UAE, Germany vow to continue joint fight against terrorism and extremism

The joint UAE-German statement was released on the occasion of the visit of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan to Germany, where he met Angela Merkel. (SPA)
Updated 12 June 2019

UAE, Germany vow to continue joint fight against terrorism and extremism

  • During his visit, Sheikh Mohamed met with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Chancellor Angela Merkel
  • UAE and Germany both expressed concern about growing tensions in the Middle East

BERLIN: The UAE and Germany vowed to continue their fight against terrorism and violent extremism — in all its forms, at both regional and international levels — in a joint statement released on Wednesday.
The statement was released on the occasion of the visit of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan to Germany.
During his visit, Sheikh Mohamed met with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Chancellor Angela Merkel.
In the statement, the UAE and Germany both expressed concern about growing tensions in the Middle East and both called on Iran to play a “constructive role” in the region and “refrain from any escalatory steps,” as well as respecting sovereignty and non-interference in the affairs of other countries.
The UAE and Germany agreed on the importance of all parties in the region refraining from any actions that could escalate existing tensions.
The two countries discussed the situation in Yemen and their support for the ongoing efforts by UN envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths. They also agreed that a military solution would not work in both Syria and Libya, calling the Syrian conflict a “priority for the international community as a whole” and the need for a “political solution” in Libya.
The close political, social and economic ties between the two countries were also discussed during the crown prince’s visit.


US ‘disappointed’ by Turkey mosque move on Hagia Sophia

People, some wearing face masks, pray outside the Hagia Sophia museum in Istanbul on July 10, 2020 as they gather to celebrate after a top Turkish court revoked the sixth-century Hagia Sophia's status as a museum, clearing the way for it to be turned back into a mosque. (AFP)
Updated 12 July 2020

US ‘disappointed’ by Turkey mosque move on Hagia Sophia

  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has chipped away at the Muslim-majority country’s secularism, announced Muslim prayers on July 24 at the UNESCO World Heritage site

WASHINGTON: The US said it was “disappointed” by Turkey’s decision to turn the Byzantine-era monument Hagia Sophia back into a mosque and urged equal access for all visitors.
“We are disappointed by the decision by the government of Turkey to change the status of the Hagia Sophia,” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said.
“We understand the Turkish government remains committed to maintaining access to the Hagia Sophia for all visitors, and look forward to hearing its plans for continued stewardship of the Hagia Sophia to ensure it remains accessible without impediment for all,” she said on Friday.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has chipped away at the Muslim-majority country’s secularism, announced Muslim prayers on July 24 at the UNESCO World Heritage site.
A magnet for tourists worldwide, the Hagia Sophia was first constructed as a cathedral in the Christian Byzantine Empire but was converted into a mosque after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453.
Erdogan’s announcement came after the cancellation of a decision under modern Turkey’s secularizing founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk to preserve the church-turned-mosque as a museum.

We understand the Turkish government remains committed to maintaining access to the Hagia Sophia for all visitors, and look forward to hearing its plans for continued stewardship of the Hagia Sophia to ensure it remains accessible without impediment for all.

Morgan Ortagus, State Department spokeswoman

Erdogan went ahead despite an open appeal to the NATO ally by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, an evangelical Christian who frequently speaks about religious freedom.
In a statement last week, Pompeo called the museum status an “exemplar” of Turkey’s “commitment to respect the faith traditions and diverse history” of the country and said a change risked “diminishing the legacy of this remarkable building.”
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden also said on Friday he deeply regretted Turkey’s decision.
Biden called on Erdogan to reverse it “and instead keep this treasured place in its current status as a museum, ensuring equal access for all.”