WASHINGTON // Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces met yesterday with Barack Obama, the US president, to discuss bilateral relations and regional issues.
The two leaders emphasised their countries' strong bilateral ties and President Obama thanked the UAE for hosting the Global Entrepreneurship Summit this coming December in Dubai.
The US president also reaffirmed US support for encouraging broad-based economic growth and opportunity in the region.
The UAE is one of America's largest trading partners.
The two leaders also underscored their commitment to consulting closely in efforts to promote stability in the Gulf region and the wider Middle East. To this end, Sheikh Mohammed and Mr Obama said they were committed to continued strong bilateral defence cooperation. According to a joint statement, the two leaders identified a number of mechanisms to continue to deepen this cooperation, including more joint exercises and training, improved combined planning, and future defence equipment sales.
They pledged to enhance multilateral cooperation on regional security issues through the US.-Gulf Cooperation Council Strategic Cooperation Forum.
Iran, Syria and energy security were also in focus at a wide-ranging discussion held over lunch at the White House.
The two leaders called on Iran to meet its international obligations under the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty and relevant United Nations Security Council and International Atomic Energy Agency Board of Governors resolutions.
They also called for a peaceful resolution of the status of Abu Musa, and Greater and Lower Tunbs, regarding which the United States strongly supports the UAE's initiative to resolve the issue through direct negotiations, the International Court of Justice or another international forum.
On energy security, the Crown Prince and the US president discussed the importance of protecting critical shipping lanes against threats of aggression, terrorism, and piracy. President Obama congratulated the Crown Prince on the announcement of the opening of a new oil pipeline that crosses the UAE, allowing energy supplies to bypass the Strait of Hormuz.
Tom Donilon, President Obama's national security adviser, also joined a meeting where concerns over the situation in Syria were aired. Two leaders expressed the urgent need to implement the Annan plan to prevent further bloodshed in Syria and their support for a transition plan that would meet the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people.
World powers plan to meet on Saturday in Geneva to try to find a way forward.
While in Washingto the Crown Prince also met with US congressional leaders, including Senator Carl Levin, Senator Roy Blunt, Senator Joe Lieberman, Senator John McCain, Senator Lindsay Graham, House Majority Leader Representative Eric Cantor and RepsentativeIleana Ros-Lehtinen, chairwoman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs
In those meetings, the Crown Prince reaffirmed the UAE's strong commitment to a stable and peaceful Middle East, a goal firmly shared by the United States, and lauded the UAE-US strategic and military cooperation in the region.
The Crown Prince concluded his trip by participating in a dinner hosted by UAE Ambassador to the United States Yousef Al Otaiba, which marked the occasion of the Crown Prince's visit and was attended by senior UAE and US government officials. Attendees at the dinner included UAE Foreign Minister HH Sheikh Abdulla bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Undersecretary of the Crown Prince Royal Court HE Mohamed Al Mazrouie, Chief of State Security Department General Hamad Al Shamsi, UAE Armed Forces Deputy Chief of Staff General Eisa Al Mazrouie, Commander US Central Command General James Mattis, US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, US Central Intelligence Agency Director General David Petraeus, US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, and Mr Dolan.