UAE urges more US in­volve­ment in Mideast un­der Trump


The United Arab Emi­rates urged US pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump yes­ter­day to in­crease his country’s in­volve­ment in the Mid­dle East and adopt an “over­ar­ch­ing strat­egy” to­wards de­vel­op­ments in the tur­moil-hit re­gion. “Wash­ing­ton’s weight and in­flu­ence re­mains more im­por­tant than ever,” said An­war Gar­gash, min­is­ter of state for for­eign af­fairs in the UAE, a long­time Wash­ing­ton ally.

“Fol­low­ing eight years of weak­ened Amer­i­can en­gage­ment in the re­gion, which many feel has cre­ated a dis­con­cert­ing vac­uum, it looks like we will have to wait a lit­tle longer un­til the con­tours of pres­i­dent-elect Trump’s ap­proach” be­comes clearer, Gar­gash told politi­cians at an event or­gan­ised by the Emi­rates Pol­icy Cen­tre in Abu Dhabi.

“It is es­sen­tial that there is an over­ar­ch­ing strat­egy rather than iso­lated po­si­tions to­wards re­gional is­sues,” he said in re­marks pub­lished in English on the of­fi­cial WAM news agency. “In short, Amer­ica’s en­gage­ment is pos­i­tive and its with­drawal and dis­en­gage­ment is coun­ter­pro­duc­tive,” he added.

Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s ad­min­is­tra­tion’s pol­icy in with­draw­ing from the re­gion has been “a recipe for un­remit­ting chaos and vi­o­lence”, he said, point­ing to crises in Iraq, Syria and Libya which have spi­ralled out of con­trol and fu­elled ex­trem­ism.

Break­ing “this cy­cle of dis­cord and in­sta­bil­ity re­quires dif­fi­cult de­ci­sions, col­lec­tive ac­tion and a con­tin­u­ous search for con­struc­tive so­lu­tions”, Gar­gash said.

Un­der Obama, re­la­tions be­tween Wash­ing­ton and Gulf Arab states turned frosty with US over­tures to­wards their re­gional ri­val Iran. Wash­ing­ton and other ma­jor pow­ers reached an agree­ment, which took ef­fect in Jan­uary, to lift in­ter­na­tional sanc­tions on Iran in ex­change for guar­an­tees that it would not pur­sue a nu­clear weapons ca­pa­bil­ity.

Obama’s re­luc­tance to be­come in­volved in Syria’s deadly war and other re­gional con­flicts that have turned in­creas­ingly bloody and seen ex­trem­ists such as the Is­lamic State group grow has also an­gered Wash­ing­ton’s his­toric al­lies in the Gulf. — AFP

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