UAE Foreign Policy’s Meaningful Engagements

Mehmood-Ul-Hassan Khan

H. H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister said on 40th Day National Day that a deliberate and carefully balanced foreign policy, therefore, is necessary to keep the United Arab Emirates (UAE) safe and ensure. UAE foreign policy stands upon three core golden principles envisioned by the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and continued under the presidency of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan: striving for peaceful and friendly relations with all countries, being a good global citizen and responsible member of the international community, and always being ready and willing to help those less fortunate.

Arab world has been facing different gigantic challenges throughout 2011. It has been periods of upheavals and unfriendly heavens, bullets and ballots in most parts of the Arab world. Only few countries succeeded to initiate different effective socio-economic policies to promote political dialogue, cooperation and the resolution of conflicts in the region. UAE has been hub and leader of all these activities in the region, Islamic community and rigorously participated in international affairs.

Most recently, UAE foreign minister clearly sent a strong message to NATO and the West on their air strikes in Pakistan’s mountainous check posts. UAE demanded apology from the NATO with the promise not to repeat it again in the future. UAE appreciated Pakistan role in the war against terror as front line state.

UAE reaffirmed its continued extension of humanitarian assistance to the government and people of Pakistan in the post-flood period. UAE also appealed to international community to support the people of Pakistan in order to alleviate their sufferings caused by the recent deadly flood in the country.

UAE played an important role in the formation of Friends of Democratic Pakistan (FoDP). Initially, UAE pledged $ 300 million. UAE hosted many meetings (ministerial & public-private conference) of FoDP and tried its best to highlight the aim, importance and utility of this forum to the world at large for socio-economic development of Pakistan. Time and again, UAE government reaffirmed its support to Pakistan to overcome its macro-economic difficulties.

In a speech to the United Nations General Assembly in September, the UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs, His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed At Nahyan highlighted UAE highlighted UAE coordinated preventive diplomatic efforts for escalation of tensions and resolution of conflicts occurring in the GCC, MENA and beyond during 2011. Recently, Lieutenant General Sheikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Interior urged to have further bolster cooperation among the GCC security authorities because “the security of the Gulf is the security of the whole world. It emphasized the importance of maritime piracy and stressed the need to have mutual naval cooperation among the GCC states.

UAE stressed the need to have closed cooperation in the fields of security, defence/military, intelligence information sharing, and the last but not the least peaceful nuclear energy cooperation among the GCC states. UAE strongly suggested that the GCC states (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia must get their act together for their collective security umbrella. UAE reaffirmed their commitments to be transparent, open and fair to international regulatory bodies i.e. IAEA for the implementation and execution of their peaceful nuclear energy programs in the region.

United Arab Emirates played remarkable job to bring peace in boiling Egypt and troubling Tunisia. UAE brotherly offered its diplomatic support to restore security, social and economic development and stability in these countries. UAE has been has firm believer in collective line of action. It played an active role in the UN approved air strike campaign to protect civilians in Libya from the widening military crisis among the different factions as well provided generous humanitarian assistance for the war ragged people. Moreover, it was among the first countries to accept the National Transitional Council for the betterment of its struggling people.

UAE rigorously coordinated with Saudi Arabia to bring back peace in Syria in order to stop ongoing socio-politico saga. It tried its levels best to convinced Syrian government for the carrying out of meaningful political dialogue and reforms to fulfill the aspirations of its own people.

UAE along with Saudi Arabia successfully protected the sovereignty of Bahrain by sending troops in its time of national crisis. UAE strongly denounced foreign intervention in the Bahrain and honestly supported dialogue process. It was actively engaged in attempts to negotiate a peaceful resolution of conflicts in Yemen.

UAE reassured its commitments for the progress and prosperity of the people of Iraq through comprehensive national reconciliation without any discrimination. It also reiterated the necessity to respect the territorial integrity, sovereignty, independence of Iraq, and furthermore, safeguarding its Arab and Islamic identity..

UAE supported the efforts of the Lebanese government towards achieving security, stability and national unity and called for respecting the sovereignty of the Lebanese state and for ceasing the repeated Israeli violations of the Lebanese airspace, waters, territories and regional safety in accordance with the Security Council Resolution 1701.

Humanitarian assistance has been one of the salient features of the UAE foreign endeavors 1971. UAE government, charities and its people generously engaged in different humanitarian assistance programs around the globe for lessening the sufferings of most affected people from natural calamities. UAE significantly contributed humanitarian assistance activities in Australian, New Zealand, Palestine, Libya, Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Thailand, Afghanistan and the last but not the least Pakistan. UAE is now the second largest non-DAC donor of humanitarian aid since 2004.

UAE peacekeeping missions brought signs of peace, hope and life to conflict tattered countries in the world. It vigorously extended its effective contributions in peacekeeping operations, protecting civilians, and re-building efforts for states which have just emerged from violent armed conflicts. Bosnia, Somalia, Afghanistan and Sudan are the prime examples. UAE peacekeeping missions has been gained recognition and acknowledgment
from the different peacekeeping organs. In Afghanistan, UAE provided over US $ 1.5 billion dollars over the last decade for rehabilitation and reconstruction programs. It built schools, health clinics, roads, bridges, community centers and mosques.

Foreign Ministers of Gulf Cooperation Council Concluded their 120th ministerial session held in Jeddah under the chairmanship of UAE Foreign Minister HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The joint declaration contained UAE principal position on issues relating to fight against terrorism, relations with Iran, the Iranian nuclear file, the current Arab situation including the Palestinian issue and the Arab-Israeli conflict as well as the Yemeni, Iraqi, Syrian, Libyan, Lebanese, Sudanese, South Sudanese and Somali issues.

During 2011, once again through its rigorous diplomatic efforts, the world at large supported UAE genuine cause and principal stance on its three islands, Abu Musa, Greater and Lesser Tumb occupied by Iran since 1971. UAE is ready to resolve the issue through bilateral negotiations or through referral to the International Court of Justice.

UAE role in Middle East region is highly appreciated. In his speech to United Nations General Assembly in September, the UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs, His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Nahyan showed UAE great concerns at the deteriorating conditions of the Palestinian people. It expressed its full support for the Palestine Authority in its attempt to obtain membership of the United Nations. UAE initiated Arab Peace drive for achieving a peaceful settlement of the Israel-Palestine issue based on the relevant international resolutions that will lead to a just and lasting peace and to the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.

In recently held extraordinary meeting Arab Finance Ministers appreciated UAE initiative of development. They all endorsed the UAE initiative for more economic and financial reforms with the participation of the national, regional and international corporations. Obaid Al Tayer, UAE State Minister for Financial Affairs called for closer economic and banking cooperation within the region for the creation of more employment, sustainable development and social development.

Concluding Remarks

Pragmatic foreign policy played very important role in the socio-economic prosperity of the United Arab Emirates. Its commercial diplomacy opened new markets for greater cooperation and collaboration.

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