GCC will thrive despite political tensions, says Anwar Gargash

Anwar Gargash also said that Syria's dismissal from the Arab League in 2011 was a 'strategic mistake' that prevented political dialogue
Anwar Gargash
By Bernd Debusmann Jr
Wed 11 Apr 2018 08:31 AM

The GCC as an institution will survive any geopolitical tensions because of the economic benefits it brings, according to UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash.

Speaking on Tuesday at a summit organised by the Arab Thought Foundation, Gargash said “my view is that the establishment is here to stay, and will [continue to] exist and that comes from creating a common market and facilitating trade exchange.”

“It serves the interest of the nations and of the citizens,” he added. “It will overcome political crises that happened in the past.”

In his remarks, Gargash also said that the “weakness” of some Arab government institutions had allowed foreign powers – particularly Iran, Turkey and Israel – to “influence the systems of the Arab states.”

“It [foreign interference] has exceeded the influence of the state itself,” he said. “The weakness of the Arab system allows for such meddling.”

Gargash noted that the UAE and Saudi Arabia, along with key allies such as Egypt, Jordan and Morocco, can be “relied upon” to “present an alternative” model to that advocated by Iran, Turkey and Qatar.

Additionally, Gargash warned against rapid changes in Arab countries, saying that the sudden collapses of government institutions – as was the case during the Arab Spring in 2011 – cause destabilisation in the region.

“Sometimes you hear that the UAE is leading the camp that is opposed to the Arab Spring. That isn’t true,” he said. “Arab societies cannot bear fragmentation because if we pull them apart, it will be an existential loss.”

“[A] call for gradual development is not a call for isolation,” he added. “We are unable to bear the costs of another Arab Spring.”

Gargash said that the UAE remains committed to finding a political solution for the civil war in Syria, which he believes will not be won militarily by any side.

“We seek to have stabilisation, and this cannot be achieved through a military triumph by any party,” he said. “The wounds that have been inflicted are very deep and will require years and years to recover.”

Gargash also noted that he believes that the Arab League made “a strategic mistake” by indefinitely suspending Syria’s membership in 2011.

“We could have had political influence,” he said.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.