Germany puzzled as UAE think tank ordered to close

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Germany's Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, a think tank close to Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives said authorities in Abu Dhabi had ordered it to shut its office there. (Getty Images)

Germany's Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, a think tank close to Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives said authorities in Abu Dhabi had ordered it to shut its office there. (Getty Images)

Germany's Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, a think tank close to Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives which promotes democracy abroad, said on Thursday authorities in Abu Dhabi had ordered it to shut its office there.

"We can only react with complete incomprehension at this unexpected and sudden development in Abu Dhabi," said foundation head Hans-Gert Poettering in a statement.

No reason for the closure had been given, he said. The Foundation opened its office in the capital of the United Arab Emirates in 2009.

"After our experience in Egypt, not only do we regret this decision but it rings alarm bells if non-governmental organisations and political foundations are not desired in the Arab World," added Poettering.

Egyptian prosecutors and police raided the foundation's offices in Cairo last year, along with those of several other foreign pro-democracy and human rights groups.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle regretted the decision, said his spokesman.

The reasons for the closure order were not immediately known and UAE officials were not available to comment.

"Foreign Minister Westerwelle has personally pushed for a rethink of this decision with the UAE's foreign minister ... in the last few weeks and again on the sidelines of the nuclear summit in Seoul," said Westerwelle's spokesman.

Germany has boosted its economic ties with Abu Dhabi in the last few years with sovereign wealth fund Aabar Investments buying stakes in German companies, most notably in carmaker Daimler.

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Posted by: Non-Muslim

@ Mooka
Further to my previous posting: When Greece was in the most disastrous state of being close to the state's bankruptcy, is was Mrs. Merkel and her minister of finance who, together with her counterparts in the Euro zone, developed an ambitious and rigid rescue plan. Mrs. Merkel, whom you call a communist, was greeted in Athens with posters showing her face with a Hitler moustache. What a contradiction! Just some days ago, Greece, after two years in less than ddd--- financial rankings, placed a government bond which was oversubscribed. Possibly owed to "communist" Mrs. Merkel and her government, though...

Posted by: one of the joes

Matt, your words sound kind of funny given the role the Britain has played in this region for so many decades.
And given the democratic tradition that the UK have, it sounds a little irritating that you consider democracy a fix for a broken political system. Democracy stands for a little more than peaceful commercial activities in a country.
When did you last check your nationality in your passport?

Posted by: Chalky6766

They chose to accept that assistance and I'm talking about the UAE here, as for the wider region and the overall involvement of the British Empire I fully accept the damage as a well as good that it has done. The UAE has also enlisted trade ties with many other nations over a long period of time. I see the UAE as a vital example of stability in a region that is frankly on fire, Syria, Egypt etc. many people do not like the direction for eg that Dubai is going in from a cultural perspective they see what they consider to be to much Western influence bars, clubs etc, they don't like the change this is bringing. They feel their identity is being compromised, I understand this, however again it's up to the rulers here to create the balance and good luck to them with that. UAE. no more? The same could be said for the UK!

Posted by: one of the joes


To give you an idea why I wonder how anyone may not prefer democracy - see Matt's original post - to me it stands for human rights, constitution, protection of civil rights, separation of powers, equal Justice for everyone, protection of minorities, etc, despite all human shortcomings in its application. Regarding democracy and freedom rights, I believe the UK overall has shown a lot of positive actions and contributions.

In regard to the Gulf region, please have a more careful look at history and you may learn how the UK have influenced tribes, rulers, governments in ways that go way beyond your stated opinion, that includes UAE.

Posted by: chalky6766

@One of the Joes -'The UK has a very sad history of involving itself in this region' - Do you mean the Middle East as a whole or do you mean the UAE? Please be specific as this article refs to the UAE and the German think tank in AD. British involvement in the UAE has been positive, through commercial consultation, trade ties and skilled job placement most specifically in construction, however again we are talking about Germany here not the UK. Do you have an issue with the UK? it would seem that you do, sorry about that, but I hardly see how that's my fault. As for folk in NZ using the English language in ways I do not understand, as a dual citizen of both NZ and the UK I do understand contradiction and the subject matter of the article that I am commenting on, do you?. Sorry but no surprises can I mention or report on thus far,
especially with regards to your dodgy narrative. Lol

Posted by: one of the joes

Dear Chalky, you seem to like talking about yourself and your views of the world. I just dont see that you understand how to read a posting that is a reply to another post. May be you give it another try. May be then you will understand that I replied to Matt's statement "if it aint broken then dont fix it". The view that I expressed is that democracy is much more than a fix for a broken system. If you like to consider the UAE to be a broken system then this is your choice - but not my words.
You also seem to miss that Matt had expressed his view outside inference was wrong. That is why I reminded him that his own country has a very sad history of involving itself in this region. Peacefully supporting democracy is bad but intrigues to bring down govts is right?
You say you are heading down to NZ? be mindful, there are some smart people down there. They may use English language in ways you dont seem to understand. Prepare yourself for some possible surprises

Posted by: chalky6766

I can't help it that you are obviously a cynical person, I gladly displaced that attitude when I left the media controlled big brother UK all of those years ago and when I leave here I will have a happy heart as I head down to NZ. I take it then that you consider the UAE to be broken,strange that, I don't see drug addicts everywhere, benefit junkies or broken homes, I see a system I can work with and as for the UK's role here and it's historical connection, so be it, it's helped the UAE along as has every other nation that meets and greets. Something tells me anything would irritate you, however you really need to work on that, 'writes but makes no point' approach. BTW. UAE no more? Bitter much???

Posted by: Matt Williams

I am a British citizen and have lived in Dubai for 10 years, I totally support this decision. The leadership here have created what I see as a great model of tolerance, commerce, society and balance with much being done to ensure the wellbeing and continuation of the local populace. Outside interference within the context of a 'think tank' is not needed. If it?s not broke, then don?t try to fix it! Thanks :)

Posted by: Abu Abdullah

We are getting the same perspective from different people, from different countries! ... hmmm

Posted by: Bob A. Rabboh , Professor of Middle East Studies

Excellent decision by the UAE's leadership. Hence, there is no shortage of evidence regarding the UAE's increased prosperity. Leadership Matters : A Model for Development and Stability in the Middle East and North Africa .

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