Barack Obama, President of USA, televised main address of the summit, at World Government Summit, at Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai. Image Credit: AP

Dubai: United States President Barack Obama commended the leadership of Dubai for bringing together more than 125 countries at the fourth Dubai Government Summit on Monday.

“I want to commend His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum [Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai], the government and the people of the United Arab Emirates for hosting this important summit,” said Obama in a televised main address at Madinat Jumeirah.

With more than 3,000 delegates attending this year’s three-day summit which ends on Wednesday, the lecture hall for Obama’s address was filled to capacity with only standing room left on the fringe of a sea of attendees donning formal dress.

“Government exists for one reason, to serve our people, to help improve their lives. When governments truly invest in their citizens, their education and health, and when universal rights are upheld, countries are more peaceful, more prosperous and more successful,” Obama said.

He said creating stability is critical to achieving long-term regional peace.

“As we’ve seen in the tumult across the Middle East and North Africa, when governments do not lift up their citizens, it’s a recipe for instability and strife,” he told delegates via CCTV.

Obama cited last year’s hosting of Gulf Cooperation Council partners at Camp David as a way forward towards adopting inclusive policies.

“We discussed how true and lasting security requires inclusive governments that serve all citizens. Here in the UAE, your commitment to e-government and innovation is improving how you deliver services like health care … and advance clean energy,” Obama said. “In the United States, including our private sector, we’re proud to be your partner.”

The two-term US leader noted that both the US and the UAE are committed to law and transparency and said the two countries need to work together to better educate their children to prepare for a stronger future.

“With a commitment to justice and human rights, we can uphold the dignity of all people of all backgrounds, men and women,” Obama said.

Obama said the US Constitution begins with three simple words, “We The People”.

“More than 200 years on we are still working to perfect our union. Our countries can learn from each other. We can make our governments even more responsive and more accountable to our citizens. And please note,” he said, “those of you who embrace reform and truly invest in the lives of your people, will continue to have a friend in the United States.”

Stefan M. Selig, US Undersecretary of International Trade, thanked summit organisers following Obama’s remarks.

Selig spoke on behalf of the United States delegation which was guest of honour at this year’s summit.

He said the UAE and US were working together towards innovative approaches across all issues.