Constant Support of UAE for Iraq

  • 5 April 2010

During the reception hosted in the honor of former Iraqi Prime Minister, Ayad Allawi, in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler’s Representative in the Western Region, affirmed the country’s enduring support for Iraq. He said that the UAE will take all steps necessary to ensure Iraq’s security and stability and strengthen cooperation and coexistence among its different sects. His Highness emphasized that the UAE supports measures in Iraq that enhance its security and helps Iraqi people’s aspirations for a better future. The UAE’s wise leadership has been aware of the strategic shift taking place in the Gulf and the Middle East region in view of the changes witnessed in Iraq since 2003 and had taken constructive initiatives to express the UAE’s support by all means.

In June 2008, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, made his first visit to Baghdad since the end of Saddam Hussein regime and announced the opening of the UAE embassy in Baghdad. During Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri Al Maliki’s visit to Abu Dhabi in July 2008, the President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan took the unprecedented step of waiving all UAE debt, amounting to around $7 billion, held by Iraq. This step received worldwide acclaim. His Highness also expressed the philosophy behind waiving of this debt and called it “an expression of brotherly ties between the two countries and an aid for the Iraqi government to implement its reconstruction plans and rehabilitate the various facilities in the country.”

In October the same year, His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and President of ECSSR, visited Baghdad. This visit reaffirmed the UAE’s support for Iraq and expressed its determination to stand by the embattled country. These efforts were the result of a strategic approach in the Emirati foreign policy that stemmed from an Arab solidarity dimension on one hand and an accurate understanding of the prevailing circumstances on the other.

The UAE looks at Iraq as an important Arab country and believes that any threat to its stability or lack of cohesion among its people can hamper a joint Arab approach and dilute its influence in regional affairs. This could be detrimental to Arab interests as well as regional security in general. As a result, since 2003, the UAE has been offering financial and political help to Iraq and has worked in recent years to extend all possible support to the country.