UAE’s Gargash: Middle East instability caused by foreign interference

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Turkish and Iranian regional interference, as well as economic issues, are major causes of current Middle East instability, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said on Saturday.

“The past two decades have seen unusual interference in regional affairs - Turkish, Iran interference - which adds to the overall instability of the region,” said Gargash at the annual IISS Manama Dialogue summit in Bahrain.

He said that the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries have been confronting Iran’s “expansionist” policy for the past 30 years, and that it has provided an opportunity for cooperation between regional states.

Gargash said that the UAE’s confrontation of terrorism and extremism is a priority, and that given its limited resources stemming from its small size, it is important the UAE moves collectively.

Gargash also said the ongoing demonstrations in Iraq and Lebanon are primarily related to economic policies.

“The daily demonstrations in Iraq and Lebanon…it is for mostly about the efficacy about the economic system. It is secondly about corruption,” said Gargash, adding he would like to see the region discuss the development of economic policies more.

While Iran and economic policies may be causing destabilization, Gargash did point to a “major success” of conflict resolution in the region: the Riyadh agreement.

“Saudi diplomacy successfully engineered [this agreement]…an essential building block to the stability in Yemen,” said Gargash.

The agreement, signed on November 5, is between the legitimate government in Yemen and the Southern Transitional Council (STC). It initiated a new stage of cooperation in the Yemeni governorates, which are united against the Iranian-backed Houthi militia.

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