Here's to hoping: UAE, Germany hopeful Iran's nuclear dispute will be permanently resolved
The UAE and Germany yesterday expressed hope that Iran and the six world powers will reach a broad, permanent diplomatic resolution to their decade-old nuclear dispute.
Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister, told a news conference held in Abu Dhabi on Saturday with his visiting German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, that it was hoped an agreement [between P5+1 and Iran] will be reached within the next two months, to be followed by an interim period of six months to test the credibility of both Tehran and the international community.
On whether the GCC member countries are re-establishing cordial relations with Iran in view of Saudi Arabia’s move to settle differences with Iran and the visit to Iran by Kuwaiti Emir Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah, Shaikh Abdullah said the dispute with Iran goes beyond the resolution of the nuclear dossier.
Shaikh Abdullah said [re-establishing cordial relations] with Iran further requires ending occupation of the three UAE islands, halting Iranian interference in the internal affairs of Arab countries and settlement of several other issues. “The nuclear dossier is part of the resolution,” Shaikh Abdullah stressed.
The German Foreign Minister said that the fact that the P5+1 talks with Iran had continued over the past months had boosted hopes that a permanent deal, that assures all countries of the region that Iran will not develop nuclear arms, will be reached in due course.
Under the interim deal, Tehran agreed to freeze some nuclear activities for six months in exchange for partial sanctions relief.
The interim deal also made it clear that the P5+1 would let Iran enrich uranium on a limited scale — but not to weapons-grade levels — under a final agreement.
On the Syrian crisis, Shaikh Abdullah said the UAE has banned Syrian expats from voting in so-called presidential elections.
“The UAE’s move was based on an agreement with a number of countries. A settlement of any crisis requires unanimous agreement among not only key players on the ground, including the government and the opposition, but also the international community,” Shaikh Abdullah said.
Steinmeier stressed the need for relieving the humanitarian crisis of the Syrian refugees in Lebanon and other neighbouring countries.
“The Syrian refugees in Lebanon account for more than a quarter of the Lebanese population,” the German Foreign Minister said.
Steinmeier reiterated Lebanon was finding it hard to cope with the evolving problem inside its borders. In the absence of quick and sustained international support, the refugee issue in Lebanon could become a full-blown crisis with domestic and regional implications for Lebanon and other neighbouring countries.
On UAE’s assistance to Egypt, Shaikh Abdullah said the UAE and Egypt work in partnership and not just as a country offering assistance and another as a recipient of the assistance. “Our partnership with Egypt is not just financial assistance, we also look out for other partners such as Germany, the World Bank and IMF. We also seek balance with partnership with Saudi Arabia. Had it not been for the tripartite work between Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the situation in Egypt would have been much worse than it is now,” Shaikh Abdullah said.
Shaikh Abdullah and Steinmeier stressed the strategic relations binding the UAE and Germany.
“UAE-Germany trade stood at more than 10 billion euros (Dh50.07 billion) in 2013, more than 12,000 Germans live and work in the UAE, there are three German schools in the country, more than 1000 German companies operate in the UAE and there are more than 15 flights daily linking the two countries,” Shaikh Abdullah said.
Steinmeier said Germany is looking at importing liquefied natural gas from the UAE and other countries in the Gulf as part of its energy diversification policy.