x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Sheikh Abdullah praises Obama efforts

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, in his annual address before the UN General Assembly, praises the US multilateral approach.

NEW YORK // Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, has lauded the multilateral approach adopted by the US president, Barack Obama, during his annual address before the UN General Assembly. Speaking in Manhattan, Sheikh Abdullah "noted with satisfaction the positive positions expressed" by Mr Obama, who has distinguished his foreign policy from his unilateralist predecessor, George W Bush. Mr Obama's much-anticipated debut at UN headquarters on Wednesday won rounds of applause as he signalled changes to a discredited US foreign policy, and urged his audience of some 120 leaders to cease viewing "America with scepticism and distrust". The US president won plaudits in the Arab world for hosting a meeting between Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and the Palestinian president, Mahmud Abbas, on the sidelines of the assembly. "The UAE noted with satisfaction the positive positions expressed by the American President Barack Obama in this hall a few days ago," Sheikh Abdullah told delegates during his 12-minute oratory. "We believe that his address contains solid foundations for negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israeli government and we hope that Mr Obama will continue following up this important dossier." The UAE royal's address was part of an annual opportunity afforded to all 192 UN members to address key policy concerns before high-level delegations from the assembly hall's black marble podium. This year's event attracted some 120 world leaders and featured Mr Obama's UN debut, a rambling 94-minute tirade from the Libyan leader Muammer Qadafi and anti-Israel rhetoric from Iran's populist president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. jreinl@thenational.ae