Late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan spearheaded the UAE 's transition into the modern age, inculcating the values of moderation, tolerance, mutual respect and understanding and women's empowerment, said Dr. Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.
The minister made the remarks while addressing the Fifth Abu Dhabi Strategic Debate, organized by the Emirates Policy Center (EPC) in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. The forum brought together a large number of decision-makers, academics, and political experts from various world countries.
"While we are observing the Year of Zayed, we recall the values instilled by the Founding Father that has made our country a role model for advanced development and a hub for modern technology. Last month saw the launch of KhalifaSat, the first satellite made completely by Emirati engineers in the UAE. In addition, we will launch the Emirates Mars Mission, a spacecraft set to arrive at Mars in 2021," the minister noted.
Speaking about the ongoing developments in the region, Gargash said changes in "our region are taking place in a rapid and systematic global transformation. Today, the international order is again shifting. New dangers, terrorism, weapons of mass destruction and climate change have emerged, and new centers of strategic and economic powers, such as China, India and the Arab Gulf, are developing."
''Building a strong moderate Arab center to address common regional security challenges is already underway,'' he added. "For this Arab-led approach to be successful, we must continue to develop our own capabilities," he explained. "It is critical that Saudi Arabia and Egypt play a leading role in helping to steer the region in a more positive direction. Their stability is so important for the future of the whole region, and it is also why we welcome the proposal for a Middle East Strategic Alliance � it will allow countries with moderate agendas to work closely with the United States."
He explained that the GCC would be an important part of this alliance. "For the GCC to return to business as usual, it is essential that all members embrace a common doctrine of non-interference in the internal affairs of others," he added. "Since 1979, Iran has been a primary source of sectarianism in the region, expanding its development and proliferation of ballistic missiles. We need a new approach."
"We believe that Iran is threatening the security of the region's countries by supporting armed militias and its proxies, like Hizbollah in Lebanon and Houthis in Yemen in addition to its use of cyberattacks and carrying out acts of terror in the region and beyond, like those witnessed in Europe."
The minister reaffirmed the UAE's support for the US President Donald Trump's policy toward Iran and his strategy to stand up to its aggressive and destabilizing conduct, noting that the US approach should extend to address Iran's regional policies not only its nuclear programme.
"Another pillar for stability is for the region's countries to pursue good governance. Like other peoples of the world, the region's people seek good health, education and job opportunities; they aspire for prosperity and in case youth in our region have not been promised their dreams will come true, they would opt for extremism."
The UAE is a strong supporter for reforms in the region and has provided billions of dollars in backing sustainable development efforts, added the minister, noting that religion is an integral part of "our identity. However, politicizing religion in our region inflames sectarianism and negatively impacts our spiritual values as well as undermines prospects of good governance."
"The UAE believes that there would be no chances for peace and stability in the region without resolving conflicts and disputes. Therefore, the country has played a role in resolving the differences between Ethiopia and Eritrea. The UAE is also backing the UN and USA efforts to bring the war in Yemen to an end. However. it has to be made clear that it's the Houthis who rejected the outcome of the Yemen's National Dialogue and perpetrated a coup against the legitimate government. And the conflict will persist as long as the Houthis are defying the UN resolutions."
"It is now high time for Houthis to de-escalate the situation and start a fresh round of peace negotiations. The ball is now in their court and the international community has to contribute to reaching a peaceful solution to the conflict by getting the Houthis to the negotiating table and cut off military supplies and funding provided to them by Iran."
The minister reaffirmed that the Arab Coalition will spare no effort to streamline the political process and launch peace negotiations. "We will host the UN special envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths in Abu Dhabi for this purpose. We are making significant efforts to help the Yemenis survive this humanitarian crisis. The UAE has provided more than $ one billion to the UN in March and announced a $70 million aid package to pay wages of teachers even inside the areas controlled by the Houthis."
With regards to Syria, Gargash said, the UAE is supporting a ceasefire in Idlib which "we believe would help resolve the conflict. Priority should be given to ensuring international support for Geneva 2012 principles, enabling the Syrians to shoulder their own responsibilities towards those issues like rehabilitation and return of refugees. There is a need for a stronger Arab role in Syria. Iran and all its proxies should be out of Syria."
With regards to Palestine, Gargash said the UAE supports a comprehensive agreement based on the two-State solution on the basis of the pre-1967 borders with Eastern Jerusalem as the Capital of the aspired Palestinian state.
"Time is high for Arab countries to launch initiatives conducive to resolving their own causes, he said, affirming that the UAE will continue to work for strengthening its regional and international partnerships and will remain loyal to the values of late Sheikh Zayed.
Source: UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs