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Mon 14 Nov 2016 10:26 AM

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Trump needs to make US more active in MidEast, says UAE foreign minister

Dr Anwar Gargash, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs said Barack Obama’s administration created a “disconcerting vacuum” in the Middle East

Trump needs to make US more active in MidEast, says UAE foreign minister
UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash. (Fayez Nureldine/AFP/Getty Images)

The UAE has urged US President-elect Donald Trump to take a more active role in the Middle East following “eight years of weakened American engagement in the region”.

Dr Anwar Gargash, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, said in a speech at Abu Dhabi Strategic Debate conference that the US presidential election has heightened uncertainty regarding the future direction of global politics, adding that Donald Trump’s victory has “generated more exclamation marks than answers”.

Gargash said following Brexit “and the rise of anti-establishment and populist sentiments in many parts of the world”, the future direction America’s foreign policy “is a cause for acute speculation and concern”, particularly given its importance in the Middle East.

“The world we live in is one of growing uncertainty in the political, economic, and social arenas,” Gargash said. “The impact of these developments are felt most acutely here in the Arab world and the Middle East, which is no stranger to uncertainty and instability.

"While we do not yet know how the foreign policy of the new American administration will affect our region, we can be certain of one thing, American global engagement remains crucial in order to ensure a stable, peaceful, and predictable international system.”

The UAE foreign minister said Washington’s weight and influence remains more important than ever, particularly after Barack Obama’s administration created a “disconcerting vacuum” in the Middle East.

“Following eight years of weakened American engagement in the region, which many feel has created a disconcerting vacuum, it looks like we will have to wait a little longer until the contours of President-elect Trump’s approach to the region become clearer,” he said.

“It is essential that there is an overarching strategy rather than isolated positions towards regional issues. In short, America’s engagement is positive and its withdrawal and disengagement is counterproductive.”

Gargash said other countries, like Russia, China, India and those in the EU, also have an important role to play in the Middle East.

He said the UAE fully understands that it needs to work with its partners and friends to decrease tension in the region.

“Even by the standards of the Middle East, these are exceptional and difficult times. Regional crises are endangering the very existence of nation states and tearing apart the fragile fabric of many Middle Eastern societies,” he said.

“Ugly sectarian politics are replacing more rational national paradigms. It is therefore incumbent upon the states of the Middle East, in collaboration with our friends and partners in the international community, to engage in, and foster regional solutions to regional problems.”

Outlining the UAE’s foreign policy, he said the international community must move from managing crises in the Middle East to finding a resolution.

He said the UAE argues the “link between extremist ideologies and terrorist acts is a clear one”.

“We believe that confronting extremism and terrorism is a long drawn out and extended challenge,” he said. “This understanding is essential in our efforts to confront extremism and terrorism. Various tools are required in this lengthy battle, including control of financial flows and deconstructing the extremist ideology.”

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Old Texan 3 years ago

I agree with the Foreign Minister's comments. I have been in and out of the region for a long time starting in the Carter Administration. I tried to settle in the UAE for a reason of regional security and stability but now being forced to leave for economics. UAE to me has been the Best and needs to make itself into more of a Regional Statesman for the US Political interest to focus on. Lots of Opinions on this but the Wash Beltway should be invited to see what a great country the UAE has become.