BRUSSELS, 5th February, 2019 (WAM) — The UAE has expressed its willingness to develop and improve strategic relations and partnerships it has with the European Union, EU, and its member countries to establish joint visions for common challenges.
This was part of the speech of Khalifa Shaheen Al Marri, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for Political Affairs, and head of the country’s delegation participating in the Fifth Arab-European Ministerial Meeting which took place in Brussels yesterday.
In the speech, he highlighted the fact that challenges of extremism and terrorism still exist despite the victories against Daesh terrorist group, and noted that one has to continue to combat these challenges on a joint basis and on all fronts, including drying up the sources of terror financing.
He thanked Federica Mogherini, EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy, Al Dardeeri Mohamed Ahmed, Sudanese Minister of Foreign Affairs and President of the current session of the Arab League on the ministerial level, and Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Secretary-General of the Arab League, for their fruitful efforts to reinforce the Arab-European cooperation in a critical period and amid numerous challenges.
“Allow me to convey to you the salutations of the United Arab Emirates, which is delighted to welcome today the visit of Pope Francis, head of the Catholic Church, and Dr. Ahmed el-Tayyeb, Grand Imam of Al Azhar, in a historical moment representing a human fraternity meeting aimed at reinforcing the values of tolerance, understanding, religious dialogue, and cultural coexistence, for a better future to everyone free from extremism, terrorism, hatred and rejection of the different other,” he said.
He stated that the policies feeding tension and crises in the Middle East represent a continued challenge, and there is an opportunity today more than ever to display a stricter stance towards Iran to change its practices in the region, control its development of ballistic missiles systems, restrain its nuclear programme, and to urge it to cease its policies aimed at threatening stability in the Middle East.
He also said that the UAE hoped to regain sovereignty over the three islands of Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb and Abu Moussa, occupied by Iran, and to resolve the dispute with Iran through peaceful means, and negotiations, or resorting to the International Court of Justice.
He pointed to another challenge in the Yemeni crisis, that of the continued violations by Houthi militias which hamper the efforts at solving this crisis based on the three pillars: The Gulf initiative and its executive mechanisms, outcomes of the comprehensive national dialogue, and the relevant United Nations Security Council, UNSC, resolutions, especially resolution No.2216.
“It is noteworthy that we in the Arab Coalition, led by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, have always stressed that we believe the solution of this crisis is political, and therefore we support the efforts of the UN and the United Nations Secretary-General, Martin Griffiths . We have facilitated the adoption of Sweden’s Agreements and support their implementation, especially the ceasefire in Hodeidah and the redeployment outside the city as well as the delivery of the ports as per UNSC Resolutions Nos. 2451 and 2452.
He highlighted the fact that the implementation of the Sweden Agreement represents a rare opportunity to move from military confrontation to political negotiations. Noting that the violations by Houthi militias of the agreement and the continued obstruction of its implementation must be seriously countered by the international community, as these violations threaten the peace.
He urged the international community to persuade the Houthi militias and the forces supporting them to assume the responsibility of the collapse of the Sweden Agreement if they insist on ignoring their legal responsibilities.