ABU DHABi / WAM
Dr Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, addressed the sixth annual Abu Dhabi Strategic Debate, hosted by the Emirates Policy Centre.
In his speech, Dr Gargash reviewed regional developments and expressed optimism regarding the potential for significant progress over the next year, noting, “We have reached critical junctures in major conflicts and challenges across our region.”
On Iran, Dr Gargash emphasised to the audience the necessity of diplomacy and de-escalation. He called for policymakers to explore constructive ideas, saying that they are needed now more than ever in order to create a “new, more stable regional order in which all countries will be able to thrive.” He added that any process should include Arab Gulf states to ensure it is long term and sustainable.
Turning to Yemen, following the UAE’s redeployment from Aden, Dr Gargash confirmed UAE’s priorities within the Coalition will be to continue to provide humanitarian aid, counter terror threats, protect maritime security and support the UN-led political process.
He told the audience the Coalition has managed to defend its strategic priorities in Yemen, and prevent the Iran-backed Houthis and Al-Qaeda from dividing up the country. He commended the Saudi diplomatic success in concluding the Riyadh Agreement. He also stressed the importance of inclusivity to the political process, noting that the Houthis “are a part of Yemeni society and they will have a role in its future.”
Dr Gargash made the case for a new regional order, underpinned by a renewal of Arab states and values, with a strong moderate core. Referring to the successful example of Sudan’s transition, he said, “We need to be ready to act in unison to resolve conflicts between states, and to encourage countries to resolve any internal conflicts through political dialogue.”
The minister emphasised the need for the UAE to continue pursuing national advancement as it deals with various regional crises. He described the UAE’s national success as inspiring other states in the region to concentrate on progressive social and economic priorities. “Progressive evolution,” he told the audience, is vital “not just for our own sake but to give others hope that life really can get better in this region.”
Dr Gargash addressed the changing nature of the international system and emphasised the necessity of a rules-based global order. In times of change the rules governing the international system are of vital importance in managing priorities and challenges.