Positive Emirati Initiative For Iraq

  • 8 July 2008

The leadership of the United Arab Emirates continues its tradition of seeking to strengthen the bonds of Arab cooperation and common action. The noble gesture by UAE President, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Aal Nahyan, to forgive the $4 billion Iraqi debt – plus accumulated interest – follows in the path that the UAE leadership has charted to unhesitatingly support and buttress the principle of traditional Arab brotherhood. It also comes at a difficult time for some Arab countries and to translate the Emirates' support for the Iraqi people in the face of economic difficulties, help speed up reconstruction plans under state sovereignty, and defeat all attempts against Iraq's unity.

Shaikh Khalifa's emphasis on Iraq's regaining its security and stability is a cornerstone in the country's reclaiming of its wider role in its Arab, regional, and international environments. This emphasis was behind the Emirates' quick announcement last month of the appointment of a new ambassador in Baghdad and of the re-opening of the UAE embassy there which would help Iraq's reaching out to the Arab countries. The Emirates also decided to take a serious step in the re-building of the country's infrastructure by launching large projects estimated at $12 billion as part of what the Iraqi people need.

Shaikh Khalifa's open call to all sectors of the Iraqi people and their political trends to eschew sectarian and factional violence reflects the leadership's firm interest in Iraq's wellbeing, security, and stability and in its playing its pivotal role. The Emirates has a firm and principled policy toward the Arab countries and the world at large, and it is based on mutual respect, constructive dialogue, and non-interference in the domestic affairs of other countries. The Emirates' policy is also based on an honest and principled stand on the various Arab, regional, and international issues; a stand that has proven both accurate and visionary.

The United Arab Emirates has opened the door and taken the first step, affirming its belief that an Arab opening on Iraq is a necessity at this delicate period, especially with the approaching end of the international involvement in the country and in view of regional conditions that may arise as a consequence. Iraq also is in need of the Arab presence to help it face its domestic challenges that aim to break its unity and destabilize it. Actions similar to the Emirates will ensure common gains and mutual interests and will provide the necessary incentives for Iraq, both domestically and internationally. Moreover, such steps are relatively easy so long as the desire and willingness to achieve them were the primary incentives.