Al Arabiya Holds its First Debate at the World Economic Forum in Davos
Under the theme of “Rethinking the Balance of Power in the Middle East” Al Arabiya News channel held its own televised debate during the World Economic Forum at Davos – a First for an Arab TV Network since the inception of the Forum in 1971. The discussions, moderated by Al Arabiya’s senior anchor, Rima Maktabi, gathered senior government officials and top business decision-makers, who highlighted their concerns on the near and long-term implications of a different power equation in the region.
This year’s “WEF-Al Arabiya Debate” hosted Salam Fayyad, Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority; Samir al Rifai, Prime Minister of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; Amr Moussa, the Secretary-General of the Arab League of States; Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates; William Hague, Shadow Foreign Secretary of the UK Conservative Party; and Khaled Janahi, Honorary Chairman of “Vision 3” in the UAE.
The “WEF-Al Arabiya Debate” discussions were focused on the most pressing political, economic and business issues, with a primary emphasis on the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Middle East peace process and Iran’s nuclear program. Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said that the delayed peace negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel were due to “Israel’s reticence in fulfilling its obligations vis-à-vis the Palestinians, the Arabs and the international Community”, stressing that “the main source of threat to the region lies in Israel, and not necessarily in Iran”.
On his part, Samir al Rifai, Prime Minister of Jordan, said that “the peace treaty between Jordan & Israel has spared the region from a wider cycle of violence”, warning that “the failure to achieve peace between Arabs and Israel could lead to further terrorism and conflicts in the world”.
In regards to Iran, the Secretary-General of the Arab League of States, Amr Moussa said that “any military action against Iran will inevitably plunge the region in a never ending cycle of violence”.
As for UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Anwar Gargash, he pointed out that the Arab states, Iran and the international community could well collaborate together on a joint effort towards a peaceful nuclear program, citing the example of Abu Dhabi’s nuclear energy production as the right reference in the field.
Furthermore the shadow Foreign Secretary of the UK Conservative Party, William Hague said that some Arab States adopt a certain stance in public vis-à-vis Iran, whereas they seem to adopt another behind closed doors, adding: “Arabs come to us asking to do something to stop Iran’s nuclear program”.
Finally, and on the same note, the Honorary Chairman of “Vision 3” in the UAE, Khaled Janahi, pointed out that some Arab officials tend to “lack honesty and transparency in their official and public statements towards Iran” –hinting to double language and double standards in the same respect.