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The principles guiding UAE foreign policy were expressed by the country’s first President, HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. These include an underlying belief in justice in international dealings between states, a principle of noninterference in the internal affairs of other states and the pursuit, wherever possible, of peaceful resolutions of disputes, with strong support for international institutions, such as the United Nations (UN).
Through its support for such bodies, the UAE seeks to reinforce the rule of international law, and to support the implementation of internationally agreed conventions, protecting the interests of the small, the weak and the powerless.
Within the Arabian Gulf region, and in the broader Arab world, the UAE has sought to enhance cooperation and to resolve disagreement through dialogue.
The UAE occupies a critical strategic position on the Arabian Gulf, where nearly one-quarter of the world’s oil is produced and shipped. Today, the UAE provides UN, US, European Union (EU) and NATO forces unprecedented access to ports and territory, overflight clearances and other critical and important logistical assistance.
The UAE supports the international fight against terrorism. The UAE has frozen the accounts of known terrorists and enacted aggressive anti-money-laundering initiatives. New counter-terrorist financing laws and regulations have been introduced and enforced.
The UAE is a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the Arab League, as well as the UN and its agencies.
The UAE is meeting its commitments to Iraq reconstruction by providing important financial and in-kind support, including free medical treatment, hospital reconstruction, humanitarian supplies and police training.
The UAE continues to make a significant humanitarian contribution in Afghanistan, and has done so since 2003. The UAE Red Crescent has invested $19 million in local projects, and the UAE Government has dedicated $30 million to international reconstruction efforts in the country. And the UAE people have made $22 million in private contributions. These investments have contributed to the construction of 11 schools, 6 medical clinics, a major hospital, a public library and numerous mosques, among other projects.
The UAE has a military presence in Afghanistan, with a strictly defensive purpose, consistent with the UAE Constitution. The UAE Armed Forces on the ground are focused on the protection of humanitarian initiatives and ensuring safety and stability for local communities. Personnel are also directly involved in culturally sensitive community development activities, especially necessitating knowledge of the Arabic language or Islamic traditions, alongside representatives of key humanitarian organizations such as the Red Crescent.
Recent achievements in healthcare, education and the provision of basic infrastructure can in part be attributed to the work of the UAE Armed Forces in the provision of safety, stability and culturally sensitive community development.
With the international community, the UAE shares a deep concern over Iran’s nuclear development and its impact on peace and stability in the region. The UAE fully supports and enforces United Nations Security Council resolutions barring shipment of sensitive materials and technologies to Iran.
Located just across the Gulf, the UAE and Iran have historic ties, including a significant trading relationship. The UAE, with the GCC, wants the entire region to be free of weapons of mass destruction.
The UAE believes that the restoration of security, peace and stability in the region, and the normalization of relations between all countries, including Israel, can be achieved with the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, within the context of a just and lasting peace agreement, based upon the Arab peace initiative.
The UAE participated in the 2007 Annapolis talks and is a member of the Arab Quartet, and actively promotes a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.