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Canada "a valued and important friend": says Abdullah bin Zayed

posted on 09/10/2014: 1350 views



TORONTO: The United Arab Emirates, like Canada, seeks to build a society that is "tolerant and welcoming of people from all parts of the world and with a broad and varied tapestry of cultures and beliefs, " Foreign Minister H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan said.

In an Opinion article published in "The Globe and Mail," Canada's leading English language newspaper, Sheikh Abdullah added that, in contrast to Canada, the U.A.E. is seeking to do this "in a part of the world where such values cannot be taken for granted, and indeed are now actively under attack by extremists whose narrow vision desecrates our sacred beliefs and has no place in modern times." Noting the U.A.E.'s active contribution to "the growing international Coalition against the Daesh", Sheikh Abdullah welcomed Canada's agreement to commit military resources to the coalition and emphasised the need to expose "the bankruptcy of terrorist ideology." "The principles we are defending are universal, and far more powerful than the forces of intolerance," he said.

The full text of the Minister's article follows: "This past July, I had the privilege of travelling throughout Canada with my colleague, host, and friend, Foreign Minister John Baird, as we celebrated 40 years of diplomatic relations between Canada and the United Arab Emirates. Much more than just the usual quick daylong political trip to the capital, I was delighted to be able to spend nearly a week travelling the country from coast to coast at the height of the pleasant Canadian summer. From Vancouver's shores to Alberta's plains to the vibrant multiculturalism of Toronto, Canada's vastness and diversity are striking. Rich in heritage and history yet ingrained with a frontier spirit making Canadians unafraid to try new things and warmly welcome newcomers, the U.A.E. is proud to count Canada as a friend and strategic partner.

"With all of Canada's richness and success, it would be tempting for some to forget about the rest of the world especially the U.A.E.'s corner of it, in the Middle East which seems too often these days to be full only of strife. Yet Canadians refuse to be complacent. It's this resistance to the easy path in favour of the right one that makes Canada a valued and important friend on the world stage, at a time when it is more critical than ever for like-minded countries to come together and ensure that shared values of tolerance and diversity are protected, and that the most defenceless among us are safeguarded from terror.

"In the U.A.E., we have spent the short 43 years since our independence building a society that, like Canada's, seeks to be tolerant and welcoming of people from all parts of the world, and with a broad and varied tapestry of cultures and beliefs. We have done this, however, in a part of the world where such values cannot be taken for granted, and indeed are now actively under attack by extremists whose narrow vision desecrates our sacred beliefs and has no place in modern times.

"The U.A.E. is up to the challenge of confronting these extremists, and we in the region don't shy away from the fact that this is our fight, and we must be the first to stand up for our way of life. The U.A.E. is therefore actively contributing to the growing international Coalition against Daesh, with our pilots engaging in active combat missions. However, it would be a mistake to think that this is only the fight of countries in the region. Hateful ideologies have no respect for borders, and thus demand a unified and global approach. Canada's willingness, as articulated by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, to contribute military resources to the Coalition is therefore a welcome and appreciated step that displays strong leadership and is a credit to all Canadians. Indeed, as my friend Mr. Baird said in the Canadian Parliament on Monday, 'We must think big for who we are, and what the promise of our people holds for the future." "Still, we know that this military mission, though important, can't eliminate the risk posed by extremists. Exposing the bankruptcy of terrorist ideology is a much longer and more complex task.

"Equally necessary in this battle for moderation is to actively work through politics and diplomacy to minimise the global space for open conflict we must work to shrink the battlefield by stabilising trouble spots. In Syria, this means continuing to support moderates and seeking a political solution in line with the legitimate demands of the Syrian people. In Egypt, this means stabilising the economy and ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to make a safe and secure living for themselves and their families. And in Palestine and Israel, this means continuing to work toward a two-state solution that ensures both dignity and security in equal measures.

"To be sure, the details on these issues are always more complex than the broad outlines, and even close allies can have practical differences on the way forward. This is understood in both Ottawa and Abu Dhabi. However, the most essential step and in many ways the most difficult is making the decision to take a stand at all. The U.A.E., Canada, and our common partners and allies have taken that stand, and although the fight won't be easy or short, our common resolve even amongst countries so outwardly different as the U.A.E. and Canada shows that the principles we are defending are universal, and far more powerful than the forces of intolerance. It is this truth that strengthens and guides the Emirati-Canadian partnership, and it is this truth that proves that our common values of cooperation and progress will always give the appropriate amount of effort prevail against forces of destruction and small-mindedness." – Emirates News Agency, WAM –

http://www.wam.ae/en/news/emirates/1395270616207.html

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