Astute Vision in Internal and External Affairs

  • 27 November 2008

In his interview yesterday (Wednesday, 26th of November) with the Egyptian al-Ahram newspaper, His Highness President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan presented an astute and clear vision that contained a comprehensive orientation for dealing with domestic and international affairs. Internally, His Highness presented a detailed understanding of the multi-faceted solution to the demographic imbalance and affirmed the leadership's belief in consultation and participation within specific boundaries and priorities and in diversifying income sources, especially human resources. His Highness's words were to the point when he confirmed that there was competition between the different emirates, but at the same time affirmed that the competition is in the service of Emiratis and is a confirmation of the strength of the union.

In international affairs, Sheikh Khalifa re-affirmed the Emirates' moderate and wise vision when he pointed to the country's firm and civilized dealing with the question of the three Iranian-occupied islands. The Emirates' policy adheres to a peaceful resolution of the conflict according to the principles of arbitration put down by international law. His Highness specifically said that trying to impose a status quo on the situation will fail because the passage of time will not change the Emirati position. His Highness also refused to blame others for Arab problems and crises saying that the Arabs' dissociation from Iraq allowed regional powers to take advantage of it and separate it from its Arab environment. Sheikh Khalifa also said that the Arabs should not blame the failure of collective Arab action on the Palestinian cause. His Highness was very cognizant of the lesson that regional integration experiments around the world teach. He said that it is important that Arab investment in collective food security be based on economic, not political, considerations because this will guarantee their success.

The UAE has always been responsible in its policies and policy orientations, calling for peace and cooperation between countries and societies, and this is what was clear in Sheikh Khalifa's call for not using the Strait of Hormuz as a political tool since it is a vital artery for oil that is an international energy source and not only a mere commodity. It was also clear in His Highness's call for continued political and diplomatic action to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue and in his rejection of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. However, the call for peace does not mean laxity in acquiring instruments for protection, power, and self defense. The UAE's rejection of an arms race in the area should not diminish its right to possess advanced weapons for its defensive strategy.

The President's interview with the Egyptian al-Ahram shows self-confidence, experience, and clarity in domestic and international policy orientations and policies. It also shows that the leadership knows where it is going and how to lead. This increases Emiratis' and Arabs' faith that the UAE is capable of preserving its achievements, of accomplishing more, and of overcoming all obstacles along its way.