The UAE will review its policy of issuing visas on arrival to citizens of 34 countries, Foreign Minister Shaikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan announced in the Federal National Council on Tuesday.
“The review of this issue will benefit the UAE and many other countries,” he said. “The review provides an opportunity to reconsider the political and consular procedures and demand provision of beforehand visas.”
He clarified that the UAE had benefited from the waiver policy over the past nine years, especially in the real estate and tourism sectors, and added, “The 90-day free entry facility attracts citizens of those countries to come to the UAE.”
The minister said he thought the Mabhouh assassination was behind raising such an issue. “At that time I held an emergency meeting with ambassadors of the countries concerned. I made it clear to them and without diplomacy that relations with their countries will be impacted negatively if they do not cooperate with the UAE to pursue the perpetrators of the crime. This is not only a breach of UAE sovereignty but one that flouts sovereignty of those countries too,” he said.
He referred to the positive reactions from the European Union, which issued statements of condemnation, and the positions taken by Australia and Britain (which expelled an Israeli diplomat).
Shaikh Abdullah said, “We thank them because these states have delivered a message to Israel that it cannot do that and the issues should not go unnoticed, as if nothing happened.”
The UAE does not allow any other country to commit a chaotic, illegal act on its territories, he said.
“Therefore, I affirm that we will continue tracking the Mabhouh assassins in a well-organised and legal manner, to show the whole world that the UAE is a state of law, sovereignty and respect,” Shaikh Abdullah concluded.