UAE vice president: You must change or you will be changed

UAE Vice President, Prime Minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum addressing participants at the World Government Summit in Dubai on Sunday.
Updated 13 February 2017

UAE vice president: You must change or you will be changed

DUBAI: In order for the Arab civilization to regain its past glories, the Arab world should begin by comprehending the indicators for the future, said Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum.
Sheikh Mohammed made the remarks today while addressing a panel of the World Government Summit, which was attended by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and deputy supreme commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
Sheikh Mohammed referred to a “clear message” he made to the Arab governments 12 years ago that “you must change, or you will be changed.”
“As we talk about resuming civilization, we need hope. I am optimistic because it is the man who makes civilization, economy and prosperity. If the Arab and Muslim man succeeded in building a civilization in the past, they are capable of resuming it,” he added.
Sheikh Mohammed said the Arab world possesses all potentials, including human resources, education, fertile lands and will power.
“The only thing missing is the management. The management of governments, economy, resources, infrastructure and even management of sports. We are 300 million, almost equal to the population of the United States, but look how many medals they win in the Olympic Games. We have failures in certain areas that need to be addressed.”
Asked about his greatest personal achievement, Sheikh Mohammed said: “The UAE has many achievements that my brother Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, my other brothers, and I, are very proud of. I believe the biggest achievement is the building of the UAE citizens, the citizens who are capable of everything, including running the economy.”
He recalled that when the federation was founded by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, “we were just 40 university graduates. Now, we have 77 universities, teeming with thousands of students. We have a program to reach Mars, fully run by young Emiratis.”
Answering a question how the UAE managed to balance economic and tourism openness with security, Sheikh Mohammed said: “The world’s problems are open-ended and we have to grow for the interest of our people and our country. If we said 40 years ago let us stop until it is safe, we would’nt achieve anything. We have people who carry out their duty of keeping us secure, while we are engaged in developing our country.”
Sheikh Mohammed said the UAE has no recipe for success, but to endeavor, learn, gain expertise and importantly, appreciate the value of time.
“We do not boast perfection. We still learn every day and we waste no time because for us, time is like a running river. The experiment of the UAE speaks for itself for whoever wants to emulate it. All I can say is that we have advanced qualities in leadership and management,” he said.
Sheikh Mohammed praised UAE’s special relations with Egypt, describing the latter as “the heart and soul of the Arab world.”
On how to develop civilization through separating religion and politics, he said: During the pre-Islam era, tribes fought and invaded each others and when Islam came, the civilization started. Today, there are people with half or no knowledge at all, who blow themselves up in Europe and America in the name of faith. Their interpretation of Islam is completely wrong. It is a tolerant faith that calls for peace for all people of the world, not only Muslims. They just want to kill men, enslave women and refer that to religion. They simply know nothing.”


Lebanon PM says new cabinet faces ‘catastrophe’

Updated 5 min 18 sec ago

Lebanon PM says new cabinet faces ‘catastrophe’

  • Diab vowed to meet demands from the street but demonstrators were unconvinced
  • He said the government just unveiled was a technocratic one

BEIRUT: Lebanon faces a ‘catastrophe’, Prime Minister Hassan Diab said Wednesday after his newly unveiled cabinet held its first meeting to tackle the twin challenges of a tenacious protest movement and a nosediving economy.
Hassan Diab, who replaced Saad Hariri as prime minister, vowed to meet the demands from the street but demonstrators were unconvinced and scuffled with police overnight.
The 61-year-old academic, was thrown in at the deep end for his first experience on the political big stage and admitted that the situation he inherited was desperate.
“Today we are in a financial, economic and social dead end,” he said in remarks read by a government official after the new cabinet’s inaugural meeting in Beirut.
“We are facing a catastrophe,” he said.
“Government of last resort,” was the headline on the front page of Al-Akhbar, a daily newspaper close to the powerful Hezbollah movement that gave its blessing to Diab’s designation last month.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun (R) heads the first meeting of Prime Minister Hassan Diab’s (L) newly constituted government at the presidential palace in Baabda east of capital Beirut on Jan. 22, 2020. (AFP)

Western sanctions on the Iranian-backed organization are stacking up and economists have argued the new government might struggle to secure the aid it so badly needs.
But French President Emmanuel Macron, one of the first leaders to react to the formation of the new government, said he would “do everything, during this deep crisis that they are going through, to help.”
Hezbollah and its allies dominated the talks that produced the new line-up, from which outgoing premier Saad Hariri and some of his allies were absent.
The millionaire was one of the symbols of the kind of hereditary and sectarian-driven politics that protesters who have been in the streets since mid-October want to end.
He and his government resigned less than two weeks into the non-sectarian protests demanding the complete overhaul of the political system and celebrating the emergence of a new national civic identity.
Protesters from across Lebanon’s geographical and confessional divides had demanded a cabinet of independent technocrats as a first step to root out endemic government corruption and incompetence.

Lebanon’s new Prime Minister Hassan Diab (L) reviews the honor guard upon his arrival at the presidential palace in Baabda, east of the capital Beirut, for the inaugural meeting for the newly formed government. (Dalati Nohra/Handout via AFP)

Diab is a career academic from the prestigious American University of Beirut and he insisted Tuesday in his first comments that the government just unveiled was a technocratic one.
“This is a government that represents the aspirations of the demonstrators who have been mobilized nationwide for more than three months,” he said.
Yet the horsetrading between traditional political factions during lengthy government formation talks was all too familiar to many Lebanese who met the breakthrough with distrust at best.
“Instead of the corrupt politicians, we got the corrupt politicians’ friends,” said Ahmad Zaid, a 21-year-old student who joined a few hundred protesters in central Beirut after the announcement.
Clusters of demonstrators burned tires and briefly blocked roads to express their displeasure at the new line-up but clashes with riot police were on a smaller scale than weekend violence that left dozens wounded.
Similar rallies took place in Tripoli — a hotbed of the protest movement — in Sidon, Byblos and other cities.
The new cabinet is mostly made up of new faces, many of them academics and former ministry advisers.

Lebanon ended a painful wait by unveiling a new cabinet line-up, but the government was promptly scorned by protesters and faces the Herculean task of saving a collapsing economy. (AFP)

It comprises 20 ministers and among its six women is Zeina Akar, Lebanon’s first-ever female defense minister.
To downsize the cabinet, some portfolios were merged, resulting in at times baffling combinations such as a single ministry for culture and agriculture.
Anger at what protesters see as a kleptocratic oligarchy was initially fueled by youth unemployment that stands at more than 30 percent and the abysmal delivery of public services such as water and electricity.
The long-brewing discontent was compounded by fears of a total economic collapse in recent weeks, with a liquidity crunch leading banks to impose crippling capital controls.
Lebanon has one of the world’s highest debt-to-GDP ratios and economists have argued it is hard to see how the near bankrupt country could repay its foreign debt.
“Regarding the economic situation, I repeat that this is one of our priorities,” Diab said Tuesday night.

A new Cabinet was announced in crisis-hit Lebanon late Tuesday, breaking a months-long impasse amid mass protests against the country’s ruling elite and a crippling financial crisis, but demonstrations and violence continued. (Dalati Nohra/Lebanese Government via AP)

“We need to be given a little time,” he added.
A looming default on Lebanon’s debt, which has been steadily downgraded deeper into junk status by rating agencies, has sent the dollar soaring on the parallel exchange market.
In a country where many transactions are carried out in dollars and most goods are imported, consumers and businesses alike have been hit hard by the national currency’s free fall.
Every morning, queues of people hoping to withdraw their weekly cap of 100 or 200 dollars form outside banks.