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New phase of close cooperation in UAE-Korea relations: Hamdan

posted on 13/04/2004: 576 views



Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs said yesterday that a new phase of close cooperation and partnership between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Republic of Korea is now opening that will be in the best interests of and for the mutual benefit of the two friendly countries and their peoples.



In a statement to the Korean News Agency (Yonhap), Sheikh Hamdan said that his visit to the Republic of Korea marks an important step in that process. He said that since the UAE was established on December 2, 1971, it had succeeded in building bridges of cooperation and friendship and in establishing close political and economic relations with countries throughout the globe, under the wise leadership of H.H. President Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.



"Our close political and economic ties with East Asian countries, particularly with the Republic of Korea, are testimony of the success of the policy which we have adopted," he said. "Our two countries have succeeded in establishing extensive economic ties, as shown by the volume of bilateral trade. We are also engaged in consultations and discussions on a continuous basis on regional and international political issues.



We look with admiration on the experience of the Republic of Korea in the sphere of economic development, and view it as an example from which we have benefited considerably," he said. "During my visit to the Republic of Korea, I hope to explore ways of developing existing areas of co-operation between our two countries and to develop new ones, particularly in the economic sphere," he said. "There are also a number of political issues on which I hope to exchange views. These include, of course, the issue of terrorism, a threat to all of us in the world today," he added.



"We know, as do the people of the Republic of Korea, that terrorism is a phenomenon that is incompatible with essential human values. It knows no religion or country. It is, in our view, completely wrong to try to link such an aberrant phenomenon with Islam, which is a religion of tolerance and peace," Sheikh Hamdan said. "Islam has no connection with the acts of a perverted or misguided few who claim to be related to it. We in the UAE denounced terrorism in all its forms and manifestations even before the tragic events of September 2001 in the United States," Sheikh Hamdan said.



"Many years ago," he noted, "H.H President Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan called for a dialogue between faiths with the objective of bringing those who believe in tolerance and common values together. Working with other members of the international community, we have extended all forms of cooperation in fighting terrorism, its perpetrators and financiers." "We look forward to reviewing these efforts with the officials in the Republic of Korea and urge the international community to carry on its endeavours to fight this malady. We firmly believe that fighting terrorism requires, over and above unflinching measures to eradicate it, the deepening of the culture of dialogue, tolerance and cooperation between nations and joint endeavours to promote justice, to encourage all to abide by international law, and to enhance the role of the United Nations," Sheikh said.



He added that another issue of current importance in the West Asian region is that of the situation in Iraq. "Over the past few years, prior to the war last year that removed the former regime in Iraq," he noted, "the United Arab Emirates extended a helping hand to the Iraqi people. It did so in response to the frequent appeals to the international community for action to be taken to alleviate the suffering of the Iraqi people. We continue to provide humanitarian assistance, to contribute to the reconstruction of Iraq and to support it in its endeavour to restore stability and security," he said.



"The UAE, with all of its resources, will stand with the people of Iraq in the hope that they will close their ranks in a spirit of national reconciliation to contribute to the future of their country and to protect its territorial integrity. The Coalition Forces should, however, hand over power to the Iraqi people to allow them to rule themselves." Sheikh Hamdan noted that the UAE appreciates the role played by the Republic of Korea in assisting the people of Iraq within the framework of the United Nations.



"Our discussions in your friendly country will also, of course, deal with the Arab-Israeli conflict and the explosive situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, as a result of Israel's atrocities against the Palestinian people, the construction of the wall of segregation and the failure by Israel to adhere to the terms of the Road Map drawn up by the four powers," he said.



Sheikh Hamdan noted that the momentum of change in the Middle East must proceed towards ending the Arab-Israeli conflict, which is the most dangerous of conflicts now taking place, in the heart of the region. "We look forward to a bigger role for Asia in solving the Middle East question," he said. "We clearly share identical views on the need to reach a just and lasting solution to the problem. Such a solution should be based on the international and legitimate resolutions that call for an end to the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian and Arab territories and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.



Security cannot be maintained through guns and assassinations," Sheikh Hamdan said. "It can, however, be maintained through political negotiations and through a willingness to co-exist, and to restore the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, including the most basic human rights enjoyed by all the peoples of the planet, that is the right to lead a dignified and stable life and the right to self-determination." "We believe," Sheikh Hamdan said, "that the principles of tolerance, coexistence and mutual respect must prevail in the end and we hope that the strong and important countries of East Asia will seek to bolster these principles."



"Our relations with your friendly countries are excellent, particularly in economic and trade spheres," the Minister said. "We believe that it is high time that we strive to broaden the spectrum of our relationship." "The composition of the delegation which I am leading gives an indication of this - including ministers and officials in charge of economy, industry, commerce, higher education and scientific research, labour and security." "We look forward to concluding a much broader and extensive, cultural and economic partnership that takes into account the common values and ideals we share that have evolved as part of our civilisations," he added. "I hope that my visit will prompt a real and qualitative step forward in the future relations between our two countries." (The Emirates News Agency, WAM)

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