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Abdullah bin Zayed calls for an alternative vision for the future

posted on 11/09/2011: 880 views



Abdullah bin Zayed calls for an alternative vision for the future

UAE Foreign Minister HH Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan has stressed the need for an alternative vision for the future: one that supports a culture of peace and tolerance.

In an opinion article published in the English Language newspaper Gulf News commemorating the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Sheikh Abdullah urged the international community to continue the fight against terrorism.

Presenting the prime features of an alternative vision that should be adopted for the future to win the fight against terrorism, Sheikh Abdullah said: "At the centre of the international community's counter-terrorism strategy we must present an alternative vision for the future: one that supports a culture of peace and tolerance".

In the aftermath of 9/11 the international community came together under the principle that terrorism strikes at the heart of everything that we stand for. Countries of this region joined those of Asia, Africa, Europe, Australasia and the Americas in the recognition that a truly concerted international effort was required to combat terrorism in all its manifestations, wrote Sheikh Abdullah.

In 2001 the UAE joined this global effort by being one of some 60 countries involved in the international operation in Afghanistan. The UAE's contribution was multifaceted: providing military assets on the ground to promote peace and security, but also extensive aid and educational projects to assist the emergence of the Afghan people from decades of war and insecurity; Sheikh Abdullah noted.

"In this effort, the UAE stood alongside a number of Arab and Muslim nations demonstrating to the world that this was not a conflict between religions or civilisations, but an international effort united behind a humanitarian and political cause: to defeat violent extremism in all forms and under any ideological banner", said Sheikh Abdullah.

A decade into the 21st century, it is imperative that we continue our comprehensive global mission to eradicate terrorism and violent extremism in the world. These effective counter-terrorism strategies must begin with robust security measures, effective information sharing to break up terrorist groups and prevent their operations, and the full use of relevant international legal conventions and instruments, he stressed.

"But as members of the international community, a global response to counter the conditions conducive to terrorism will require even more"; emphasised Sheikh Abdullah.

In this respect, Sheikh Abdullah enumerated the efforts of UAE to eradicate poverty and said:.

For its part, the UAE has delivered a vast programme of international aid assistance to improve economic conditions for populations in need contributing more than Dh34 billion in development projects to a range of countries worldwide in the decade since 2001. This year alone the UAE has made significant contributions to emergency relief programmes targeting affected populations in vulnerable areas such as Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia and in sub-Saharan Africa.

"The alleviation of global poverty must remain a priority. Individuals deprived of livelihoods and hope cannot become stakeholders in their societies", he reminded.

But economic development alone will not secure the world from the threat of terrorism. The second core area must be our international political effort to further the principles of justice and international law, and enshrine respect for human rights. In doing so, we will remove grievances that are skilfully exploited by terrorists, further demonstrating the emptiness of their violent ideologies; Sheikh Abdullah reminded.

He also shed light on the efforts of UAE for an equitable and comprehensive peace for the Palestinian people, its opposition to divide people on the basis of religion or sect, its support for national unity and sovereignty from Iraq to Yemen and its support to the international efforts against the Gaddafi regime.

Sheikh Abdullah stressed that he UAE works in support of the values of peace and tolerance values at home. "We abide by a framework that is Islamic and open to and respectful of other religions", he said.

Sheikh Abdullah also stressed that education and cultural tolerance are at the heart of the UAE's vision for the future.

Sheikh Abdullah concluded his article on the following note: "There is no better way to honour the victims of 9/11 than by spreading this message of hope. As the world is once more united today in remembrance, we should remain confident that our shared vision of a peaceful future will prevail".

The full text of the article as follows.



Ten years on: A world united against terrorism:

by Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Foreign Minister

Ten years ago, the world united in horror at the attacks perpetrated in the United States on September 11, 2001. In that moment, geographical distance vanished and differences in culture or political systems faded away in our common grief. The images the world witnessed on that day instantly impressed on us all that this was not just an act of terrorism against a sovereign nation: it was an attack on the universal values upheld by the global community.

In the decade since 2001 we have seen nationals from dozens of countries drawn towards violent extremism including our own. What this has made clear is that religion, race, political system or economic background neither predispose individuals to carrying out acts of terror nor preclude them from doing so. Today, all countries share the concern that their citizens could become either the victims or the perpetrators of acts of terror.

In the aftermath of 9/11 the international community came together under the principle that terrorism strikes at the heart of everything that we stand for. Countries of this region joined those of Asia, Africa, Europe, Australasia and the Americas in the recognition that a truly concerted international effort was required to combat terrorism in all its manifestations.

In 2001 the UAE joined this global effort by being one of some 60 countries involved in the international operation in Afghanistan. The UAE's contribution was multifaceted: providing military assets on the ground to promote peace and security, but also extensive aid and educational projects to assist the emergence of the Afghan people from decades of war and insecurity.

In this effort, the UAE stood alongside a number of Arab and Muslim nations demonstrating to the world that this was not a conflict between religions or civilisations, but an international effort united behind a humanitarian and political cause: to defeat violent extremism in all forms and under any ideological banner.

Global mission: A decade into the 21st century, it is imperative that we continue our comprehensive global mission to eradicate terrorism and violent extremism in the world. These effective counter-terrorism strategies must begin with robust security measures, effective information sharing to break up terrorist groups and prevent their operations, and the full use of relevant international legal conventions and instruments. But as members of the international community, a global response to counter the conditions conducive to terrorism will require even more.

First, the alleviation of global poverty must remain a priority. Individuals deprived of livelihoods and hope cannot become stakeholders in their societies. For its part, the UAE has delivered a vast programme of international aid assistance to improve economic conditions for populations in need contributing more than Dh34 billion in development projects to a range of countries worldwide in the decade since 2001. This year alone the UAE has made significant contributions to emergency relief programmes targeting affected populations in vulnerable areas such as Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia and in sub-Saharan Africa.

But economic development alone will not secure the world from the threat of terrorism. The second core area must be our international political effort to further the principles of justice and international law, and enshrine respect for human rights. In doing so, we will remove grievances that are skilfully exploited by terrorists, further demonstrating the emptiness of their violent ideologies.

The UAE has therefore been consistent in its call for an equitable and comprehensive peace for the Palestinian people, in the belief that a lasting solution would be game-changing in undermining the rhetoric of global terrorism, particularly in our region where the issue is used as a rallying cry for terrorist recruitment.

Similarly, the UAE has consistently opposed efforts to divide people on the basis of religion or sect. We have actively supported national unity and sovereignty from Iraq to Yemen. During the events of the ‘Arab Spring' the UAE has been consistent in its support of peaceful engagement and constructive dialogue as the means towards progressive change. And in Libya, the UAE supported international efforts against the Gaddafi regime on the humanitarian premise that governments must protect and serve their citizens in order to legitimately govern.

At the centre of the international community's counter-terrorism strategy we must present an alternative vision for the future: one that supports a culture of peace and tolerance. The UAE works in support of these values at home. We abide by a framework that is Islamic and open to and respectful of other religions. We believe that it is right that we as Muslims are the first and most vociferous in condemning the violent acts and extremist ideology of terrorists who try to misuse our faith for their horrific and irreligious ends.

Opening doors Education is at the heart of this vision, and the active advance of inter-cultural understanding will be required by all sides. In the UAE, for example, by 2014, we will have opened the doors to local branches of the Louvre, the Guggenheim, New York University and the Sorbonne. Such increases in exchanges between cultures could be the UAE's most enduring response to the vision propagated by extremists and their followers.

Nevertheless, even as we look ahead today at how to meet the challenges of the future, our thoughts must remain with the victims of the attacks one decade ago, and with their families. This time for solemn reflection presents an opportunity for states to renew their mission to eradicate terrorism in all its forms. Each of us must bravely and resolutely, in our own corners of the world, face our demons as nations, peoples, and individuals in order to overcome the challenges that still lie ahead.

There is no better way to honour the victims of 9/11 than by spreading this message of hope. As the world is once more united today in remembrance, we should remain confident that our shared vision of a peaceful future will prevail. - Emirates News Agency, WAM

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