UAE FM says Israel, Iran and Turkey pose threat to the region

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Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (C) meets with Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan (L) and his delegation at the Presidential Palace in the capital Cairo on March 18, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / EGYPTIAN PRESIDENCY /

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation of United Arab Emirates, has said Iran, Israel and Turkey pose a threat to the UAE and Egypt, the Emirates News Agency reported on Sunday.

Paying an official visit to Cairo on Sunday, Sheikh Abdullah said “… the challenges faced by the UAE and Egypt are not confined to the Arab scene only, but rather include those coming from Iran, Israel and Turkey.’

“We are determined to continue to stand up to these challenges with all firmness, and we will utilise the mutual trust existing between our peoples and their leadership,” Sheikh Abdullah added during a joint press conference with Egypt’s foreign minister, Sameh Shukry, in Cairo.

“Any party trying to use military power to reach a settlement in Syria can never succeed. The whole situation should be left for the Syrians themselves to sort out, and there should be no place for all those militias who have entered the Syrian territories and are supported by other parties and countries,” he said, pointing a finger of accusation at the Iranian and Turkish interference into the internal affairs of Syria.

On Jan. 9 the street names around the United Arab Emirates Embassy in Ankara were changed to reflect Turkey’s Ottoman heritage in the Middle East, including its defense of Muslim holy sites, in the wake of a diplomatic spat between Turkey and the UAE that erupted over comments tweeted by Sheikh Abdullah in December regarding the behavior of Ottoman governor and commander Fahreddin Pasha.

“Do you know that in 1916 Turkish Fakhri Pasha committed a crime against the people of the Prophet’s City, stole their money and kidnapped them and their passengers on trains to Damascus […]. The Turks also stole most of the manuscripts of the Mahmudiyah library in the city and sent them to Turkey. These are Erdogan’s ancestors and their history with Arab Muslims,” Al Nahyan tweeted.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Dec. 20 lambasted Al Nahyan: “Those miserable people are in such a delirious state that they can say without shame that Erdoğan’s ancestors stole sacred relics from Medina and brought them to Istanbul! That is called protecting a place from intruders, not stealing. Protecting in the name of martyrdom.”

“You pitiful person who slanders us: Where were your ancestors while Fahreddin Pasha was defending Medina?” he added.

The UAE foreign minister’s remarks in Egypt came days after Saudi Arabia’s powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman targeted Turkey and Iran during a visit to Cairo.

Egypt’s Al-Shorouk newspaper on March 7 reported the prince as saying “the contemporary triangle of evil comprises Iran, Turkey and extremist religious groups.”

Bin Salman’s reported comments are seen as reflecting Saudi Arabia’s deep suspicion of Turkish President Erdoğan, whose ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has its roots in Islamist politics and who has allied his country with Qatar in its dispute with Saudi Arabia and some other Gulf states.

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