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UAE supports transition of responsibility to Afghan authorities: says Abdullah bin Zayed at NATO Summit

posted on 21/11/2010: 2961 views



Lisbon - UAE Foreign Minister H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan underscored at the NATO Summit yesterday that the UAE supports the transition of increasing responsibility to the Afghan authorities and the Afghan security institutions.

"This meeting represents a momentous step for Afghanistan in its recent history. Entering this new phase is testimony to the progress made by Afghans throughout the country. The UAE wishes to recognise the spirit of the Afghan population and its leadership who in spite of considerable sacrifices continue to progress towards prosperity", he added.

He noted that the UAE's operation in Afghanistan has always been about countering zealotry and violent extremism that use a distorted view of religion to further an aggressive political agenda.

"The UAE was among the first Muslim countries to assume a full role in the international coalition in Afghanistan. The UAE is pleased to see an increasing number of Muslim countries being part of the international coalition. This shows recognition of the profound interests at stake for the Muslim world. It also shows an increased willingness on part of Muslim nations to take responsibility to defend these interests. The UAE will continue to work to enhance the constructive engagement of the global Muslim community in Afghanistan", Sheikh Abdullah said.

The UAE minister Full text of the speech:

Excellencies, "After London, Kabul and Istanbul, this meeting here in Lisbon caps a year of intense, high-level, international engagement. While explicitly underlining the United Arab Emirates' long-term commitment to Afghanistan, our efforts are geared towards one goal: the transition of increasing responsibility to the Afghan authorities and the Afghan security institutions. This meeting represents a momentous step for Afghanistan in its recent history. Entering this new phase is testimony to the progress made by Afghans throughout the country. The UAE wishes to recognise the spirit of the Afghan population and its leadership who in spite of considerable sacrifices continue to progress towards prosperity.

Security starts at home, but has wide repercussions beyond borders. It is important to repeat: security and stability in Afghanistan are crucial to regional security and stability. The United Arab Emirates is part of the region. Security in Afghanistan is therefore in the vital interest of the UAE. Our contribution to the international effort, including through a very substantial participation in ISAF, underscores the responsibility we take to help Afghanistan develop into a stable, secure and prosperous nation.

The fact that ISAF represents many countries from all parts of the world illustrates that stability in our region is a global concern. NATO has taken its global responsibility to defend stability in a part of the world that is not automatically on the radar screen of many people and politicians in individual NATO countries. Against this backdrop, the UAE would like to reassert its appreciation for the partnership with NATO and its members in Afghanistan, which often comes against considerable human costs and tedious political compromise.

Our operation in Afghanistan has always been about countering zealotry and violent extremism that use a distorted view of religion to further an aggressive political agenda. The UAE was among the first Muslim countries to assume a full role in the international coalition in Afghanistan. The UAE is pleased to see an increasing number of Muslim countries being part of the international coalition. This shows recognition of the profound interests at stake for the Muslim world. It also shows an increased willingness on part of Muslim nations to take responsibility to defend these interests. The UAE will continue to work to enhance the constructive engagement of the global Muslim community in Afghanistan.

Security is one part of a wider process of transition. Of equal importance is the increase in ownership of Afghanistan's economic development and its road to prosperity. As the recent Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan ministerial meeting in Istanbul concluded: a vibrant Afghan economy led by Afghans will do more for stability, than any military solution.

International partnerships also matter when it comes to shaping economic transition. I am therefore pleased to be able to announce that the UAE will host, and co-chair alongside Afghanistan, the first Afghanistan International Investment Conference in Dubai on 30 November. In the spirit of the 2003 Dubai Declaration on Trade, Transit and Investment, this meeting is intended to further bolster economic activity; and to deepen public-private partnerships aimed at long-term development of Afghanistan. Long-term development ultimately is the only sustainable way to start thinking about a military exit-strategy.

2010 saw high-level meetings in London, Kabul, Istanbul and today in Lisbon. 2011 will be another important year for Afghanistan: sustaining today's momentum behind the process of transition, while a number of countries restructure their military engagement. No high-level events have been scheduled yet for 2011. Nevertheless, let us aim for the same level of international engagement in order to keep momentum and make transition a success." – Emirates News Agency, WAM

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