Move to Upgrade Defence System

ABU DHABI - UAE’s plans for building an integrated defence system are based primarily on its determination to protect its “higher interests, defend the nation and bolster its sovereignty”, according to UAE President and Supreme Commander of the country’s armed forces, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

By Staff Reporter

Published: Mon 23 Feb 2009, 1:39 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 1:33 AM

Shaikh Khalifa, speaking on the eve of the International Defence Exhibition and Conference (Idex 2009) which opens at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (Adnec) on Sunday, added, “We will forge ahead with our drive to back our strategic plans and modernisation of our armed forces and boosting their defence capabilities.”

The President underscored the point that, as part of its overall military strategy, the UAE will acquire an advanced “deterrent defence force to protect the nation, its people and gains”.

“We are a peace-loving nation… however, we believe that peace always needs the force that protects it and the powerful — who are capable of response and deterrence — are the real defenders of peace. We will continue to put every possible effort to maintain the defence combating competence which our armed forces have reached,” Shaikh Khalifa said

“Our efforts will go forward steadily to make a real qualitative leap that enables our armed forces to reach the highest standards of competence, preparedness and efficiency,” he said.

The UAE Vice-President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has categorically reassured that “the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) has no hostile agenda against any country in the region or world”.

“Peace and stability in the region are the main pillars of the (six) GCC countries’ policies. We are not looking forward to building formidable armies heavily equipped to attack or wage wars against others.”

Shaikh Mohammed said the top priority was to protect the GCC’s independence, unity, economy and human resources.

The GCC countries, he said, display a high degree of defence and security coordination when “security and political developments” arise in the region and the world.

However, Shaikh Mohammed regretted Arab countries had not yet achieved an understanding to set up a unified Arab market, let alone setting up defence industries.

Arab economic unity, he advocated, would be the key to all social and security problems He also strongly refuted the suggestion from some experts that holding defence exhibitions could ignite an arms race in the region.

Idex 2009 will last till February 26.

UAE Message for Iran

The Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, received a message from the UAE President, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, covering bilateral ties and issues of common interest.

The message was delivered in Teheran on Saturday by Abdul Rahman Mohammad Al Owais, UAE Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, at a meeting with the Iranian leader.

With inputs from Wam

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