Monday, September 14, 2015

Arab unity is paramount

Dr. Gargash stressed the UAE's commitment to providing all support to the Yemeni people from humanitarian and relief assistance to resources for building state institutions until security, stability and development take root in Yemen. He referred to the month-long ''Yemen We care'' appeal launched by the Emirates Red Crescent recently and which raised more than AED 500 million within few days to help ten million Yemenis.

''The constant initiatives launched by the leadership, government and people of the UAE towards the Yemeni people underscore our firm belief that standing with Yemen is not an option, rather it is an inevitable necessity and a key pillar of the UAE foreign policy,'' the minister affirmed.

Dr. Gargash highlighted the role of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, led by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia, in rallying the Arab coalition to confront the rebellion of the Houthi militias and their allies against the security, safety and unity of Yemen. The Saudi role reflected the strong belief in integration of the Arab security in this important part of the Arab World and in the need to stand united against plots of foreign intervention in Yemen and against attempts to incite sectarian wars between people of one nation.

''The bloods of our martyrs, who fell in defence of the right, justice and legitimacy in Yemen, will not go in vain, rather they will further stiffen our resolve and will within the Arab coalition to remove injustice, support the Yemeni people and rescue Yemen from the clutches of the outlaw militias which committed destruction and corruption in the country,'' he said.

Speaking about Libya, the UAE minister said,'' We look with grave concern at the escalating political crisis in Libya and the spread of extremism and terrorism in Libya, a matter that requires us to maximise efforts to bring stability by supporting the legitimate government in order to stand against the terrorist, criminal groups which aim to deplete national resources, threaten sisterly Arab countries and friendly African countries. They also target security and safety of some European countries.'' ''We must all back the legitimate government and contribute to building state institution, particularly the military which seeks to build a strong national army that is capable of realising security and stability and defeating the terrorist groups. We also express our support for efforts being made by the UN special envoy for Libya, Bernardino Leon, to reach a political solution to the Libyan crisis.

We also call for swift implementation of the UN plan to spare the country the scenarios of institutional vacuum.'' As for the Syrian crisis, the UAE minister said,'' We stress the importance of efforts aimed at achieving security and stability in Syria in a manner that preserves the territorial integrity of Syria and its national institutions and ends the crisis in a way that fulfills aspirations of the Syrian people, who have been suffering for years from the scourge of war, conflict and spread of sectarianism which forced the Syrians out of their homeland.'' He added that terrorist organisations had exploited the vacuum created by the deteriorating political and humanitarian situation and the increasing number of refugees.

He warned that these tragic conditions threaten security and stability of the Arab region. However, he underlined the urgency of Arab joint coordination and cooperation to crystalise a common vision for serious measures to rescue Syria and safeguard regional security by reaching a political settlement based on Geneva peace conference (1).

The minister said that scenes of the Syrian refugees who were desperately seeking for a safe shelter and decent life put the whole world before a real test. There should be no option between a president killing his citizens or a brutal terrorist, killer. ''An urgent Arab action is needed to get out of this dark tunnel.'' ''The UAE, out of its established policy, has not been quick to provide assistance to the Syrian people since the onset of the crisis in 2011. The UAE has welcomed more than 100,000 Syrian nationals from all segments of Syrian society and all religious sects and has extended residency permits to them in the UAE. This has brought the number of Syrian resident in the UAE close to 250,000., Dr. Gargash said, affirming that criticism levelled by some circles in international political and media gathering about stances of Arab countries towards the tragedy of the Syrian refugees were untrue.

The UAE, he added, has been one of the leading providers of humanitarian aid and development assistance to Syrian refugees in Syria and other parts of the region. Overall, the UAE has provided over USD 500 million in humanitarian and development aid since the beginning of the conflict. In 2015, the UAE pledged an additional USD 100 million in support of Syrian refugees, 40 million of which has been spent so far.

''The UAE has contributed some USD 70 million over the past two years to various refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt, and Turkey. The UAE, together with Germany, established the Syria Recovery Trust Fund (SRTF) in 2013 to restore essential services in areas under control of the Syrian Interim Government.

''The UAE believes that there can be no long-term solution to the refugee problem, without a sustainable political solution to the conflict in Syria, '' he added. –End-

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