US-UAE relationship on solid ground, says top official

Bilateral trade has risen to $23 billion



by

Michal Michelle Divon

Published: Mon 30 May 2022, 7:33 PM

Last updated: Tue 31 May 2022, 1:06 PM

The United States relationship with the UAE remains strong, and Washington is committed to the region's security, said Sean Murphy, Charge D’Affairs of the US Embassy in Abu Dhabi.

A visit by the high-level delegation led by Vice-President Kamala Harris to pay respects to the late UAE President, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, reflects the importance of this relationship.

Speaking to Khaleej Times, Murphy said: “The composition of our delegation reflected the importance that we attach to our relationship with the UAE, and in that sense, it really represents a continuity in that relationship.”

The high-profile delegation also included the Secretary of State, Antony J. Blinken, and Secretary of Defence, Lloyd J. Austin, in addition to several other senior officials. “It was indeed unusual in the level and its composition… There’s no doubt the relationship is a solid one.”

The two countries have a strong history - the United States was among the first to recognise the UAE immediately after its inception in December 1971 and opened its embassy in 1974.

Bilateral trade has risen to $23 billion and the UAE has participated in US-led military operations in Kuwait, Afghanistan, Serbia, and Iraq as well as the NATO US-led mission in Libya, the two nations standing firmly together on issues relating to security.

Murphy says that the Houthi attacks in Abu Dhabi in January which left three dead and many more injured, and the two subsequent attacks, were pivotal in showing unity in the relationship.

“In the UAE, we want to be very clear about the importance that we attach to the security and defence of this country, and we've been working very hard over the last few months to reinforce the message that we remain committed to the security and defence and wellbeing of this country,” he said.

“We are trying to be as sensitive as we can be to the UAE as it has legitimate security concerns and we're working very hard to make sure that those concerns are being addressed,” he said.

The US immediately condemned the January terror attack and Murphy said its diplomats have been working hard to bring the Yemen conflict - which has placed the UAE and Saudi coalition forces in conflict with the Houthi rebels since 2014 - to an end.

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“We're very encouraged by the progress that we've seen with the truce and with the composition of a new governing authority in Yemen,” he said. The US special envoy for Yemen, Linder King, has visited the UAE many times.

“He [King] has received a tremendous amount of support and cooperation from the UAE in everything that he has been doing in concert with the United Nations to try to first stop the fighting and to create the conditions for some kind of political solution to that crisis for the benefit of the many people in the entire region,” he said,

There have been some destabilising activities in the region, he said. “We have been in very close contact with the UAE for a very long time in this regard,” he said.

“We continue to talk to the UAE about this issue and we share a common perception of the threat to the people of this region and with specific regard to Yemen.”


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