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Tour of South East Asia is a great success: Hamdan bin Zayed

posted on 16/03/2009: 588 views

UAE Deputy Prime Minister H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan left Jakarta yesterday at the end of his several days official visit to Singapore and Indonesia.

He was seen off on departure at the Jakarta International Airport by Indonesian Deputy Foreign Minister,Triyono Wibowo, UAE Ambassador to Indonesia, Yusuf Al Sharhan, Indonesia Ambassador to the UAE, M. Wahid Supriyadi and other senior Indonesian officials.

In a press conference with the media team accompanying his delegation to round-off two-nations tour of South East Asia, Sheikh Hamdan said the tour was "a great success" as it has successfully achieved its targeted objectives, adding that his visit to the two South East Asian countries was in line with the directives of President H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, H.H. General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, with the aim of boosting bilateral ties with the two respective countries.

The UAE Deputy Prime Minister said he had held a series of meetings with senior officials of the two countries and discussed with them economic, political, military, security and other issues of mutual interest. He attributed the success of the tour to the good organisation and arrangement.

On why the UAE is focusing on East Asia, Sheikh Hamdan said UAE's relations with East Asian countries are very good. He noted that the UAE had stepped up efforts to further strengthen ties with countries in the Far East and South East Asia in view of their increasing significance and their surging international reputation. He therefore urged the UAE private sector to continue to proactively engage and interact with those countries.

"We want to encourage the private sector to go into joint ventures and boost further economic and investment ties with the countries in the region," he said, adding that the UAE, for a long time, had focused on the West without giving the Far East the attention it deserved.

"We need to change this trend. We, therefore, encourage the UAE public and private sectors to focus on Asia," he added.

He said it is very important to engage and interact with the countries in the region. "We received very warm reception in both Singapore and Indonesia. The result of our visit is also very positive. That is the fruit of continuous interaction and engagement with others," he added.

He said before this tour, he had made similar ones in the past to South Korean, Japan and China. "East Asia is very important. I have made in the past similar trips to Japan, China and South Korean and the results were positive,' he noted.

He said the UAE needs to encourage the private sector to enter into joint ventures because "if partnership is successful results will also be successful," he said.

Answering a question on the impact of the free trade agreement (FTA) signed in December last year between the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Singapore, Sheikh Hamdan said the UAE is a member of the GCC so any good ties and work between the UAE and any country of the world will reflect positively on the joint interest of GCC States and improve relations between that country and the GCC member states, adding that the UAE remains committed to coordinating efforts with its sister member states of the GCC.

On how the UAE can use its high international reputation which it earned as a result of its balanced and moderate policy on regional and international issues to help find lasting and just solution to the Palestinian issue, Sheikh Hamdan said the balanced and moderate policy of the UAE was laid and nurtured by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and adopted and strengthened by H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and his brethren, Their Highnesses Members of the Supreme Council and Rulers of the Emirates.

"It is very unfortunate that the Palestinian issue is now stuck and our Palestinian brethren continue with their bitter disagreement," he said and urged the Palestinians to unite their front.

"The UAE, Egypt and Saudi Arabia can solve some problems but the responsibility of resolving the differences lie on the Palestinians themselves," he opined.

Answering a question of Iran and some outbursts recently made by some of its senior officials, Sheikh Hamdan urged Iran to maintain good relations with the Gulf States. He said the UAE expected from Iran better relations, being a Muslim country and a neighbour, adding that recent pronouncements related to Bahrain by some Iranian officials were not encouraging.

"Pronouncements recently made regarding Bahrain by some Iranian officials were not in the right place. Iran is still occupying the three UAE islands of Abu Musa and the Greater and Lesser Tunbs," he said, adding that Iran can never be able to move those islands to Tehran. They will remain in the Gulf. He therefore urged Iran to maintain good ties with the Gulf States and other Islamic countries of the world to "serve the general interest of our peoples".

He pointed out that the UAE's policy on the issue of its three occupied islands remains peaceful. He said the UAE has been calling for a peaceful solution of the problem through direct negotiations or international arbitration.

Touching on the UAE's efforts in the field of charity and humanitarian activities, Sheikh Hamdan pointed out that he had proposed the setting up of a coordination committee to coordinate UAE humanitarian services. He said the committee, which was set up last year, had successfully brought under its umbrella the Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Charity Foundation, the Mohammed bin Rashid Foundation, the Zayed Foundation and other charity organisations in the country with the aim of coordinating their efforts in to enable them discharge effectively their humanitarian services, adding that the UAE Red Crescent Authority continued to execute many development projects and programmes in various countries of the world, including Indonesia, Palestine and Sudan, where their activities include the building of homes, mosques and orphanages, drilling of wells and reaching out to the poor and the needy.

He pointed out that when he took over the affairs of the RCA, the latter had in its coffers AED1.4 million but now has more than AED600 million. "This shows the credibility of the RCA in the discharge of its services and programmes and the high reputation and public trust it has won for itself," he said.

He added that the RCA does not spend money arbitrarily. "I must point it out here that the Red Crescent Authority utilises donors' monies only on how the donor wishes the money to be put into use like building of mosques, or drilling water wells or giving assistance to the poor and the needy or any other humanitarian work the donor may decide," he explained, adding that the monies are a responsibility that must be taking good care of and delivered effectively. – Emirates News Agency, WAM


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