UAE official says time to deal with Iran, Turkey rivalry

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United Arab Emirates Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash speaks at an event at Chatham House in London, Britain, July 17, 2017. Photo: Reuters / Neil Hall / File.

The UAE is trying to manage long-standing rivalries with Iran and Turkey through dialogue to avoid any further confrontation in the region as the Gulf state focuses on its economy after COVID-19, said a senior official.

Anwar Gargash, diplomatic adviser to the president of the United Arab Emirates, told a conference on Saturday that there was uncertainty over the United States’ engagement in the region and concerns of an “impending cold war” between Washington and Beijing.

The Gulf states, which have close economic ties to China, also rely heavily on the US military umbrella and are closely monitoring talks between world powers and Iran to revive a 2015 nuclear pact as well as the Taliban’s return to power. power in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of the United States. .

“We will see in the coming period really what happens with regard to the American footprint in the region. I don’t think we know it yet, but Afghanistan is definitely a test and to be honest it is a very worrying test, ”Gargash said.

“Part of what we need to do is manage our region better. There is a void and every time there is a void there are problems, ”he told the World Policy Conference.

The UAE tried to defuse tensions by engaging with non-Arab Iran and Turkey, whose influence it had tried to counteract in conflicts in Yemen, Libya and elsewhere in the region.

The UAE and Saudi Arabia believe the 2015 nuclear pact was flawed because it did not address Iran’s missile program and regional proxy network. The UAE has also decided to fight Islamist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood, which the Gulf states see as a threat to their dynastic system of government.

“Turkey’s recent review of its policies towards Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood and towards Saudi Arabia and others is very welcome. And I think for us getting halfway there and reaching out is very important, ”Gargash said.

“The Turks have been very positive about what we tell them,” he said. “Am I very positive about Iran’s reach? Yes. Am I very certain that Iran will change its regional course? I have to say I’m more realistic here, but I bet Iran is also concerned about the void and the escalation. “

Gargash said the pandemic brought non-political priorities to the fore and a primary concern was now taken between the United States and China.

“We are all very worried about the impending cold war. This is bad news for all of us, because the idea of ​​choosing is problematic in the international system, and I think it will not be an easy task, ”he said.

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