UAE: Biden apologizes for remarks about ISIS

The UAE had voiced ‘astonishment’ at Biden’s implication that it supports extremists

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U.S. Vice President Joe Biden apologized to the United Arab Emirates on Sunday for comments suggesting that the Gulf country and other regional powers had financed extremist groups in Syria, the UAE state news agency WAM reported.

“The United States appreciates the historic role of the United Arab Emirates in the fight against extremism and terrorism and its advanced position in this regards,” Biden reportedly told General Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

The United Emirates earlier expressed “astonishment” after Biden made comments suggesting that the Gulf state and other regional powers had financed terrorist groups in the war-torn Syria.

UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Mohammed Gargash said he was surprised by Biden’s remarks “which are far from the truth, especially with relation to the UAE’s role in confronting extremism and terrorism and its clear and advanced position in recognizing the dangers, including the danger of financing terrorism and terrorist groups.”

He called for a “formal clarification” of Biden’s statement, according to the report.

The UAE is one of a handful of Arab allies taking part in U.S.-led air strikes against ISIS in Syria.

The others are Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.

Biden on Saturday also apologized to Turkey over the comments suggesting that it was one of the countries in the region that had armed and financed ISIS in Syria.

“The vice president apologized for any implication that Turkey or other allies and partners in the region had intentionally supplied or facilitated the growth of ISIL or other violent extremists in Syria,” Biden’s office said on Saturday, using a common acronym for the ISIS group.

It came after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reacted furiously at comments Biden made at Harvard University on Thursday in which he criticized allies in Turkey and the Arab world for supporting Sunni militant groups in Syria, including ISIS and the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front.

(With AFP)

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