UAE FM: differences with Iran not only about nuclear issue

UAE’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed al-Nahyan (R) and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier attend a news conference in Abu Dhabi May 31, 2014. (Reuters)

Regional differences with Iran are not only about Tehran’s nuclear program but also with other issues agitating its neighbors, the UAE’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed al-Nahyan said on Saturday during his German counterpart’s visit to the capital Abu Dhabi.

Sheikh al-Nahyan said issues with the Islamic Republic stem from its “interference” with the affairs of neighboring Arab countries.

The foreign minister said that he and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier had discussed the situation in the region, including the preserving of stability in Egypt and the bolstering of its economy.

“We discussed the latest development of the 5+1 group’s talks with Iran on its nuclear program, and touched upon the importance of continuing the Middle East peace process, and bolstering efforts to combat extremism and violence as well as the principles of tolerance and moderation in the region,” Emirates News Agency (WAM) quoted him as saying.

Ongoing negotiations

Meanwhile, Steinmeier described on Saturday the ongoing negotiations between world powers and Iran over its disputed nuclear program as “encouraging.”

His remarks in Abu Dhabi come ahead of a new round of talks in mid-June between Iran and the P5+1 powers of Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany.

“Regardless of the general situation which makes cooperation between the U.S. and Russia difficult in some areas at the moment, the negotiations on the Iranian issue have certainly gone further,” Agence France-Presse quoted Steinmeier as saying.

Western powers suspect that Iran is using its nuclear program – which it claims is for peaceful purposes – to develop atomic weapons, an allegation Tehran rejects.

“In recent weeks and months they were so encouraging that we maintained a chance of reaching an agreement,” he added, after talks with the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahayan.

The meeting also highlighted economic ties between the two countries.

The UAE foreign minister described Germany as his country’s strategic partner, adding that 15 direct daily flights are operated between the two countries.

He also said that UAE-German trade exchange reached more than $13.6 billion in 2013.

Egypt

Sheikh al-Nahyan also pledged that the UAE would boost support to Egypt after the landslide victory earlier this week of former army commander Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi.

“We want to have partners from around the world involved, whether it be partners like Germany or institutions like the World Bank and the IMF. Egypt is a sisterly Arab country and always we stand by them,” he said, with Steinmeier at his side.

“But this time our support for Egypt after the election there will be entirely different from what we have done so far,” he added.

This is the second time this week that the UAE has pledge support for Egypt.

The UAE minister of state for foreign affairs, Anwar Gargash Gargash, said days earlier that the election of Sisi represented "new hope" for the most populous Arab country.

"We all need to support Egypt as a nation and its people ... Egypt and its people are dear to us," Gargash said in a Twitter post.

(With AFP)
 

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