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National Day Feature: UAE Foreign Policy

posted on 01/12/2007: 2056 views

Since the establishment of the Federation in 1971, UAE foreign policy has been inspired by the principles of moderation, consistency, and support of just causes.

These values were eloquently echoed in President HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan's address to the 14th legislative chapter of the Federal National Council, when he said "Our foreign policy has been firmly built on mutual respect for other states and non-interference in their internal affairs. UAE relations with other nations are based on the advancement of mutual interests, the cultivation of the spirit of cooperation and good neighbourly relations, and the resolution of disputes through dialogue, cooperation and peaceful means and the enhancement of international peace and security." "Thanks to this policy, we have maintained close relations with the rest of the world. Another salient feature of our foreign policy has been our proactive role in the humanitarian sphere worldwide," Sheikh Khalifa said.

The UAE Constitution has set the salient features upon which the country's foreign policy is based. It states that the federation of UAE is part of the Arab World to which it is linked with bonds of common faith, language, history and destiny. One of the most important objectives of the federation is to establish links between the UAE and all brotherly and friendly UN member countries on the basis of mutual respect and interests.


The UAE has been adopting flexible diplomacy and following a peaceful approach to put an end to the Iranian occupation of the UAE three islands of Greater and Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa.

The UAE therefore attempts to have the dispute over the three islands settled through direct negotiations with Iran or reference to the International Court of Justice`.


The UAE President has vowed to work hand in hand with his brothers the leaders of the GCC countries toward promoting closer ties and fostering political, economic, security, and social integration amongst those nations who are united by bonds of religion, history, language, culture and tribal and other affinities.

The UAE, in coordination with the GCC and Arab League member states, strongly supports diplomatic efforts to contain tension and strife spots in the Middle East and stand for peaceful settlement of disputes in order to enhance world peace and security.


The UAE was one of the first countries to reach out to Iraq and continues to stand by the people of Iraq until they overcome their predicament. The UAE President has reiterated the UAE's support for the Iraq people and urged all Iraqis to unify their stand in this difficult time within the framework of national accord to bring back to their country stability, security and prosperity.

The UAE is optimistically looking forward to the completion of the political transition process in Iraq. The UAE is also reiterating its support for all efforts by the Iraqi government to boost political dialogue among all the Iraqi factions in order to achieve national reconciliation, reconstruction of all Iraqi institutions in a way that would guarantee the unity of Iraq, its independence, regional sovereignty and stability for its people so that Iraq can come back to play its natural role in the region and the world in general.


The UAE believes that no Middle East settlement is attainable under the state of occupation and siege imposed on the Palestinian people who are suffering the most flagrant humanitarian crisis. It maintains that the continued Israeli aggression can only aggravate the situation and breed more violence which will radiate to the entire region.

UAE Foreign Minister, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has called the United Nations and its Security Council to play a more proactive role, beside the Troika, in reactivating the Middle East peace negotiations. In his address of the United Nations' 62nd session in New York, Sheikh Abdullah stressed that no durable settlement of the Arab Israeli conflict could be achieved until Israel accepted the Arab Peace Initiative which was based on the Security Council resolutions and international legitimacy. He also reiterated the UAE's unequivocal support of Syria's right to regain full sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights.

"The UAE hopes that the international Conference on Peace in the Middle East to be held next autumn will come up with a durable, comprehensive, and balanced settlement," Sheikh Abdullah said.

Sheikh Abdullah commended the UN efforts to restore stability and security to Lebanon. He urged for pressure on Israel in order to honour its legal obligations under resolution 1701 and to respect Lebanon's territorial integrity, stop frequent infringements of its territories, and withdraw from Shabaa Farms and Al Ghajar Village.

The Foreign Minister voiced the UAE support of Lebanon's reconstruction efforts. He referred in this respect to scores of humanitarian and reconstruction programmes staged in Lebanon, including the large-scale demining operation initiated by the UAE in 2001 to which it had earmarked US$50 million.


The UAE has always been an unequivocal supporter of other Arab and Islamic countries. The late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan had played an instrumental role in closing Arab and Islamic ranks. The UAE has contributed effectively to promoting inter-Arab cooperation and supporting the Organisation of Islamic Conference. (OIC) Addressing the 34th session of the OIC Foreign Ministers Conference held in Pakistan last may, UAE State Minister for External Affairs Mohammed Hussain Al Shaaali said "The UAE follows with deep concern the predicament and inhuman suffering of several Muslim nations around the world.

Based on the instructions of the UAE President, has extended humanitarian, medical, and developmental aid to these Muslim nations through the various organizations including Abu Dhabi Development fund, the Red Crescent Authority and other philanthropic organizations.


The UAE was one of the first countries that called for standing against terrorism. In July 2004, a federal law on fighting terrorist crimes was enacted.

President HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed has reiterated the UAE condemnation of all forms of terrorism as contradictory with all religious and human values. He vowed to put all the UAE's resources at the disposal of the international community's efforts to combat terrorism.

The UAE declared that any terrorist act committed anywhere in the world imposed a direct threat on not only world peace and security but also all human virtues and the right of mankind to live in peace.

Weapons of Mass Destruction The UAE has always called for removal of weapons of mass destruction and for declaring the Middle East and the GCC an area free of these lethal weapons.

At many UN conferences, the UAE has demanded that Israeli be required to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) by giving it access to its nuclear activities and facilities.

The UAE believes that the frequent wars and Israel's occupation of Palestinian and Arab territories are not the only factors behind the volatility of the Middle East and the GCC region. Other key factors are at play including Israel's possession of nuclear arsenal and the endeavours of other countries to acquire nuclear reactors outside the IAAE control. This situation, the UAE maintains, poses a grave threat to the peace and security of the neighbouring countries as well as the entire region and the world at large.

The UAE called for adoption of a balanced policy that would ensure adherence of all parties to non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. It also asserted the right of all nations, particularly the developing countries, to acquire nuclear energy for peaceful purposes within the guidelines set by IAEA.

In this respect, the Foreign Minister welcomed the IAEA-Iran agreement on setting a timetable for settlement of the pending issues related to Iran's nuclear programme. He voiced the UAE support of IAEA's call for keeping the Middle East a nuke-free region, stressing that Israel should not remain out of the nuclear non-proliferation arrangement.


The UAE welcomes the efforts being exerted toward creating a world fund for fighting poverty by 2015. It believes that closer cooperation between the North and the South will help address the negative impact of frequent economic crises and ensures constant flow of aid and basic commodities. The UAE is also in favour of revising globalization and trade liberalization policies to be more responsive to the concerns and needs of developing nations. (Emirates News Agency, WAM)


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