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Mohammed bin Rashid: Arab Spring was made by people who waited for long for change

posted on 07/12/2011: 876 views

Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum has said that the Arab Spring was made by "people who waited for a long time".

In a wide ranging interview with the CNN, Sheikh Mohammed also dismissed speculations that neighbouring Iran will develop nuclear weapon. "What can Iran do with a nuclear weapon?" he said. "For example, will they hit Israel? How many Palestinians will die? And you think if Iran hits Israel, their cities will be safe? They will be gone the next day.", Sheikh Mohammed told CNN's Erin Burnett in an interview telecast Tuesday.

"Iran is our neighbour. They are Muslim, and we lived next to each other for thousands and thousands of years. I don't believe that Iran will develop a nuclear weapon", he stressed.

Emphasising the inevitability of the Arab Spring, Sheikh Mohammed said that he had warned many Arab leaders to change themselves otherwise they will be changed.

"Some governments are serving themselves and not serving their people, I said in 2004, I said please change or you will be changed", said Sheikh Mohammed.

Answering a Question about the Future of the Arab Spring, Sheikh Mohammed said: "I think this period of time, you know, every hundred years this might happen again you have to be careful. You don't know what happening, you know, here or there. But I think the Gulf states [are] safe for the time being".

Referring to the sentencing of five Emirati activists to jail last month for insulting the leaders, and their release later after pardoning them, Sheikh Mohammed said: "Not everybody is really perfect and we are not perfect, we are doing a lot for people but there is still a lot to do so we hope this five will become better citizens for their own good and for their own people".

"As long as they don't say something wrong about a person or whatever is it is, they can say whatever they want. We are not perfect, we are still learning. We are trying to help our people, we have our own democracy. You cannot transport your democracy to us [but] as long as you don't step on somebody else you are free to do what you like", he added.

Speaking about the developmental plans of UAE for its citizens Sheikh Mohammad said: "We must serve our people. We must get the education, the universities, the hospitals, housing. And no tax here, and the government has the wealth to spend on their people No tax and the government is working. Like today in the cabinet we made the programme. We have our vision and we [are] going through it. And we are achieving that vision. The dream, we are getting there. Here it's different. Here, everybody can come to the Ruler and say, "well, I didn't get that or that. Or this department or this ministry didn't give me my rights And he will complain about one ministry, so I'll get hold of the minister and say, 'Why didn't you do your job?' So transparency here is more."

On the global financial crisis and its impact on the country he said: "Even the American crisis, all the European crises (are) affecting the market. But we are here better than anywhere else".

Speaking more particularly about Dubai, he said:"We got out of the crisis and now we are back building again. But just to remind you [during] the crisis, the tallest building we completed, the metro we completed, the Meydan we completed, all while in the crisis. All the big projects we did not stop, we only stopped some projects on the paper for a year or two." "I don't call it crisis, it's a challenge, you know, when everybody - all [are] good leaders when things are all right. But you take a leader, a good leader to come, when it's crisis like that. Of course, the American crisis or the European crisis [is] affecting the market but we are [better placed] here than anybody else," he added. - Emirates News Agency, WAM


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