Biden calls Gen. Mohammed, apologises for comments

(Wam, AP)
Filed on October 7, 2014
Biden calls Gen. Mohammed, apologises for comments

US Vice-President hails the UAE’s close cooperation with the international community on bolstering the foundations of stability and safety in the region.

General Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, received a phone call from US Vice-President Joseph Biden on Sunday.

In the phone call, Joseph Biden apologised to the UAE for any implications in his recent statements that were understood to mean that UAE has backed the growth of some of the terrorist organisations in the region.

Biden added that the United States appreciates the UAE’s historic role in combating extremism and terrorism as well as its advanced position in this respect.

He also hailed the UAE’s close cooperation with the international community on bolstering the foundations of stability and safety in the region.

General Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed and the Biden discussed the bilateral relations between the UAE and the United States and ways of supporting and enhancing the strategic cooperation between the two friendly countries.

Both the leaders emphasised the common view of the two countries on combating and confronting terrorist organisations and their deviated and extremist ideology, which demands a regional and international effort to combat, besiege and eradicate them and dry out their financial resources.

They also emphasised the importance of international cooperation and all efforts that would put an end to these organisations and their terrorist practices, and that at the forefront of this cooperation comes the current international coalition which is fighting these organisations and foiling its goals of spreading chaos in the region.

It was the second time in two days that Biden had to call a key partner in President Barack Obama’s coalition to walk back comments he made on Thursday, when he said that US allies — including Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the UAE — had funded and armed extremist groups.

Earlier on Sunday the UAE requested “a formal clarification” from Biden on his comments.

The White House said Biden clarified his remarks and recognised the UAE’s strong steps to counter extremists and participation in US-led airstrikes.

On Saturday, Biden already called to apologise to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the White House said.

“The vice-president apologised for any implication that Turkey or other allies and partners in the region had intentionally supplied or facilitated the growth of ISIS or other violent extremists in Syria,” the White House said.

Biden’s comments on Thursday came during a question-and-answer session at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The UAE’s official news agency, Wam, carried a statement from Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash calling Biden’s comments “far from the truth.” The UAE Foreign Ministry said it was astonished by the remarks.

Gargash said the American vice president “gave a negative and inaccurate impression” about the UAE’s support in confronting the ISIS group and terrorism. He said Biden’s statement ignored the political and practical steps taken by the UAE.

“The UAE’s counter-terrorism approach reflects a pioneering national commitment that recognises the extent of the danger posed by terrorism to the region and to its people,” Gargash said.

There has been no official comment from Saudi officials over Biden’s remarks.

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