DUBAI // Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, says the UAE will not be deterred by the current financial crisis and show the world it is "capable of turning risks into opportunities". Speaking yesterday at the start of the Global Agenda Councils' sessions of the World Economic Forum in Dubai, which ends tomorrow, Sheikh Mohammed said the meeting was held "in a difficult time, at a special place in the region. It is a meeting for making history". He said he hoped for the success of the summit ? with 700 experts aiming to tackle some of the most pressing problems facing humanity ? and adoption of resolutions that would serve the world economy and ease the repercussions of the current global financial crisis.
In his speech, Sheikh Mohammed also congratulated the US president-elect Barack Obama and his new administration. He also hoped that an intelligent and peaceful solution could be found to conflicts in countries such as Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, Afghanistan and in the Palestinian Territories. Sheikh Mohammed added: "If we could use some sense and economy in the war-torn areas, we would have overcome lots of problems which cost huge amounts of money, probably enough to get the US economy out of its current turmoil.
"Therefore, we hope that the new [US] administration will use sense." Described as "the nation of the future," the UAE would not be deterred by the current financial crisis and would prove to the whole world that it was "capable of turning risks into opportunities", he said.
"Lending policies, mortgages and credits in the United States and Europe have wreaked havoc on the global economy," Sheikh Mohammed said. He added that, oblivious of the crisis signs, top executives in leading financial institutions raced to get huge bonuses. Sheikh Mohammed said that he warned of a global financial crisis during a visit to China last year. "The signs were obvious then; volatile financial markets, uncontrolled escalating energy and oil prices and rising inflation.
"We do not want to create a mere value-driven economy, but a true public-private partnership that would serve interests of the community and safeguard local and global economies." Sheikh Mohammed said the strict financial regime adopted by the GCC countries enabled them to weather the financial crisis. "However," he went on, "we live in a global village, and if the global economy is hurt, we also get hurt."
But Sheikh Mohammed also said precautionary measures taken under the leadership of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, would protect the national economy. *WAM