The UAE highlighted the necessity of coordinating Arab action to counter the ongoing regional interferences in the internal affairs of Arab countries.
The UAE also stressed the necessity for all Arab countries to achieve joint understanding and coordination, to protect their unity and political regimes against foreign meddling.
This statement was made during the speech of Dr. Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, while heading the UAE’s delegation in the 151st ordinary session of the Arab League Council, which was held yesterday in Cairo.
Dr. Gargash called on Iran to positively respond to the UAE’s repeated peaceful calls to reach a solution to its occupation of the three Emirati islands of Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa.
Gargash also affirmed that solving this issue is only possible through dialogue and direct negotiations, or through international arbitration, in accordance with the United Nations, UN, Charter and international law.
“We can see that Iran’s interference in the internal affairs of the Arab countries is continuing, and there are several Iranian tools and many examples, such as the reports from Yemen. The crisis in Yemen is an example of Iran’s interference,” Dr. Anwar Gargash said.
“It is natural to wish for normal relations with your neighbours, most notably with Iran, and we affirm that any natural relations must be based on clear principles that respect the sovereignty and reject interfering in internal affairs,” he added.
“The Stockholm Agreement, which was signed on 13th December, 2018, was a key opportunity to turn the Yemeni crisis from military part to a political one, and there is no doubt that this agreement is the outcome of the military pressure exerted by the Arab Coalition Forces and the legitimate Yemeni Forces on the Houthi militias in Hodeidah. But today, we are facing a major obstacle, which is still the Houthis militias,” he further added.
“Despite the passing of months after the agreement was signed in Sweden, we can see that the Houthis are still hesitating in implementing their commitment to withdrawing from Hodeidah and the ports of Hodeidah, Salif and Ras Isa. And despite the fact that Yemen’s humanitarian conditions are beginning to improve as a result of this agreement, the opportunity in front of us to improve this situation is undermined by the Houthi’s procrastination, which aims to obstruct the agreement that was reached,” Dr. Gargash stated.
“We will continue to support the UN’s efforts and the efforts of Martin Griffiths, UN Envoy to Yemen,” he further stated while affirming the UAE’s commitment to the efforts of the Arab Coalition, led by Saudi Arabia, to regain legitimacy in Yemen and reject the coup, as well as to support humanitarian and development projects in the country.
Dr. Gargash further said that the UAE also supports Arab consensus regarding the Palestinian cause, as well as the efforts to reach a comprehensive and permanent solution and establish an independent Palestinian state based on its 4th June, 1967 borders, with its capital in East Jerusalem, according to international law and the “Arab Peace Initiative.”
He also called on the international community to fulfil its commitments towards the Palestinian cause and Palestinian refugees.
Dr. Gargash pointed out that the UAE is committed to supporting the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, UNRWA, while noting that the UAE’s financial support for the agency reached, in 2018, around US$54 million.
He also stressed that the Palestinian issue remains the UAE’s leading cause while highlighting the country’s commitment to creating legitimate solutions, as well as the need for Arab solidarity and constant coordination and communication.
Regarding Syria, he affirmed the necessity of reaching a political solution to the Syrian crisis, according to resolutions signed in Geneva while welcoming the new UN Envoy to Syria and his efforts and stressing his support.
He again affirmed the importance of returning to the active Arab role in the Syrian crisis and face up to the continuous non-Arab regional interferences, which undermine international efforts to solve the Syrian crisis and end the suffering of this brotherly country and people and end the threats to the sovereignty and unity of the Syrian territories.
Regarding Libya, he asserted the UAE’s support for the efforts of the UN Special Envoy to Libya, Dr. Ghassan Salamé, who sought to come to an agreement through a political solution which guaranteed the return of security and stability in Libya. The UAE has been doing all it could to help the Arab efforts that aimed to support international efforts in Libya, he noted.
He said, “The UAE sees that the international community’s efforts to confront terrorism in the past decade have been effective and that defeating the terrorist Daesh organisation is the best proof of that. And the strikes which reach Al Qaeda and Daesh organisations in Yemen and Libya confirm the effectiveness of these efforts, but we have the conviction to work towards accomplishing together efforts to confront extremism and the extremist ideology, which is the environment that hosts terrorism.
“This takes place because sources of funding are drying up and we are undermining the discourse of hatred and extremism. The efforts, intensity and coordination that we undertook in combating terrorism were not the same in combating extremist ideology and extremism, and it is among the aspects which the UAE stresses on.”
“In order to achieve this, the road is long and we must, as countries and communities suffering from the phenomena of extremism and terrorism, lead these efforts and our work must be essential in defeating extremism at the level of the international community,” he added.
On the national level, he pointed out the country’s experience as the UAE announced the Year of Tolerance to strengthen the humanitarian values and the efforts of spreading the principles of peace and moderation. Abu Dhabi witnessed the historic visit of His Holiness Pope Francis, head of the Catholic Church last February and his meeting with Dr. Ahmed el-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al Azhar.
He said:”We also witnessed the signing of the Declaration on Human Fraternity by the two religious leaders on human fraternity that represents an essential step in defeating extremism and replacing it with a moderate inclusive vision which supports the Arab strategic goals of stability, development and prosperity.”