Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed on Tuesday held talks with Rex Tillerson, US Secretary of State. Image Credit: WAM

Abu Dhabi: His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, had talks on Monday with US President Donald Trump at the White House, dealing with means to boost security partnership and combat terrorism.

The leaders reaffirmed the close UAE-US security partnership and commitment to intensify the fight against extremism. They also discussed responses to Iran’s destabilising interference in the affairs of regional states.

The two nations enjoy deep-rooted ties, with the US becoming the third country to establish formal diplomatic relations with the UAE in 1971. A year later, the US Embassy was established in Abu Dhabi, while the UAE established its embassy in Washington, DC in 1974.

The UAE-US talks come days ahead of Trump’s trip to Riyadh where he will meet Saudi and other GCC leaders and heads of states from many Muslim countries, his first foreign visit since entering the White House and a powerful signal to the Islamic world.

In his meeting with Trump, Shaikh Mohammad 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.

Shaikh Mohammad highlighted joint UAE-US efforts to promote religious and ethnic tolerance, to combat terrorist ideology and to disrupt illicit funding.

In 2006, the US-UAE Joint Terrorist Financing Coordinating Committee (JTFCC) was launched to address issues of shared concern including cash couriers, charities and hawala and their involvement in the financing of terrorism.

President Trump and Shaikh Mohammad 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.

Shaikh Mohammad emphasised the critical US role in strengthening regional stability. He recognised Trump’s efforts to explore new paths to improved Palestinian-Israeli relations. Shaikh Mohammad noted and encouraged greater collective efforts towards 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.

Shaikh Mohammad 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’s third-largest globally. Supporting hundreds of thousands of American jobs, the UAE remains the US’s largest export market in the Middle East and North Africa region, a position it has held for eight consecutive years.

The UAE is one of the largest foreign military sales customers of the US, purchasing more than $20 billion in US defence hardware and services over the past decade, including one of the world’s largest non-US F-16 fleets.

More than 1,500 US firms have a presence in the UAE. Major global companies — such as Lockheed Martin, General Electric, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, FedEx and Halliburton — base their regional headquarters in Abu Dhabi or Dubai.

The UAE investments in the US support hundreds of thousands of American jobs and provide liquidity to capital markets that spur innovation and advancements across several sectors, such as a $6-billion investment in GlobalFoundries, the second-largest semiconductor chip maker in the world.

The leaders expressed their desire to deepen already close bilateral relations between the UAE and the US in the coming years.

Shaikh Mohammad thanked the president for America’s support of the UAE’s space programme, 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.

Shaikh Mohammad conveyed to President Trump the greetings of UAE President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and his wishes of further progress and prosperity to the people of the United States. President Trump asked Shaikh Mohammad to pass on his greetings to Shaikh Khalifa.

Later in the day, Shaikh Mohammad met with US Secretary of Defence James Mattis and marked the signing of a new Defence Cooperation Agreement. The Crown Prince and Defence Secretary Mattis reviewed ongoing joint operations and planning to defeat Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, Al Shabab, Daesh and other terrorist groups in the region. The defence secretary and Shaikh Mohammad also shared assessments of Iran’s increasingly aggressive behaviour, including continued development of ballistic missiles, illicit supply of weapons to its regional proxies, and harassing naval activities in the Gulf.

Shaikh Mohammad’s two-day visit to Washington, DC, also involved discussions with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Congressional leaders.

The ties between the UAE and US are deep 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.

The official delegation accompanying Shaikh Mohammad included Shaikh Tahnoun Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, National Security Adviser; Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; Khaldoon Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Affairs Authority; Mohammad Al Mazroui, Undersecretary of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court; Ali Al Shamsi, Deputy Secretary-General of the Supreme National Security Council; Lt-General Eisa Al Mazroui, Deputy Chief of Staff of the UAE Armed Forces; and Yousuf Al Otaiba, UAE Ambassador to the United States.

Mohammad Bin Zayed holds talks with Tillerson

The UAE and the United States on Tuesday underlined the importance of supporting international efforts to restore security and peace in the Middle East region. This came about as His

Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, held talks with Rex Tillerson, US Secretary of State, and discussed ways to enhance cooperation and ties in the best interests of both nations.

Shaikh Mohammad and Tillerson discussed the latest regional and international developments with a focus on the current situation in Syria, Yemen and Libya and the diplomatic ideas and solutions to the crises in these countries.

The leaders exchanged views on threats and challenges faced by the Middle East, undermining peace and stability in the region.

Shaikh Mohammad and Tillerson highlighted international community’s efforts in fighting terrorism, extremism and violence, as well as UAE-US coordination in the fight against terrorism.

The meeting dealt with UAE-US partnership and their commitment to intensify efforts to combat terrorist and extremist organisations.

Later in the day, Shaikh Mohammad visited the Capitol where he met a number of the members of the House of Representatives and Senate. -- WAM