UAE ambassador to India stresses need for peace in region 

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The UAE Ambassador to India, Dr. Ahmed Albanna, addressing the event titled "India-UAE Flourishing Relationship" on Monday. (Courtesy: UAE Embassy in New Delhi)
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The UAE Ambassador to India, Dr. Ahmed Albanna, addressing the event titled "India-UAE Flourishing Relationship" on Monday. (Courtesy: UAE Embassy in New Delhi)
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The UAE Ambassador to India, Dr. Ahmed Albanna, addressing the event titled "India-UAE Flourishing Relationship" on Monday. (Courtesy: UAE Embassy in New Delhi)
Updated 19 March 2019
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UAE ambassador to India stresses need for peace in region 

  • Emirati envoy hails nation’s key role in calming recent Pakistani-Indian tensions
  • Strategic trade partnership helps strengthen bond between UAE and India 

NEW DELHI: Students have been urged to spread the message of tolerance in the region during a high-profile meeting with a top diplomat.
The UAE Ambassador to India, Dr. Ahmed Al-Banna, on Monday stressed the importance of creating an atmosphere for peace during a major outreach program in New Delhi.
“The UAE has had a long-standing role in preventing and fighting acts of terrorism and radical organizations,” Al-Banna told journalists at the event. “We work very closely with all our partners from different countries in the region to make the region peaceful so that we can live together.”
The Emirati envoy was speaking at the first outreach session of its kind, being staged at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in New Delhi, where students from the leading engineering establishment asked a range of questions relating to the region and the world.
Al-Banna said that the UAE was a strong believer in “tolerance and acceptance,” and he highlighted the “important” role played by his country in easing a recent flare-up of military tensions between India and Pakistan over the disputed Kashmir province.
“On the day of the huge escalation, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed bin Zayed had a phone conversation with (Indian) Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan. Our role was to sort out differences between the two sides in a peaceful manner through negotiation,” the UAE envoy added.
However, Al-Banna’s comment came as New Delhi denied any third-party involvement in helping to de-escalate the situation in the region.
The ambassador went on to highlight the growing ties between the UAE and India since the 1970s. “Both countries have accelerated their relationship to transform it from what used to be a buyer-seller relationship into a strategic partnership,” he said.
The value of trade between India and the UAE currently stands at around $50 billion, making India the UAE’s second-largest trading partner. The UAE is India’s third-largest trading partner after China and the US.
The Indian population in the UAE is 3.3 million, making it the largest concentration of Indian nationals outside of the South Asian country.
Last year the UAE declared 2019 the “year of tolerance” to strengthen the nation’s role of encouraging stability and prosperity in the region.
 


Xi, Kim to meet amid trade, nuclear standoffs with US

Updated 2 min 56 sec ago
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Xi, Kim to meet amid trade, nuclear standoffs with US

  • Chinese president to embark on state visit to Pyongyang on Thursday
  • It will be the first official visit by a Chinese leader to Pyongyang in 14 years

SEOUL: Chinese President Xi Jinping is to start a two-day state visit to Pyongyang on Thursday to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ahead of next week’s G20 Summit in Japan.

It will be the first official visit by a Chinese leader to Pyongyang in 14 years. Xi’s visit, which comes at Kim’s invitation, takes place as China and North Korea lock horns with the US over trade and nuclear issues, respectively.

“Xi is expected to show off his strong influence over the Kim Jong Un regime, which is in a tug of war with the Trump administration over denuclearization and sanctions,” Moon Sung Mook, a researcher in Seoul, told Arab News.

“But I don’t think the Xi-Kim meeting will provide a clue as to the stalled nuclear disarmament talks between Pyongyang and Washington.” Moon, a retired brigadier general, said Xi will likely support Kim’s stance on phased denuclearization efforts in return for incentives from the US.

“China has long sided with North Korea’s assertions about a step-by-step denuclearization process and the halting of joint military exercises by the American and South Korean armed forces,” said Moon.

“They’ve been quite successful as the joint exercises have been suspended, and I don’t believe Xi will add pressure on the North over sanctions,” he added.

“For Kim, Xi’s visit will help ease his diplomatic crunch after the collapse of his (Kim’s) summit with US President Donald Trump in Hanoi in February.”

That summit broke down due to disagreements over how far North Korea should go in dismantling its nuclear programs in return for sanctions relief.

FASTFACT

Washington has demanded that the North make a verifiable effort to get rid of all its nuclear weapons, including its enriched uranium program, before any sanctions are lifted.

Washington has demanded that the North make a verifiable effort to get rid of all its nuclear weapons, including its enriched uranium program, before any sanctions are lifted.

In defiance of UN resolutions, North Korea has test-fired short-range multiple ballistic missiles over the eastern waters of the Korean Peninsula, further complicating the denuclearization talks.

But Pyongyang stopped short of firing intercontinental ballistic missiles, a red line drawn by the Trump administration.

Prof. Kim Dong Yub of Kyungnam University’s Institute for Far Eastern Studies said the North Korean leader is “using diplomatic leverage to deal with the US … in the face of US-led sanctions.”

He added: “For Xi, the North’s denuclearization won’t be a major issue among his agenda items as his country is locked in a standoff with Trump over trade and technology.”

He said: “Given the escalating trade war between Beijing and Washington, Xi’s trip to Pyongyang is obviously an important geopolitical move.” Beijing has yet to confirm whether Xi will meet with Trump during the G20 Summit.

Meanwhile, South Korea’s presidential spokeswoman Ko Min Jung said: “We expect this (Xi’s) visit to contribute to the early resumption of talks for complete denuclearization and a permanent peace settlement on the Korean Peninsula.”

Trump recently said he had received another “beautiful” letter from the North Korean leader, opening the door for his third summit with him.