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Foreign Minister meets more senior Obama administration officials

posted on 12/04/2009: 636 views

Completing a five-day visit to Washington, D.C., Foreign Minister, H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Friday met with White House National Security Advisor General James Jones and Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg, following discussions Thursday with U.S. Special Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke.

During these meetings, the Foreign Minister reaffirmed the U.A.E'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 U.A.E. Ambassador to the U.S. Yousef Al Otaiba, the senior U.A.E. diplomats also continued to encourage the Obama Administration to provide timely notification to Congress of the U.S - U.A.E Bilateral Agreement for Peaceful Nuclear Cooperation. The Foreign Minister told General Jones and Deputy Secretary Steinberg that the U.A.E 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 U.A.E and the U.S 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 U.A.E's role in stabilizing and rebuilding Afghanistan, including the U.A.E'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 U.A.E government has included US$19 million to support local projects and US$30 million to international reconstruction efforts. In addition, U.A.E private citizens have made US$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 U.A.E 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 U.A.E delegation to this month's "Friends of Pakistan" summit in Tokyo.

"The U.A.E has made, and will continue to make, significant military and financial contributions towards a peaceful and stable Afghanistan and Pakistan," said 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 U.A.E and the United States," he added. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


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