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UAE reaffirms commitment to Pakistan for the long term

posted on 20/09/2010: 1163 views



The UAE leaders and people have so far contributed US$60 million in financial and in-kind assistance to Pakistan, including the deployment of three UAE Army helicopters to airlift goods and repatriate victims of flood.

UAE Foreign Minister HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, said in an article carried yesterday by English language local daily, The National, that the generosity of governments and individuals from around the world is, we hope, getting help to where the need is most acute, and will offer some comfort to the people and government of Pakistan as a whole. They are not in this alone." He added that the generosity of governments and individuals from around the world is, we hope, getting help to where the need is most acute, and will offer some comfort to the people and government of Pakistan as a whole. They are not in this alone.

"The UAE and Pakistan are old friends and we stand ready to help, and not just in this pressing hour of need but into the future. The UAE has focused its policy on promoting the long-term interests of both countries, which it believes lie in stability and prosperity", Sheikh Abdullah said.

Ten years ago, world leaders came together at the United Nations in New York and agreed to implement eight Millennium Development Goals by 2015. Ranging from a commitment to halving extreme poverty to providing universal primary education, these goals represented an unprecedented international agreement to make genuine progress on some entrenched barriers to development. Next week, heads of state and foreign ministers will gather in New York to examine how much progress has been made.

Identifying the root causes hindering development and setting out basic goals to lift developing nations has been an essential first step. While all countries in our inter-connected world face a multitude of challenges, developing countries are the hardest hit when disasters strike.

Some come as man-made problems like violent conflict or social unrest. More often challenges take the form of natural disasters that require immediate attention and aid. Often when faced with an emergency, long-term commitments to development can get side-tracked and the underlying causes of social or economic difficulties fade into the background. The UAE has always been very careful not to lose sight of these two tracks.

Pakistan has witnessed one of the worst natural disasters in modern times and the plight of the Pakistani people has led to an outpouring of sympathy from across the globe. The leaders and the population of the UAE have so far contributed US$60 million in financial and in-kind assistance, including the deployment of three UAE Army helicopters to airlift goods and repatriate victims. The generosity of governments and individuals from around the world is, we hope, getting help to where the need is most acute, and will offer some comfort to the people and government of Pakistan as a whole. They are not in this alone.

But the floods are just one aspect of the challenges facing Pakistan today. While the world is currently focused on the immediate relief operation, longer-term efforts to sustain stability and foster development in Pakistan must not be overlooked. Indeed, such efforts have never been more urgently needed than now.

The UAE and Pakistan are old friends and we stand ready to help, and not just in this pressing hour of need but into the future. The UAE has focused its policy on promoting the long-term interests of both countries, which it believes lie in stability and prosperity. Our commitment to this policy of stability and progress for the people of Pakistan and peace on the Indian subcontinent was initiated in the 1970s by the founder of our nation, His Highness the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the first President of the UAE. The UAE has always delivered support where and when it is needed as a main pillar of our foreign policy.

In 2008, the UAE was among the initiators of the Friends of Democratic Pakistan, a global platform to formulate and discuss Pakistan's economic and development policies with international supporters, including China, the US, the EU and the UN. Since its inception, the UAE has hosted a number of high-level meetings of the Friends of Democratic Pakistan, notably a Ministerial Meeting and a Business Forum, all co-chaired with Pakistan.

Illustrative of our long-term engagement with Pakistan is a US$300 million support package, which the UAE announced at the 2009 Ministerial Meeting of the Friends of Democratic Pakistan in Tokyo. This assistance package puts the UAE squarely among the most prominent supporters of Pakistan.

This activity has been inspired by a wish to contribute to the government of Pakistan's efforts to tackle long-term challenges, including internal instability and economic development. This aid comes from a principle enshrined in the international community: our responsibility to preserve and protect human life and alleviate human suffering. In a region where all our futures are intertwined, the security of Pakistan must remain a key foreign policy objective for us all.

The flood disaster has served to highlight these challenges: extremists try to take advantage of the situation in the flood-stricken areas, thereby fostering further instability; meanwhile the Pakistani economy is dealt severe blows by the sheer devastation inflicted by the floods. It is precisely at such times and in such moments that the international community's effort to combat terrorist groups and militant forms of radicalism becomes more critical.

That is why the UAE will be going to New York with exactly this message: let's not forget Pakistan's long-term needs. Our aim with our friends is to put Pakistan's long-term agenda for stability and development, as formulated within the Friends of Democratic Pakistan, back on the radar screen of the international community. The UAE will argue that sustaining the long-term interests of Pakistan eventually means sustaining long-term global interests. The UAE is committed to being at the forefront of the international effort alongside our international partners.

Our meeting in New York is a first step. The next meeting of Friends of Democratic Pakistan Foreign Ministers on October 15 in Brussels will be another important milestone. But much more activity must follow. Along with others we are determined to keep up the international momentum and focus.

Most importantly, the international community will have to be kept engaged even when the television cameras have moved on. In the end, long-term support to Pakistan is what really counts. As Foreign Minister, I pledge that the UAE can be relied on to take its responsibilities to the people of Pakistan seriously. – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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