Security a ‘red line’ issue: UAE president

Agence France Presse

Published — Monday 3 December 2012

Last update 3 December 2012 7:09 am

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

ABU DHABI : President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahayan warned yesterday against undermining UAE’s security as he promised to widen the decision-making process in the nation where some 60 Islamists have been detained this year.
“This country’s security is sacred and any attempt to undermine its foundations is a red line,” warned Sheikh Khalifa in statements marking the 41st anniversary of the union of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates.
“We are gradually moving toward expanding popular participation in decision-making, to reach a political system that would reflect reality and suit the nature of the society,” said Khalifa in remarks published by local media.
Last year, Emirati activists signed a petition calling for political reforms, including direct elections and broadening the powers of the toothless UAE legislature, the Federal National Council.
Some of the activists were arrested but later released.
The UAE, a federation of seven emirates led by Abu Dhabi, has not seen any of the widespread protests calling for reform that have swept other Arab countries, including fellow Gulf states Bahrain and Oman.
But authorities have stepped up a crackdown on voices of dissent and calls for democratic reforms.
Khalifa affirmed his country’s “support to the choices of the people” in Arab Spring countries, while “rejecting any intervention in their internal affairs.”
On July 15, the UAE announced it had dismantled a group it said was plotting against state security and challenging the constitution of the Gulf state.
Dubai police chief General Dahi Khalfan had repeatedly accused the Muslim Brotherhood — which came to power after the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia — of plotting against Gulf monarchies, claiming the 61 Islamists detained were linked to the group.
The detainees had condemned “false accusations” of challenging the political system and renewed allegiance to the leadership of the federation of seven hereditary sheikhdoms.
Last month, the Gulf country issued a new law toughening penalties for cyber crimes to include jail terms for anyone who calls for regime change or mocks its rulers.
Separately, Khalifa renewed his country’s calls for Iran to settle a territorial dispute over three strategic Gulf islands by ‘dialogue and accept international arbitration to resolve this issue.” Iran and the UAE are at loggerheads over the islands of Abu Musa, Greater Tunb and Lesser Tunb, which lie in the strategic Strait of Hormuz entrance to the Gulf.
Iran took control of them in 1971 when colonial-era Britain withdrew from that part of the Gulf.

The Islamic republic says the islands are a historic part of its territory, and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in April visited them to reassert that position.
However, the UAE claims ownership in line with an agreement signed with Britain, and it has won support from other Arab states in the Gulf and its ally the United States.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: A number of parents have complained about the lack of hygiene in schools, expressing fears about the potential spread of the MERS virus with the beginning of the new academic year. This comes in the backdrop of another death due to the deadly...
JEDDAH: Disputes over sharing of property or inheriting family business are common. But Dhahran has witnessed an unusual fight among four brothers — over donating kidney to their youngest brother.Coincidentally, all the brothers were found fit to don...
JEDDAH: A number of visually impaired citizens are expecting candidates to address their problems and make life easier for them after winning the Dec. 12 municipal elections.A section of these voters have also sought special programs so that they can...
RIYADH: The Ministry of Interior recently launched a series of training programs to upgrade the efficiency of its female staff as a new step to empower women and give them an opportunity to shine in security-related fields.Maha Frehi, the manager of...
RIYADH: Sixty-one Filipinos, who met with a vehicular accident on the day of Arafat on Nov. 5, 2011, hope to come to the Kingdom as the guests of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman.Most of them could not complete the Haj rituals because of...
JEDDAH: At the start of each academic year, parents face a common and expected problem — their children are afraid of going to school.After spending five years in the arms of their mothers and siblings, children know leaving home means entering a new...

Stay Connected