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Blair says UAE is beacon of hope

posted on 21/12/2006: 622 views

British Prime Minister Tony Blair yesterday praised the UAE as a beacon of hope to the rest of the Middle East on the last leg of his Middle East tour in Dubai. Blair championed the economic and social strides the UAE has made in the recent past – and held it up as the model to which cities in the region should aspire.

"Today we speak in the modern miracle that is the UAE, a Muslim country that in a few decades has made itself into an oasis of economic enterprise, tourism and openness to the world.

"My reflection is that here, unlikely as it seems at this moment, is what Basra or Gaza could be, were their people not let down by the politics of their countries,” he said.

He praised the "intertwined” histories of the UAE and the UK over the past 200 years. Speaking to business leaders and journalists, Blair also said combating extremism and the violence it foments was the greatest challenge of the 21st century. "There is a monumental struggle going on between those who believe in democracy and moderation, and forces of reaction and extremism. We have to wake up.” He added there must be a ‘mobilisation of our alliance of moderation'. (Agency inputs)


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