x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

UAE Foreign Minister urges Syria action saying Arab League was ignored

UAE Foreign Minister, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, says the international community must take action to stop the bloodshed in Syria.

ABU DHABI //The situation in Syria has escalated because the recommendations of the Arab League have been ignored, the UAE Foreign Minister said yesterday.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed also said the international community must take action to stop the bloodshed.

"The longer this condemnable situation lasts, the graver the repercussions for the region, and the more difficult it will be to fix it in the future, whether in Syria or in the region," he said. "As Arabs, we were unable to deliver a tangible solution or to rally the international community to do so."

The Foreign Minister's comments came during a meeting with his Ukranian counterpart, Kostiantyn Hryshchenko, after the closing session of the second UAE-Ukraine Joint Ministerial committee meetings.

The situation in Syria has led to an increase in sectarianism, and Mr Hryshchenko agreed that the violence "the Baath regime is responsible for" needed to be stopped immediately.

"It is crucial for the international community to realise its huge responsibility in maintaining security and ending combat operations by the Syrian regime in civilian areas," Sheikh Abdullah said.

He said the Arab League supported finding a political solution to the crisis. "But this does not mean that we stop working to support and encourage the Syrian opposition or work through the General Assembly of the United Nations and the Security Council."

More than 249,700 Syrians have been displaced in neighbouring nations. Mr Hryshchenko applauded the UAE's stance on the crisis.

"The UAE has attached great importance to this issue, which it intends to put an end to, and we are looking for ways to resolve the crisis, taking into account the situation of the Syrian people," he said. "Ukraine is worried about the escalation of events in Syria, and we believe the international community must do its role to find a peaceful solution, as what is happening in Syria now constitutes a series threat to neighbouring countries."

When asked about Islah, the Muslim Brotherhood branch in the UAE, Sheikh Abdullah said Arabian Gulf countries had to work together to stop Islamists trying to undermine the Government.

"The Muslim Brotherhood does not believe in the nation state," he said. "It does not believe in the sovereignty of the state. There were individuals within the Muslim Brotherhood who would be able to use their prestige and capabilities to violate the sovereignty, laws and rules of other states."

The UAE and Ukraine will sign five agreements - on air services, joint protection for classified information, defence cooperation and a memorandum of understanding on security cooperation, a draft treaty on mutual legal assistance, and a deal on the extradition of criminals - during a forthcoming visit by the Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovych.


* with Reuters