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UAE-German ties set for new era of close partnership: Hamdan

posted on 27/04/2004: 557 views



Berlin - Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, yesterday arrived here on a five-day official visit to Germany. Sheikh Hamdan and his delegation were received by senior German officials, UAE Ambassador to Germany, Ali Mohammed Ali Al Zarouni, UAE Consul General in Munich, Mohammed Attiq Al Rumaithi, and German Ambassador to the UAE, Jurgen Stelzer.



The visit is part of Sheikh Hamdan's tour of a number of friendly countries, aimed at consolidating bilateral ties. Sheikh Hamdan will meet with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder and other senior officials to review with them ways of furthering political, economic, investment and cultural ties as well as exchanging views on a number of regional and international issues.



Sheikh Hamdan earlier said that a new phase of close cooperation and partnership between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Federal Republic of Germany is now opening that will be in the best interest of and for the mutual benefit of the two friendly countries and their peoples. Sheikh Hamdan stated that his visit to Germany, which starts yesterday, would mark an important step in that process. Since the UAE was established in December 1971, he said, 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 stewardship of President H.H. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.



'Our close political and economic ties with the European countries, particularly with Germany, are testimony of the success of the policy which we have adopted,' he said. 'Our two countries have establishing extensive economic ties, as shown by the volume of bilateral trade. We are also engaged in regular consultations and discussions on a host of regional and international political issues. 'We look with admiration at the German model of economic development, and view it as an example from which we have drawn good lessons,' he said.



'During my visit to the friendly European country, I hope to explore prospects of co-operation between our two countries with emphasis on opening up new avenues in economic domains,' he added. He went on to say that: 'There are also a number of political issues on which I hope to exchange views. These include the issue of terrorism, a threat to our world today. '



We know, as do the people of Germany, that terrorism is a phenomenon that is incompatible with, and far away from the basic 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 affiliated 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 are looking forward to reviewing these efforts with the officials in Germany and urge the international community to carry on its efforts to fight off this malady.



'We firmly believe that fighting terrorism requires, over and above, decisive measures to eradicate it, the deepening of the culture of dialogue, tolerance and cooperation between nations and joint efforts to promote justice, to encourage all to abide by international law, and to enhance the role of the United Nations.' Sheikh Hamdan pointed out that the situation in Iraq is another focal issue in the Middle East region.



'Over the past few years, prior to the war last year that toppled the former regime in Iraq,' he noted, the United Arab Emirates extended a helping hand to the Iraqi people in response to frequent appeals from Sheikh Zayed 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 effort to restore stability and security, and to achieve development,' 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 for the sake of building the future of their country and protection of its territorial integrity and unity of its people. The Coalition Forces should, however, hand over power to the Iraqi people to allow them to rule themselves.' Giving special credit to the role of Germany in this respect, the Minister noted: 'The UAE appreciates the role played by Germany in assisting the people of Iraq within the framework of the United Nations.



'No doubt, our discussions in your friendly country will, 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 implement the Road Map drawn up by the quartet, the UN, US, EU and Russia,' he said. 'The momentum of change in the Middle East must go on and proceed towards ending the Arab-Israeli conflict, the most dangerous conflict in the heart of the region.



'We look forward to a greater role for Germany in solving the Middle East question. We clearly share identical views on the need to find 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 for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.'



Security, Sheikh Hamdan stressed, cannot be maintained through guns and assassinations. 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 live in dignity and stability and its right to self-determination.' 'We believe that the principles of tolerance, coexistence and mutual respect must prevail in the end and we hope to see Germany and other major European countries play their role in bolstering these principles.



'Our relations with your friendly country are excellent, particularly in economic and trade spheres,' the Minister said. 'We believe that it is high time that we strive to broaden and strengthen the spectrum of our relationship. The composition of the delegation which I am leading gives an indication of this. It includes ministers and officials in charge of economy, industry, commerce, higher education and scientific research, labour and security.



'We look forward toward a much broader and extensive cultural, political and economic partnership that can bank on the common values and principles that our communities share, and which based on a long gleaming history of civilisation,' he added. 'I hope that my visit will prompt a real and qualitative step forward in the future relations between our two friendly countries.' (The Emirates News Agency, WAM)

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