WASHINGTON D.C. 16 May 2017: His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces, met yesterday with US President Donald Trump at the White House.
Trump described Sheikh Mohamed as a ‘very special person’, a man whom he has known for many years and one who ‘loves his country’.
The leaders reaffirmed the close UAE-US security partnership and committed to intensify the fight against extremism. They also discussed mutual concerns and responses to Iran’s destabilizing interference in the affairs of regional states, said Wam.
Sheikh Mohamed welcomed the US President’s upcoming dialogue with Muslim leaders later this month in Riyadh, his first foreign visit since entering the White House and a powerful signal to the Islamic World.
He commended the US President for taking the lead to engage and strengthen America’s relationship with its key regional partners and for his assertive approach against extremism and aggression. Sheikh Mohamed highlighted joint UAE-US efforts to promote religious and ethnic tolerance, to contest extremist ideology and to disrupt illicit financing.
UAE a Model
President Trump and Sheikh Mohamed jointly reaffirmed the UAE’s importance as a model of regional stability, progress, and openness in the Middle East. The leaders discussed a positive agenda for the region’s future with greater opportunities for young people, new emphasis on innovation and entrepreneurship, and advancing the position of women in all areas.
In his meeting with the President, Sheikh Mohamed emphasized the critical US role in strengthening regional stability. He recognized the President’s efforts to explore new paths to improved Palestinian- Israeli relations. Sheikh Mohamed noted and encouraged greater collective efforts toward peace and stability in Libya, Yemen, and Syria. He stressed the need for coordinated and expanded assistance to meet the growing humanitarian challenges resulting from conflict and food shortages throughout the region.
At the White House, Sheikh Mohamed and President Trump also discussed the importance of the expanding bilateral UAE-US trade and investment relationship, which supports economic growth and prosperity in both countries. In 2016, the US had a $19 billion trade surplus with the UAE, the US’ third-largest globally. Supporting hundreds of thousands of American jobs, the UAE remains the US’ largest export market in the Middle East and North Africa region, a position it has held for eight consecutive years.
The leaders expressed their desire to deepen already close bilateral relations between the UAE and the US in the coming years. Sheikh Mohamed thanked the President for America’s support of the UAE’s space program, highlighted the many successful UAE-US initiatives in education, the arts, health care, and technology, and formally invited US participation at Expo 2020 in Dubai.
Sheikh Mohamed conveyed to President Trump the greetings of UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and his wishes of further progress and prosperity to the people of the United States. President Trump asked Sheikh Mohamed to pass on his greetings to Sheikh Khalifa.
Later in the day, Sheikh Mohamed met with US Secretary of Defense James Mattis and marked the signing of a new Defense Cooperation Agreement. The Crown Prince and the Secretary reviewed ongoing joint operations and planning to defeat AQAP, Al Shabab, ISIS and other extremist groups in the region. The Secretary and Sheikh Mohamed also shared assessments of Iran’s increasingly aggressive behavior including continued development of ballistic missiles, illicit supply of weapons to its regional proxies, and harassing naval activities in the Gulf.
Yesterday’s meetings mark the beginning of Sheikh Mohamed’s two-day visit to Washington, DC, which will also involve discussions with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Congressional leaders.
The official delegation accompanying Sheikh Mohamed included UAE National Security Advisor Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Sheikh Abdulla bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Affairs Authority Khaldoon Al Mubarak, Undersecretary of the Crown Prince Court of Abu Dhabi Mohamed Al Mazrouei, Deputy Secretary-General of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Al Shamsi, Deputy Chief of Staff of the UAE Armed Forces Lt. General Eisa Al Mazrouie and UAE Ambassador to the United States Yousef Al Otaiba.
The strong ties between the UAE and US are deeply rooted in shared interests and common values. Together, the two countries are working to promote regional security, create economic prosperity, and address pressing global challenges.
By Eudore R Chand