Busi­ness­man’s mes­sage to US vot­ers

7 Days in Dubai - - NEWS - @Sar­watNasir sar­wat@7days.ae

Amer­i­cans need to choose wisely in next week’s pres­i­den­tial elec­tions as their next leader will have to make “tough de­ci­sions”, a lead­ing UAE busi­ness­man has said.

Kha­laf Ah­mad Al Habtoor, Chair­man of the Al Habtoor Group, made the com­ments dur­ing the an­nual Arab-US Pol­i­cy­mak­ers Con­fer­ence in Wash­ing­ton DC.

He said that the next pres­i­dent would need to de­cide who their friends are in the Mid­dle East, though he did not state if he would pre­fer Demo­cratic can­di­date Hil­lary Clin­ton, who is polling 46 per cent, or Repub­li­can choice Don­ald Trump, who is polling 40.6 per cent.

Both can­di­dates are con­tro­ver­sial. Trump has been in the fir­ing line for com­ments made about Mus­lims, Mex­i­cans and women while Clin­ton is be­ing probed by the FBI to de­ter­mine whether she dis­cussed clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion in her pri­vate emails.

Al Habtoor said: “The GCC coun­tries have been good friends to Amer­ica, yet the US gov­ern­ment is lean­ing nowa­days in favour of Iran.

“This is a cause of con­cern. Iran is the world’s largest spon­sor of ter­ror­ism – a truth that the US seems to for­get for its own in­ter­ests.

“You may ask what right do I have as an Arab, By Sar­wat Nasir a non-Amer­i­can cit­i­zen, to pass com­ments on your fu­ture leader… I have the right, be­cause who­ever gets into the White House af­fects ev­ery­body – the en­tire world.

“The new pres­i­dent’s poli­cies will ei­ther em­power our en­e­mies or weaken them.”

The speech also fo­cused on what Al Habtoor sees as the main chal­lenges that need ad­dress­ing when the next US pres­i­dent is elected, in­clud­ing what he called “every­one’s night­mare, our big­gest man-made mon­ster – Daesh”.

He touched on other is­sues, in­clud­ing how world lead­ers have ne­glected mil­lions of refugees and how the “lack of ed­u­ca­tion and ir­re­spon­si­ble me­dia” has con­trib­uted to what he said was a sharp rise in Is­lam­o­pho­bia around the world.

Al Habtoor pledged $20 mil­lion of his own money to start a global ini­tia­tive to com­bat poverty.

He said: “It is time to stop talk­ing pol­i­tics and let us fo­cus and deal with real the problems threat­en­ing our world to­day.”

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