x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Arab Spring 'now in transition'

The debate also included discussion on the causes of the Arab Spring, as well as what the situation might be in five years.

DUBAI // Egypt's revolutionaries will have to adjust to solving problems in a political arena rather than on the streets, a conference on the Arab Spring has heard.

Raghada Mohamed, the Egypt youth ambassador for the Arab Thought Foundation, said at a debate in Dubai that the transition away from violence would be the country's next big challenge.

"Things have to cool down and we have to learn how to do this politically," she told the conference, entitled: "Arab Spring: What's Next?".

"We are in a phase of transition. The time of action is past, but the time when we need to be politically smart has not started yet. It's not enough to only push on the street, we have to play the game too.

"We're good at the first one, but we need to be excellent in the last one."

The debate also included discussion on the causes of the Arab Spring, as well as what the situation might be in five years.

Ahmad Obaid Al Mansoori, a Federal National Council member for Dubai, said the conference was unique in its focus on a dynamic, fast-changing subject.

"Normally at these conferences we just look at things that have already happened or that will happen in the future," he said. "However, this is something which is happening now, and we were trying to analyse the changes around us and how best to prepare for them."

He said the UAE had been shielded from the unrest in the region because of steps the Government had already taken to get closer to its people.

"We opened elections in 2006, which was before this [unrest]started happening," he said. "It's going in steps and that's very important. There will be a gradual development across all sectors.

"We call [the FNC] the majlis," he added. "It should be a strong bridge between the ambitions of the people and the vision of the Government."

mcroucher@thenational.ae