WAM Abu Dhabi, 19th May 2013 (WAM) — The UAE Foreign Minister, H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, today strongly criticised a statement issued yesterday by Iran’s foreign ministry on sisterly Bahrain.
”Our Iranian neighbours have a real problem in understanding and identifying the way in which they deal with their neighbours,” Sheikh Abdullah told a press conference held jointly with his Australian counterpart Bob Carr.
”I understand that Iran is holding local elections. Yet it is still throwing its domestic troubles out into other states. Such an act is not that of a good neighbour, who should be a normal neighbour complying with Islamic Sharia and the teachings of the Prophet (PBUH),” Sheikh Abdullah added.
”The Islamic Republic of Iran should reconsider its methods and ways of dealing with its neighbours,” he said, adding that its policy has nothing to do with neighbourliness and Islam.
Expressing his hope that Carr’s visit would take UAE-Australia ties to new heights in all fields, Sheikh Abdullah said Australia is a friend that has grown to become a large economic partner of the UAE in less than 20 years.
The UAE foreign minister noted that the UAE has maintained longstanding ties with Australia which have evolved steadily over the years in all fields.
” Thousands of Emirati students have graduated from universities in Australia and other thousands are still studying there, ” he said. “Thousands of Emirati tourists are visiting Australia every year,” he added, praising the efforts made by Carr and his government to enhance relations with the UAE.
On the situation in Syria, the UAE foreign minister said:” Australia plays an important role in the UN Security Council through backing resolutions that serve the interests of the Syrian people and confront the tyrant regime which represses its people.” Sheikh Abdullah said that the international community was responsible for what is happening in Syria, commenting :”The international community should not remain silent and helpless, failing to respond to the humanitarian issues.” ”How assistance can be delivered to the Syrian people in the absence of an agreed UN Security Council resolution in that respect? ” Sheikh Abdullah asked.
”If it’s difficult for the UNSC to pass such a resolution, how can the major powers in the council address the second Geneva conference? ” he said, calling for a serious political action by all parties to stop the war machine in Damascus.
Answering a question about the possibility of a waiver of visa requirements for UAE citizens wishing to visit Australia, Sheikh Abdullah said:” Today, we have the opportunity to discuss this issue and we have received positive indicators from the Australian foreign minister. The process requires more time and consultations between the two countries.” For his part, Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr hailed the UAE-Australia ties as ”strong and firm. ” Australia, he noted, is the largest economic partner of the UAE with trade exchange reaching US$ 6 billion. Nearly 16,000 Australians are living and working in the UAE.
There are more than 125 flights per week between the two countries He added that Australia is encouraging UAE students to visit it and join its universities. Processing of a student visa now only takes 14 days.
Speaking about Syria, Mr. Carr said Australia is concerned with the humanitarian crisis there, which is one of the worst worldwide.
He said that Australia was working with Syria’s neighbours to assess the impact of receiving Syrian refugees.
He added that Australia is in favour of a peaceful transition of power in Syria and a plan for a future democratic system.
Australia, he added, wanted to offer a peaceful solution to the suffering of Syrians. Carr appealed to all parties involved in the Syrian crisis not to attack hospitals or civilians and to allow delivery of medical supplies.
Earlier, Sheikh Abdullah and Carr explored prospects of relations of cooperation and friendship and adequate ways of enhancing them to serve mutual interests.
The two ministers also exchanged views on the latest developments at regional and international levels and reviewed a variety of issues of mutual concern.
At the end of the meeting, they signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish a joint committee to strengthen bilateral cooperation through the holding of high-level meetings.