Sheikh Mohamed and Angela Merkel commit to combating extremism

Two leaders urge progress on interfaith dialogue during phone call

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Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel reiterated their commitment to combating extremism.

During their phone call on Tuesday, the two leaders spoke of the different ways dialogue could be continued between different faiths to foster tolerance and peaceful co-existence.

"During a phone call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, we discussed the latest developments of our strategic partnership, and reaffirmed our commitment to combating extremism in all its forms, in addition to advancing interfaith dialogue at both a regional and global level," Sheikh Mohamed said on Twitter.

It came as Ms Merkel declared terrorism as Europe's “common enemy” – a day after another deadly attack on its soil.

At least four people were killed in the Austrian capital of Vienna after an ISIS terrorist, wearing a fake suicide vest, opened fire on Monday night.

Police shot dead one attacker while at least one of his accomplices was at large.

The continent is on high alert after three people were murdered in a stabbing rampage at a cathedral in Nice on Thursday.

Condemning the shootings in Vienna, Mrs Merkel said Germany stood with Austria in its fight against terrorism.

“Islamist terror is our common enemy. The fight against these assassins and those who instigate them is our common struggle,” her spokesman said.

On Tuesday, Sheikh Mohamed and Ms Merkel also discussed the UAE and Germany's strong bilateral ties.

The UAE's relationship with Germany has long been shaped by strong economic links but widening diplomatic and cultural ties came to the fore last year when they agreed to establish a strategic partnership, during Sheikh Mohamed's visit to the country.

Germany is the UAE’s fourth largest trading partner after India, China and the US. It had a total trade volume of $13.3 billion (Dh48.85bn) in 2018. And the UAE is among Germany’s main oil suppliers with Adnoc involved in a joint venture with the German Linde Group.

This week, Sheikh Mohamed also held a phone call with French President Emmanuel Macron.

During the call, Sheikh Mohamed offered his condolences to Mr Macron and the families of those who were killed in a spate of attacks in France over the past few weeks. He also wished the injured a speedy recovery.

"These violent atrocities are inconsistent with the teachings and principles of all monotheistic religions that call for peace, tolerance and love and emphasise the sanctity of human life," said Sheikh Mohamed.

He reiterated his rejection of hate speech and said it divided people of different nationalities and faiths and only served those with extremist ideas. Sheikh Mohamed also rejected any justification that may be used to excuse such criminal acts of violence and terrorism, reported state news agency Wam.

Sheikh Mohamed called for peaceful and respectful dialogue between individuals of different backgrounds, citing the UAE as an example of an Arab Muslim country with proud values of co-existence, tolerance and co-operation among its diverse population.