US official vows to wipe out terrorism, Daesh
US Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (right), shakes hands with Emirati Ambassador to the US Yousef al-Otaiba (left) in Abu Dhabi.-AP
Abu Dhabi - Iran is an existential threat to the UAE and the region, and should be stopped from expanding its influence in the region.
The US has learned it in a hard way that terrorist organisations seek not just territorial gains but also want to inflict death and destruction on United Stated and on its allies, said Paul Ryan, Speaker of US House of Representatives, here in the UAE Capital on Thursday.
The US speaker, who was in the UAE capital as part of a congressional delegation, also said the US government will unequivocally support Iranian people fighting their oppressive regime and will also step up fight against Daesh until terrorism is wiped out.
Ryan met the Saudi leadership on Wednesday and "discussed ways to strengthening ties on a whole range of issues."
In Abu Dhabi, he said the core of his visit is to build on a common mission to defeat Daesh and stop Iran from destabilising the region.
Iran is an existential threat to the UAE and the region, and should be stopped from expanding its influence in the region, according to the US official.
"We are focused on the Iranian threat to regional stability. It is an existential threat to you. It is an existential threat to Saudi Arabia. And I want you to know that we see this issue the same way that you do.
"We will not remain silent when the rights of the Iranian people face brutal repression in the hands of the regime. Trump administration's comprehensive alliance strategy seeks to hold the regime accountable for its litany of destructive actions," Ryan said addressing a group of young diplomats at the Emirates Diplomatic Academy in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.
Pointing out the recent protests in Iran as proof that the regime is losing its stranglehold on its population, the US speaker said US and its allies in the Gulf must see to it that new alliances between terrorist organisations are not formed from Tehran to Beirut.
When it comes to fighting Al Qaeda and Daesh, Ryan said no one better than the UAE knows the threat from Al Qaeda was still alive. "Because you fight this battle every single day against Al Qaeda in Yemen. You understand firsthand why we must take these issues seriously. So please, rest assured, we will not stop until Daesh, Al Qaeda and their affiliates are defeated and they are no longer a threat to our country or to our allies."
Outlining the core of the US' interest in the Middle East, Ryan said it is a matter of national security.
"The most important part of our interest in the region is about peace and security. This is about our own national security. And to make sure that we have a peaceful Islam, make sure we de-radicalise it, and to make sure countries like Iran is not destabilising just the region but the entire world. Most American snow understand that it is not about energy production but national security."
Otaiba on his part said the UAE have a shared interest in engaging with the US' Middle East policy as "we benefit from the security alliance. And we also contribute to it as well. It is very much a two-way street."
The ambassador added people to people relationships and cultural ties are as important as diplomatic efforts in strengthening the understanding and cooperation between the two countries.
UAE envoy lauds reforms in Saudi ArabiaThe social and economic reforms in Saudi Arabia will positively impact the image of Islam in the West, a top UAE official said on Thursday.
"The way Saudi Arabia changes for the better - more positive, open, progressive society - will have a major impact on how world will perceive Islam," Yousef Al Otaiba, the UAE ambassador to the US, said. He was in conversation with Paul Ryan, the US House Speaker at the Emirates Diplomatic Academy in Abu Dhabi.
"If you have to do a poll now about Islam in the West, the perception will be negative. It will be associated with extremism, with violence, with terrorism. But if this (Saudi) goes the way we think it is going, and young people start playing a major role in the Saudi society, the image of not just Middle East but Islam will see a fundamental change."
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has undertaken a series of reforms including allowing women to drive. "For all the challenges that we face - extremism, Iran, several failed states, governance issues - the vision that Riyadh is undertaking now is arguably a game-changer for the entire part of the world. And those changes will have an effect on how Islam is perceived in the world," said Otaiba.