Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 November 2019

Abdullah: we fight terror in all its forms

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs, denounced extremism in all its forms on Saturday and said the UAE was fulfilling its responsibilities in the fight against terrorism.
Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, the UAE’s Minister of Foreign Affairs speaks during the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly on September 27 in New York. Timothy A Clary / AFP Photo
Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, the UAE’s Minister of Foreign Affairs speaks during the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly on September 27 in New York. Timothy A Clary / AFP Photo

“My country is committed to … combat violent extremism and affiliated beliefs and terrorist acts,” Sheikh Abdullah told the United Nations General Assembly.

He highlighted the UAE’s role in the US-led military coalition fighting ISIL in Syria and Iraq.

“The UAE hopes for the restoration of security and stability in the region so that governments can carry out their duties and people can resume their normal lives,” Sheikh Abdullah said.

Only a swift and decisive strategy to fight extremism would be successful against the threat that is “expanding beyond our region to the rest of the civilised world”.

He warned that these efforts would fail if they were limited to Iraq and Syria, and they must be expanded to fight extremist groups “wherever they exist”.

He also expressed serious concern about terrorism and sectarian division in the region, and said they had become a grave threat to international peace and security.

Denouncing critics of the UAE’s ally, Egypt, he said: “We look to Egypt’s restoration of cultural and human rights as a promising path.

“The stability of Egypt is the security of the entire region.”

As Sheikh Abdullah spoke the international anti-ISIL coalition continued air strikes in Syria and British warplanes joined the fight over Iraq.

The Pentagon said seven targets were hit in Syria, including two armed vehicles at the border crossing in the besieged Kurdish town of Kobani.

Senior Syrian Kurdish official Newaf Khalil said the latest strikes hit the ISIL-held town of Ali Shar, east of Kobani, and destroyed several ISIL tanks.

Saturday’s strikes came a day after hundreds of Kurdish fighters crossed from Turkey to reinforce Kobani’s Kurdish militia defenders.

Coalition aircraft also pounded the eastern Syria city of Raqqa, which the militants have made the headquarters of the “caliphate” they declared in June straddling swaths of Iraq and Syria.

More than 160,000 refugees have streamed into Turkey since the militants began advancing on the town last week.

Royal Air Force Tornado GR4 combat jets armed with laser-guided bombs took off from Britain’s RAF Akrotiri base in Cyprus for missions over Iraq but returned after seven hours without having used their weapons.

“On this occasion no targets were identified as requiring immediate air attack by our aircraft,” a UK defence ministry official said.

Washington has said ISIL cannot be defeated only by air strikes. At least 15,000 “moderate” rebels are needed.

Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday his country could take a military role in the coalition.

Ankara has for months frustrated the West with its low-key role in the anti-ISIL campaign but insisted its hands were tied because of dozens of Turkish hostages abducted by ISIL in Iraq, who are now free.

The US and its Arab allies began air strikes against ISIL in northern and eastern Syria on Tuesday, more than a month after Washington launched its air campaign against the extremists in Iraq.


* Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse

Updated: September 27, 2014 04:00 AM