UAE has no interest in choosing sides between great powers, says Anwar Gargash

The diplomatic adviser to the UAE President said the Emirates will maintain 'balanced and diversified economic partnerships in a multipolar world'

Dr Anwar Gargash, diplomatic adviser to the President, at the ninth Abu Dhabi Strategic Debate at Emirates Palace. Victor Besa / The National
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The UAE will not take sides between nations but will engage with multiple partners to maintain its security and sovereignty, Dr Anwar Gargash, diplomatic adviser to the President, said on Monday.

“The UAE has no interest in choosing sides between great powers,” Dr Gargash said, in his address at the Abu Dhabi Strategic Debate at Emirates Palace.

“Indeed, it is the central principle … that we will not, under any circumstances, sacrifice our sovereignty.

“Our primary strategic security relationship remains unequivocally with the United States.”

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It is vital, as we navigate our way through these turbulent times in global politics, that all countries take a measured approach
Dr Anwar Gargash

He said the UAE will pursue a “multilayer approach” as a key foreign policy principle and maintain “balanced and diversified economic partnerships in a multipolar world”.

“The President [Sheikh Mohamed] understands that we are more secure because we do not rely on just one pillar for our security,” Dr Gargash said.

The two-day conference, which started today, will discuss key developments including the Ukraine war, regional conflicts, and the changing world order.

Dr Gargash said the partnership between the UAE and the US has been “close and mutually beneficial for decades” and they continue to value it greatly.

“Yet, it is vital that we find a way to ensure that we can rely on this relationship for decades to come through clear, codified and unambivalent commitments,” he said.

Listing key principles that drive the UAE’s foreign policy under Sheikh Mohamed, Dr Gargash said it welcomes constructive and collaborative engagement with other countries on promoting security and stability in the region.

“This multilayered approach is not only key for national security, but by avoiding complete dependence on just one or two other countries, it also ensures we retain our autonomy as a sovereign state,” he said.

“Currently, we are not dependent on just one or two countries for both our economic prosperity and our security. Our trade relations increasingly look to the East, while our primary security and investment relations in the West.

“This situation may evolve over time.”

Political resolution in Ukraine

He said one of the key principles of its foreign policy is also to build the capabilities of the UAE defence forces.

“We have witnessed how important it has been on various occasions, including when the terrorists attacked our country earlier this year,” said Dr Gargash, referring to the Houthi attack on UAE soil in January.

The Houthis, a Shiite militia backed by Iran, claimed responsibility for the missile and drone attack that killed three people at an Adnoc oil facility.

Ukrainian serviceman stand in attention during Ukrainian President Zelensky's visit to the newly liberated city of Kherson on November 14, 2022. AFP

Speaking about the ongoing war in Ukraine, Dr Gargash said the UAE firmly believes that only a political agreement will resolve the conflict.

He said the UAE has viewed the situation in Ukraine from a principled position aligned with international law with respect of national sovereignty.

“We have tried to help keep the door open for dialogue,” he said.

“It is vital as we navigate our way through these turbulent times in global politics, that all countries take a measured approach, abide by international law and invest seriously in seeking diplomatic solutions to the crisis.

“If we built into this, the fallout will be devastating and it cannot be contained to one or two countries.

“We must also ensure that an increasingly multipolar world and with rising tensions between great powers do not allow rise in economic protections.

“The UAE will always champion an open, global trading system. Everyone will end up worse if we close the international markets.”

He said it is also important to work hard to avoid power vacuums, which he said are “magnets” for extremists.

“The greatest victims of these vacuum is normal people,” he said.

Updated: November 15, 2022, 4:07 AM
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