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UAE has taken effective steps to deal with Coronavirus pandemic: Gargash

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ABU DHABI, 10th November, 2020 (WAM) — Dr. Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, on Monday said that the Emirati leadership has taken timely and proportionate steps to deal with the Coronavirus pandemic to protect people’s health, as well as implemented measures to mitigate the negative economic impacts of the pandemic.
He pointed out that the UAE has provided medical supplies to a total of 118 countries, benefiting more than 1.5 million health workers around the world.
Dr. Gargash added that, importantly, the UAE insisted that wider political considerations should not be taken into account when providing humanitarian assistance, and that is why the UAE did not hesitate to provide aid to Iran when it needed it.
The UAE Minister of State said in the keynote speech in the 7th Abu Dhabi Strategic Debate organised virtually by the Emirates Policy Centre that as the UAE nears its 50th anniversary, the country continues to do what has always done over the last half century: to innovate, break new ground and prepare for the future.
He pointed out that this year’s most important technological developments and the most significant political development in the Arab world, all occurred in the UAE, starting from the launch of the Emirates Hope Probe on its journey to Mars; to becoming the first Arab nation to start operating a peaceful nuclear power plant; and ending with signing of the Abraham Accords with Israel.
As far as international affairs are concerned, Gargash reiterated that the UAE will be guided by its long-standing commitment to multilateralism, anti-extremism, respect for national sovereignty, peaceful resolution of conflict, good governance and sustainable development.
He added that as a candidate for a non-permanent UN Security Council seat in 2022-23, the UAE plans to use the opportunity to contribute to reinforcing confidence in the multilateral system, exercising a principled approach rooted in the UN Charter.
On regional affairs, Dr. Gargash said that Iran and Turkey have become increasingly aligned in the region in using foreign interference as a tool to advance their expansionist agendas. He pointed out that Iranian arms continue to flow into Yemen and Iranian-backed militias persist in undermining the security of various Arab countries.
Gargash said that in Libya, Turkey has bolstered Islamist forces and increased the risk that mercenaries and radical militias exploit the security vacuum on the ground.
He affirmed that the UAE cannot accept the destabilising nature of Iran and Turkey’s policies, but does not seek confrontation, pointing out that the UAE always works with friends and allies, and encourages constructive dialogue and positive diplomatic engagement.
Gargash reiterated that the UAE remains committed to working towards political solutions to conflicts, adding that in Yemen, the UAE will maintain its support for the Arab Coalition in seeking a comprehensive ceasefire that paves the way towards a lasting political solution.
He affirmed that the UAE also strongly supports UN-led efforts in Libya and welcomes the recent agreement on a permanent ceasefire, as well as the launch of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum, adding that the UAE consistently supported the UN-led process for achieving a solution to the Libya conflict through peaceful dialogue.
Dr. Gargash said that the UAE views with profound concern the recent atrocious violent acts in European cities, reiterating that these extremist, transnational ideological movements do not represent Islam in any way. He called for distinguishing between the utilisation of Islam as a political tool and Islam as a universal religion.
As far as the Emirati-Israeli peace treaty is concerned, Dr. Gargash said it was a sovereign national decision and was not targeted at any other country, adding, "Instead, it was a decision born out of tolerance and openness, and a desire to reduce polarisation in the region. It was a decision born out of a desire for a much-needed strategic shift and a new pragmatic vision. And it was a decision that required real courage from our leadership: maintaining the status quo was clearly the easier option, but it would not have offered better prospects for anyone."
"The UAE-Israel peace accord does not diminish in any way our concern about the plight of the Palestinian people. The UAE continues to see it as imperative that a just and comprehensive peace is reached. But ultimately the Palestinians and Israelis are the ones who will need to decide on the shape of that peace. The UAE stands ready to support that in any way it can," the UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs added.
Dr. Gargash also congratulated President-elect, Joe Biden for winning latest Presidential elections. He added that the UAE looks forward to working with the new administration to deepen the UAE-US relationships as these ties are built on common interests, shared values and close partnership and they cross parties and span administrations.
"The US engagement and leadership remains irreplaceable in the Middle East and the Abrahamic Accords also reflect a bipartisan consensus in the US as they were facilitated by President Trump’s administration and supported by the President-Elect, Joe Biden," the Minister added.
In the opening remarks, Dr. Ebtesam Al Ketbi, President of Emirates Policy Centre, suggested that the year 2020 has exposed new fault-lines, forged new relationships, and unraveled new potentials. The COVID-19 pandemic, the US presidential election, and the signing of the UAE-Israeli treaty have created new dynamics that will have a decisive role in shaping the features of the future of the global and regional orders.
Dr. Al Ketbi pointed out that, geo-politically, the decline of the unipolar world order has led to a return of great power competition as part of unique contexts and facts. Despite the need for proactively reacting to this environment with innovation and fortitude, global institutions have been fraught with indecision and losing sight of the bigger picture.
"The US latest elections have been further evidence that the whole world is affected by the internal shifts in the US even though these polls highlighted the acute polarisation and ideological and ethnic divisions inside the US community," Dr. Al Ketbi said.
Elsewhere, Dr. Al Ketbi indicated that the UAE has realised that it has to take a brave decision based on political rationality to find a solution to current stalemate in the region and therefore, has decided to present a new model for building bridges among regional powers with a new perspective, which eventually led to the conclusion of this treaty.
On the other hand, the Abraham Accords and the Emirati-Israeli peace treaty have been decisive evidence that resilience and vitality are key elements of response to challenges. In order to overcome these challenges/crises and resolve intractable conflicts in Middle Eastern countries and societies, there is a need for an innovative, brave, political and moral vision that contributes to peace-building, stability and hope for the people in the region," President of EPC explained.
It is important to note that this year’s ADSD will be held virtually over three days and in eight discussion panels with the participation of more than 20 strategic experts, researchers and policy -makers from all over the world.