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UAE FM: Egypt’s stability is key to Arab world

Speaking at the Government Summit, Sheikh Abdullah said the UAE backs Egypt’s quest for development

Eman El-Shenawi

Published: Updated:

UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan on Tuesday affirmed the Gulf state’s support for Egypt, stressing the importance of stability in the populous Arab country.

Speaking at the Government Summit in Dubai, an annual meet focusing on how governments can handle a changing world, Sheikh Abdullah said the UAE backs Egypt’s quest for development.

“The UAE carries a message of peace, stability and development. We support Egypt in its quest for development. Ensuring the security and stability of Egypt is of the utmost importance to the UAE.”

Sheikh Abdullah then added: “The stability of the Arab world is the stability of Egypt. We are strong supporters of Egypt.”

The Gulf state has become a major donor for Egypt in recent years, taking a hands-on approach in its support for Cairo. The UAE, along with Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, have pledged a total of more than $12 billion in loans and donations since July 2013.

UAE foreign policy

The official said his country’s foreign policy was built on “positivity and building bridges.

“The UAE has 105 diplomatic missions around the world to build bridges and nurture ties, particularly amid recent circumstances,” he said, in an apparent reference to regional turmoil.

The foreign minister announced that the UAE has “quadrupled its foreign aid to emerging and needy countries” in recent years, adding: “It is our duty as Arabs, and Muslims to advance the well-being of developing countries.”

Since his tenure as foreign affairs minister began in 2006, the Gulf state has witnessed a rapid expansion of its diplomatic relations with countries in Latin America, the South Pacific, Sub-Saharan Africa and East Asia as well as a consolidation and strengthening of its relations with Western countries.

He described the Gulf state as “the ultimate destination for innovators and talents ... But we do not just import talent, we are exporting it too,” he said, presenting the UAE’s aeronautics industry as an example.

‘The last oil barrel’

He then turned to renewable energy, a sector the UAE has invested in heavily in recent years. The UAE is the first Gulf state to start building a nuclear power plant to generate energy. Soaring energy use and inadequate gas supplies have encouraged the Emirates to look to nuclear power to diversify its energy resources.

“The UAE may not be a big country, but our impact is huge. We are an oil-producing state, but we were able to diversify our economy... through nuclear energy and solar power,” he said.

“What will happen when we ship the last oil barrel? We will celebrate. Celebrate what we achieved ... We are building the future like we built the present.”

Sheikh Abdullah also launched the #WeTheUAE initiative, a campaign to build unity and solidarity within the Gulf state. The hashtag was the title of his speech.

“I’m proud of our success story and equally proud of all those who collaborate with us,” he told the audience.

With an “innovative” focus on how governments can handle a changing world, a total of 87 countries will be participating in this year’s UAE Government Summit.

United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon and Queen Rania of Jordan were among more than 100 international speakers at the three-day event running from Feb. 9 to 11.