Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan Discuss Strong US-UAE Bilateral Relations in Abu Dhabi

Discussion at Emirates Diplomatic Academy Covers Regional Security, Strength of Economic Partnership and Cultural Exchanges

Abu Dhabi, UAE (25 January 2017) - UAE Ambassador to the US Yousef Al Otaiba participated in a discussion  with Speaker of the US House of Representatives Paul Ryan at the Emirates Diplomatic Academy (EDA) in Abu Dhabi. EDA Director General Bernardino León moderated the event.

The discussion, attended by EDA diplomats and students, addressed UAE-US relations and the outlook for the Middle East region. Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba and Speaker Ryan affirmed their countries’ shared values and commitment to addressing mutual threats in the region.

During the event, Speaker Ryan highlighted the necessity of continuing the fight against extremist groups such as ISIS and Al Qaeda. He also highlighted the UAE role in fighting Al Qaeda in Yemen.

“Here in Abu Dhabi we have a singular focus, which is to build on our common mission to defeat and to degrade our adversaries,” said Speaker Ryan. “We will not stop until ISIS, Al Qaeda and their affiliates are defeated and are no longer a threat to our country or to our allies.”

“Extremism is not going to be over next year or next week,” said Ambassador Al Otaiba. “It’s a generational struggle that we will only overcome if we work together on all levels.”

Ambassador Al Otaiba and Speaker Ryan also spoke about the threat Iran poses to stability in the region.

"We are focused on the Iranian threat to regional stability,” said Speaker Ryan. “The Trump Administration's comprehensive Iran strategy seeks to hold the regime accountable for its litany of destructive activities."

Ambassador Al Otaiba affirmed the need to address “Iranian support for terrorist proxies, its missile program, and its subversion of countries and governments in [the Middle East region].”

In addition to security matters, Speaker Ryan highlighted the importance of strong economic relations between the United States and the United Arab Emirates.

“I am a big believer in improving our economic ties, reducing barriers between our countries, and encouraging more economic growth,” said Speaker Ryan. “There’s so much we can share, and we have different skill sets and expertise that will accrue to everyone’s benefit.”

Ambassador Al Otaiba echoed the speaker’s comments, highlighting that the US remains one of the UAE’s biggest markets for trade and investment.

The UAE Ambassador also underscored the importance of cultural ties between the two nations. He highlighted previous sports diplomacy exchange programs between the UAE and the US as key to enhancing mutual understanding and strengthening the bilateral relationship.

Following initial remarks, Director General León facilitated a discussion between Academy students and the two officials.