Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Sarkozy: "UAE is a beacon for moderation and stability"

Britain´s David Cameron is not the only European leader trying to promote arms sales to the United Arab Emirates. In a statement to a bulletin related to to the ongoing huge arms fair IDEX, French president Nicolas  Sarkozy said that "the UAE is a beacon for moderation and stability in the region that lacks such values and principles,". He added that "since the UAE has chosen the road of openness and proactive ideas it is natural to find France on its side to defend the shared values".

"Sarkozy reiterated that the relations between France and UAE were strategic, citing the defence agreement between the two countries signed in 1995, and boosted by the existence of the first permanent French base in the region. He noted that the bilateral relations extend to the cultural relations, referring to Louvre Museum and Sorbonne University in Abu Dhabi."
He added that the French companies were aware about the strength of the UAE economy, citing their keenness to partake in the UAE economic development process.

Read the entire article here.

Sarkozy´s rosy view is not necessarily shared by all people in the UAE, reports the Canadian The Star newspaper:

Political science professor Abdulkhaleq Abdulla has idealistic young students like any other professor. Asked if they aspire to a fully democratic United Arab Emirates, he provides an almost plaintive response:
“I do.”
“Who wouldn’t want to have that, an elected body, an elected parliament and participation and better media . . . these are simple human rights to be observed by everybody,” says Abdulla, a lecturer at Emirates University, a modern school where female students outnumber males 3-to-1.
“I think everybody yearns for the time when you could express your feelings and your thinking as freely as possible. It’s awkward to be the best when it comes to human development indexes yet the worst when it comes to freedom and political liberty.”
There is little doubt liberty is lacking in the U.A.E. The organization Freedom House declared that the U.A.E. is “not free” after weighing the state of civil liberties and political freedoms

Another Canadian site, Canadian Press cites an American Middle East expert about the situation in the Gulf states:

Simon Henderson, a Mideast analyst at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, described the Gulf rulers as digging in to protect systems whose time may be coming to an end.
"The king or emir is the CEO of a country and member of the ruling family are the shareholders, not the people," he said.
"That's the way it used to be," he added. "That was before people across the Middle East marched on the streets, demanding their rights now matter how brutal or how ancient the regime in power."

Read the entire article here.

No comments: