UAE Foreign Minister continues meetings with senior Obama administration officials

April 10, 2009

WASHINGTON, DC (10 April 2009) – Completing a five-day visit to Washington, DC, HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), today met with White House National Security Advisor General James Jones and Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg, following discussions yesterday with US Special Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke.

 During these meetings, the Foreign Minister reaffirmed the UAE’s commitment to playing a key role in Gulf security, to advancing the multilateral Middle East peace process and to promoting stability in Afghanistan and Pakistan through humanitarian and military efforts. 

Joined by UAE Ambassador to the US HE Yousef Al Otaiba, the senior UAE diplomats also continued to encourage the Obama Administration to provide timely notification to Congress of the US-UAE Bilateral Agreement for Peaceful Nuclear Cooperation.  The Foreign Minister told General Jones and Deputy Secretary Steinberg that the UAE welcomed the Administration’s support of the agreement, noting yesterday’s comments by a State Department official.  

In published media reports on Thursday, the State Department called the agreement a “tangible expression of the U.A.E.’s commitment to develop peaceful nuclear power in a transparent manner consistent with the highest safety, security and non-proliferation standards.”

Separately, the Foreign Minister called the appointment of Special Envoy Holbrooke a “positive development” and praised the Obama Administration’s approach to fighting extremism in the region. “The UAE and the US share a very similar view of the crucial role Pakistan plays in stabilizing Afghanistan and challenging extremist elements that undermine regional security.”  

The Foreign Minister and Special Envoy Holbrooke discussed the UAE’s role in stabilizing and rebuilding Afghanistan, including the UAE’s military presence, which has focused on such defensive measures as humanitarian initiatives and ensuring safety and stability for local communities.  

Humanitarian aid to Afghanistan from the UAE government has included $19 million to support local projects and $30 million to international reconstruction efforts.  In addition, UAE private citizens have made $22 million in private contributions. These investments have helped construct 11 schools, six medical clinics, a major hospital, a public library and numerous mosques, among other projects. 

The UAE has also taken a leadership position around international efforts to provide aid to Pakistan, which will help the government implement programs to address key domestic issues related to poverty and security.  The Foreign Minister recently hosted a conference in Abu Dhabi for the “Friends of Pakistan” group of nations, which have pledged to develop a coordinated and comprehensive approach to aid for that country.  He will lead a UAE. delegation to this month’s “Friends of Pakistan” summit in Tokyo.  

“The UAE has made, and will continue to make, significant military and financial contributions towards a peaceful and stable Afghanistan and Pakistan,” explained Ambassador Al Otaiba, who joined the Foreign Minister in the meeting.  “These common objectives are the latest demonstration of the deep and long-standing security relationship between the UAE and the United States.”