UAE welcomes efforts to defuse tension, maintain stability in the region, says Abdullah bin Zayed

Photo: WAM

The UAE welcomes any efforts to defuse tension in the region and looks forward to see a calm, stable, developed and forward looking Middle East in the future, said H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

Sheikh Abdullah made the remarks on Sunday during a joint press conference with Heiko Maas, German Foreign Minister, who is currently on an official visit to the UAE.

"The visit of His Excellency Heiko Maas comes at a time when we mark 47 years of relations between the UAE and Germany. We discussed strategic bilateral relations and a number of regional issues," he said.

"It is good to talk with our friends in Germany about various issues related to the countries of the region, such as Iran, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Palestine.

Sheikh Abdullah expressed his pleasure over the German Foreign minister’s first visit to the UAE, saying that around 500,000 Germans visit the country every year.

On the attack on four tankers off Fujairah and within the UAE’s territorial waters, he said it was not only an attack against the UAE, but also against the global maritime safety and the countries whose flags were flown by the vessels, such as Saudi Arabia and Norway.

"When the attack on the vessels took place, there were more than 184 vessels docked off the UAE coasts in Fujairah. This is the world’s second largest bunkering hub after Singapore. It is a key port for ships to dock and refuel before entering the Strait of Hormuz."

He continued: "This attack raises great concerns and regional tension as well. Yet, we, in the UAE, welcome any role by our German and other friends. The UAE, Norway and Saudi Arabia, along with other partners from the GCC countries, will continue their collaboration to investigate it and to update the Security Council with any details in the future."

Sheikh Abdullah said the UAE is committed to the agreement with the Security Council to keep discussions on this attack behind closed doors for now.

"We intend to be objective and professional in managing this process and leave the decision to the international community," he said.

Regarding the German Foreign Minister’s visit to Iran, scheduled tomorrow, and Iran nuclear deal, Sheikh Abdullah said: "For any (nuclear) agreement to succeed, we believe the region’s countries have to be part of it. Moreover, we also believe that the agreement should cover broader issues, be it the ballistic missiles, terrorism support and interference in other countries’ internal matters."

"Of course we are not part of the agreement, but there is a host of regional issues of concern that should be taken into consideration."

Sheikh Abdullah said the region went through a lot of conflicts and wars; now diplomacy and dialogue should be given a chance.

"More importantly, we need to give hope, especially to the young people. We also need bigger efforts by our friends and allies, Germany and the five permanent Security Council members, to see the Middle East and the Arabian Gulf remain calm, stable and developed."

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said the UAE is a pivotal actor and an important player in addressing regional issues.

Minister Maas commended the UAE's reaction to the attacks on four oil tankers off Fujairah Port.

He stated that his trip to the UAE aimed at exchanging views with influential regional actors on de-escalating the current tension in the region. All parties, he stressed, must shoulder their responsibilities and use every possible means in their power to avert the ''the spiral of escalation.'' He indicated that his talks with his Emirati counterpart addressed the situation in Yemen also. '' It is necessary we see a progress in the implementation of the stalled Stockholm Agreement.'' He said the UAE has made substantial contributions and milestones in the political process in Yemen, especially in regards to this agreement.

He underscored the importance of seizing the opportunity to go ahead with the UN-sponsored political process as the only way to realise a durable solution.

On the current developments in Sudan, the German top diplomat said there should be a quick return to the negotiating table, expressing Germany's support for the African Union's efforts in this regard.

Addressing the Iranian issue, the German foreign minister said the European Union is always critical of the Iranian role in Syria and Yemen as well as of its ballistic missiles programme. ''We also believe in dialogue with Iran.''

Earlier, Sheikh Abdullah had talks with his German counterpart, focusing on ways of bolstering friendship and cooperation, and the latest regional and global topics of mutual concern.

Dr. Sultan bin Ahmad Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State, and Khalifa Shaheen Al Marar, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for Political Affairs, also attended the meeting.

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