

The UAE Foreign Minister said that foreign policy does not move on its own, but responds to the changing and renewable global system. This, he said, requires deep understanding and vision based on countries “taking bold decisions whenever necessary to preserve our national interests.” He added that the positive participation of the UAE in the international coalition on counter-terrorism reflects this vision through its participation in the global counter-terrorism coalition, the United Nations Security Council and the Regional Meeting for Counter-terrorism in Jeddah, which reached a unified regional and international common vision on counter-terrorism in terms of security and economic and intellectual aspects..

He added that the UAE had also participated at the International Conference on Peace and Security in Iraq, held in Paris and had initiated the setting up of The International Centre of Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism (Hedaya), in Abu Dhabi Regarding the UAE’s role in counter-terrorism activity over the last two years, Sheikh Abdullah said, “Our position on counter-terrorism and on tackling all forms of terrorism has been firm for decades, and has been translated into cooperation and coordination with the international community, to tackle it in terms of security and at an intellectual level, as well as providing support to fight it.

Sheikh Abdullah said that the UAE does not only see terrorism as a violation of human rights, but also as a threat to countries’ values, since it tears apart the social fabric, and causes insecurity and instability. Terrorism also demolishes the achievements of urban development and elements of the heritage of mankind, he said.

He noted the region is experiencing all forms of extremism, terrorism, and sectarianism that pose serious threats to “our national security and international security and peace”.

He added that the federal law on counter-terrorism has been issued to punish those who commit terrorist acts or incite them. The law was followed by agreeing on the Cabinet resolution to implement the provisions of the counter-terrorism law, while a list designating a number of terrorist organisations had been issued, he noted.

On his views about the opening of a new page in the relations between the GCC states in the wake of the Riyadh Summit, Sheikh Abdullah said that “the UAE believes the link with neighbours is a commitment and a priority in our foreign policy that exceeds limits of history and geography given the blood and religious ties.” He added that the UAE has been keen since the inception of the GCC to support GCC joint work and attitudes that revitalise it in the best interest of the GCC peoples.

Sheikh Abdullah referred to the growth of the historic and fraternal ties between the UAE and Saudi Arabia with the view to achieve joint strategic interests and strengthen GCC joint work. He attributed this development to active diplomacy, consultations, mutual visits and contacts at the level of the leaders, and the agreement to set up the joint higher committee to implement future strategic visions between the two countries, and coordinate on the tackling of challenges in the region.

The UAE Foreign Minister reiterated that the success of the Riyadh Summit can be attributed to the patience, frankness and transparency of King Abdullah to achieve the reconciliation, to unite the GCC and to bring views closer together regarding the serious challenges facing the region, as well as the need for strengthening the GCC work in such a way that it can extend to the whole Arab world.

He added that King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is a historic leader who has been playing a pioneering role in GCC joint work, Arab joint work, unity and solidarity.

Sheikh Abdullah said that President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan in his statement on the UAE’s 43rd National Day had expressed his appreciation for the success of the initiative of King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, whose wisdom had brought together all the GCC leaders in the extraordinary summit that had put an end to differences and had strengthened the GCC house.

He noted that the participation of UAE in the next GCC Summit in December in Doha reflects the UAE’s commitment to the collective security and integration of the GCC to achieve the aspirations of its people in terms of stability and prosperity and safeguarding of its achievements.