x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

UAE pushes to boost security talks in Asia

Members of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (Cica) met yesterday to discuss how to improve cooperation between Asian nations.

ABU DHABI // The UAE believes more could be done to improve dialogue between Asian countries on security and political issues.

At an event to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (Cica) yesterday, the director of Asian Affairs at the UAE Foreign Ministry said the organisation could be further refined.

"Ideas have been tabled and progress has been made to develop them," said Dr Jasim Al Khalafi. "But more mechanisms are needed to develop this."

The Cica forum, which includes 24 member states, aims to improve cooperation between Asian nations to promote peace, security and stability on the continent.

Diplomats from member nations gathered yesterday at the Republic of Kazakhstan Embassy in Abu Dhabi to celebrate the group's anniversary.

The idea for Cica was proposed by the president of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, at the 47th session of the United Nations General Assembly on October 5, 1992.

"Two decades later, Cica has become an efficient forum of multilateral diplomacy and united 24 states that occupy more than 90 per cent of the territory of Asia - half the world's population," said Askar Mussinov, Kazakhstan's ambassador to the UAE.

"The geographical scope of the conference has considerably broadened and the main cooperation areas and confidence measures have been defined," he added. "A number of fundamental documents have been adopted."

Chairmanship of the forum currently resides with Turkey. The Turkish ambassador to the UAE, Vural Altay, yesterday said the focus would remain on enhancing security and political dialogue.

"Many member countries were reluctant to engage in military and political dialogue," he said. "But everyone understood the usefulness of this context and all agreed."

Dr Al Khalafi agreed that work to put an end to transnational security threats such as terrorism and drug and human trafficking would require joint efforts from all Cica countries.

At the most recent Cica meeting last month, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, reaffirmed the UAE's stance on the Iranian occupation of the Greater and Lesser Tunbs and Abu Musa islands.

He warned the occupation poses a threat to international stability.

amustafa@thenational.ae