UAE passport ranked world's most powerful

Updated 02 December 2018
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UAE passport ranked world's most powerful

  • A United Arab Emirates passport can travel to 167 countries without the need for pre-visa requirements
  • Last year, the UAE passport was ranked No. 24

JEDDAH: Holders of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) passport can travel to 167 countries without the need for pre-visa requirements, dislodging Germany’s as the most powerful passport worldwide, an online ranking site said on Saturday.
A UAE passport holder can also obtain visas from 54 countries upon arrival, said the Passport Index in its December 2018 report.
Only 31 countries require visas for the UAE passport holder, it added. 
The UAE government hailed the new Passport Index ranking as an “exceptional achievement “, which coincides with the 'Year of Zayed' and country's 47th National Day.
The UAE passport's rank this year was a big jump from its No. 24 individual rank in Passport Index's December 2017 report.
“A new historic achievement… #UAE passport has become the strongest passport & now ranks 1st globally. The achievement coincides with 'Year of Zayed' & UAE's 47th National Day, adding to UAE's numerous accomplishments in various domains,” the Dubai Media Office tweeted.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, was quoted by the Khaleej Times as saying the distinction "is a true reflection of the legacy of Sheikh Zayed, the Founding Father of the UAE. It also underscores what can be achieved through positive diplomacy, reflecting the UAE as a confident and engaged force at the global stage.” 
Issued by the Arton Capital, the Passport Index ranks countries' passports based on the number of countries a passport holder can enter without obtaining a visa or obtaining it at the time of entry. 

 

Top 10
Singapore took the No. 2 spot this year while last year's topnotcher, Germany, went down to No. 3.
Denmark was 4th, followed by Sweden, Finland, Luxembourg, France, Italy with the Netherlands rounding up the Top 10.
In the Middle East, the highest ranked aside from the UAE, was Turkey at No. 90.
Kuwait ranked 97; Qatar, 103; Bahrain, 105; Oman, 107; Saudi Arabia, 112; and Jordan, 165.
The region's trouble spots, such as Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, were in the lowest ranks. 
 

Ease of travel

Armand Arton, founder and president of Arton Capital, said that the Passport Index is the most prominent rating of passport strength through an interactive platform that continuously monitors changes and developments, adding that it has become the world’s premier reference for governments.

“We continuously compare the passports of 193 countries and 6 territories of UN members and work to collect data directly and continuously, all through publicly available information, government sources and international bodies. We determine the strength of the passport based on the ability of the citizens of a country to travel to another country without the need for a visa in advance and obtaining visa access from the airport,” Arton said in a statement carried by the UAE state news agency WAM.

He added that the Emirati passport has witnessed unprecedented progress globally in the past few years, reflecting the international stature of the country. “We congratulate the UAE on this great achievement, and are pleased to work with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation since the launch of the UAE Passport Force initiative,” he said.

Through this achievement, the freedom of movement to many countries of the world is added to the list of what the UAE offers its citizens.

The positive impact of ease of travel not only makes it possible for UAE nationals to travel freely for tourism, but also has economic, developmental and even humanitarian benefits, by facilitating trade and economic investment for individuals and institutions.

 


Daesh terrorists in Syria face two choices: Surrender or death

Updated 19 February 2019
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Daesh terrorists in Syria face two choices: Surrender or death

  • UN expresses concern over safety of 200 families
  • Thousands of people have streamed out of Daesh turf in recent weeks

OMAR OIL FIELD, SYRIA: Militants defending their last dreg of territory in Syria will be “killed in battle” if they do not surrender, a Kurdish-led force said on Tuesday ahead of a final showdown.

The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said they are trying to evacuate civilians trapped in the last half-a-square km of Daesh’s once-sprawling “caliphate” before storming the terrorist holdout.

“We are working on secluding and evacuating civilians and then we will attack. This could happen soon,” spokesman Mustafa Bali said, declining to provide more details on the operation.

Daesh militants “have only two options, either they surrender or they will be killed in battle,” he said. Daesh declared a “caliphate” across large swathes of Syria and neighboring Iraq in 2014.

A small hamlet of buildings in the village of Baghouz is all that is left of the proto-state, which at its height spanned an area the size of the UK.

The UN on Tuesday expressed concern over “the situation of some 200 families, including many women and children, who are reportedly trapped” in the Daesh holdout.

“Many of them are apparently being actively prevented from leaving by Daesh,” the UN said in a statement. The frontline in Baghouz was quiet on Monday afternoon. Tattered buildings and the twisted skeletons of cars dotted the side of the road.

At the entrance of the village, the SDF had turned an embattled building into a temporary base.

Thousands of people have streamed out of Daesh turf in recent weeks, but no civilians have made it out in the past three days.

Those that managed to escape have been ferried on trucks to Kurdish-held camps for the displaced to the north.

The International Rescue Committee said on Monday that 62 people, mostly children, had died on the way to the Al-Hol camp or shortly after arriving in past weeks.

Beyond Baghouz, Daesh still has thousands of fighters and sleeper cells scattered across several countries.

In Syria, it retains a presence in the vast Badia desert, and the terrorists have claimed deadly attacks in SDF-held territory.

An SDF official on Monday said that an announcement will be made this week.

“In a few days we will announce a great victory over the largest terrorist organization that waged war on the world and wreaked chaos and death everywhere,” Zeidan Al-Assi said in a statement.

Trucks entered Baghouz to evacuate remaining civilians on Tuesday, Reuters quoted an SDF source as saying. A Reuters witness in a location near Baghouz saw dozens of trucks moving along a road toward the village.