Russia is a key political and economic partner in the endeavour to realise the comprehensive development of the Middle East and support its stability, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, said at a meeting here.
Sheikh Abdullah also emphasised the importance of strengthening joint Arab-Russian cooperation and taking it to a new level of building a true and meaningful partnership at the 4th session of the Russian-Arab Cooperation Forum in Abu Dhabi, which he presided over on Wednesday.
Russian Foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, Arab League Secretary General Abul Al Gheit, Arab Foreign Ministers and several other delegates attended the Forum.
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The UAE minister said trade between the two sides rose to about $15 billion as he thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin for his keen interest in deepening ties with Arab countries.
In his speech, Sheikh Abdullah also referred to Iran’s adoption of a sectarian approach and its support of terrorist and extremist groups, while endangering stability in the Arab world by interfering in its affairs.
He said that terrorism and extremism have become a global plague that endangers the age old Arab values, including respect for diversity and tolerance.
“This is further aggravated by the Iranian intervention in Arab affairs and the dangers it poses on regional security and peace,” he said.
Sheikh Abdullah added that such an intervention needs to be addressed to prevent its expansion into the Arab region. “This is clearly evident in Iran’s continuing occupation of the UAE’s three islands of Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa,” he said.
The Foreign Minister also lamented the international community’s failure to address the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories and its flagrant violation of the rights of the Palestinian people.
On the situation in Yemen, he stressed the importance of committing to supporting its legitimacy and maintain the country’s unity. He offered his support for a political solution in Yemen based on GCC directives and Yemeni dialouge.
Sheikh Abdullah also referred to the dangerous situation in Syria and Iran’s intervention which undermined the political solution for the Syrian crisis.
He also welcomed the Libyan political agreement, which was reached in Skhirat, saying there was no alternative to dialogue to address difficulties facing implementation of the agreement.
During the session, the Russian Foreign Minister also highlighted the need to cooperate to counter terrorism and to prevent funding of terrorist activities and expressed sincere gratitude to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for hosting the Forum.