UAE Foreign Minister Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Image Credit: WAM

Dubai: A UAE minister on Tuesday condemned the way the Doha-based Al Jazeera news channel has twisted a statement by UAE Foreign Minister Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan about the Russian plane downed by Turkey last month.

During a press conference with a Russian official in Abu Dhabi on Monday (30/11/2015), Shaikh Abdullah described as “a terrorist act” the crash of a Russian civilian plane over Sinai, Egypt, which killed 224 passengers. Investigation established that the plane was downed by a bomb that had been placed onboard. Daesh terror group claimed responsibility. “We condemned these terrorist actions,” Shaikh Abdullah said.

The Minister was then asked by journalists about the Russian military jet shot down last week by Turkey and he said the UAE “offers its deepest condolences to our Russian friends on the incident of the military plane that crashed recently in Syria.” 

However, the Qatari channel claimed in a news report on Tuesday that Shaikh Abdullah “describes the Turkish shooting of the Russian fight jet a terrorist act,” ignoring the fact that he was referring to  the Russian passenger plane, which crashed in Egypt.  The Al Jazeera report was broadcast more than once and tweeted by the channel on its main twitter account.

Dr Anwar Gargash, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, condemned the way Al Jazeera twisted the statement of Shaikh Abdullah.  “Let us be clear,” he said on his twitter account, “the way Al Jazeera channel has dealt with the statement of Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed was not a professional blunder; It was part of a smear campaign [by the media] against the UAE.”

Earlier report: UAE expresses condolences to Russia for jet downing

UAE foreign minister Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Monday expressed his condolences to Russia for the downing of its fighter jet over Syrian skies last month as well as the bombing of a passenger plane over Egypt.

Shaikh Abdullah was speaking at a press conference in Abu Dhabi during which he also condemned as a “terrorist act” the bombing of a Russian passenger plane over Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula in October that was claimed by the Daesh terror group. He then went on to express condolences to Russia for the Turkish downing of a military aircraft on November 24 over Syria.

Russian state-owned channel RT and Qatar-backed Al Jazeera both ran reports alleging that the foreign minister referred to both incidents as a terrorist act, which were subsequently carried by other Arabic language news sites. Abu Dhabi-based Sky News Arabia however aired the segment of the press conference that was misreported, in which the foreign minister makes a distinction between the two events.