Dr. Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash, Diplomatic Advisor to President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, today delivered keynote remarks at the 8th Abu Dhabi Strategic Debate 2021 under the theme “The Post-Pandemic World.” Hosted by the Emirates Policy Center at Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi, the event brought together prominent strategic experts, well-known researchers, and leading world policymakers from 13-15 November to discuss international and regional dynamics in the post-COVID-19 era.
In his opening remarks, Gargash offered a message of optimism for the region’s youth, noting: “In such a difficult region and with the pandemic still raging, it is critically important that we do not get dragged into focusing our attention exclusively on the difficult issues of the day. We must always give our young people, and those from across the region, something inspiring to aim towards.”
Pointing to the UAE’s hosting of Expo 2020 Dubai and the UAE’s space program, including its successful Hope Probe Mission and announcement of the 2028 Venus exploration mission, Gargash underscored the importance of cultural and scientific progress in the UAE’s developmental journey since its founding as a nation nearly 50 years ago.
Turning to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on geostrategic priorities, Gargash highlighted the importance of building resilient supply chains, improving food security, and championing health diplomacy as an international community. His Excellency also indicated the importance of global action to address the pressing threat of climate change. Gargash noted the UAE’s efforts to enhance sustainable development and climate change mitigation, with the UAE set to host the 28th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 28) in 2023 to mobilise international climate solutions. Moreover, He added that the UAE’s recent announcement of a target of net zero emissions by 2050 represents the first commitment of its kind in the region and among OPEC countries.
On the regional level, Gargash underscored the value of constructive engagement according to a rules-based order, remarking, “Confrontation is not the most productive path, and instead, diplomacy and enhanced communication is the best way forward. Therefore, we are working hard to build communication and bridges with all countries, including those with which we have serious disagreements.”
“This prioritization of diplomacy and communication over confrontation has also been evident in the Abraham Accords and our subsequent engagement with Israel,” Gargash stated.
“In almost half of the members of the Arab League, the institutions of the sovereign nation state are seriously challenged by internal conflicts based on sectarianism, failure of governance, and extremism, which are often made worse by external interference,” Gargash continued.
“We cannot stand by and watch these vacuums filled by malign actors. But as the region emerges exhausted from the pandemic and years of conflict, we must further enhance our diplomatic efforts to resolve these issues.
“So recent contributions by the UAE to supporting a difficult transition in Sudan – or addressing the worrying situation in Ethiopia – have been focused on using our relationships and good offices to deescalate, urge dialogue, and avoid a path of confrontation,” Gargash stated.
“Enough countries share a desire to avoid a new Cold War that diplomacy can help build a sort of moral consensus on a pragmatic vision for a reformed but mutually beneficial world order,” His Excellency continued.
Concerning the international community’s shared priorities in the post-COVID-19 period, Gargash outlined the importance of boosting collective efforts to ensure a sustainable recovery from the pandemic, supporting dialogue with the aim of resolving conflicts, promoting multilateral cooperation to combat terrorism and extremism, and championing the role of women and girls in promoting peace.
As the UAE commences its work as the Arab group representative on the UN Security Council, His Excellency stated, “At the heart of the UAE’s post-pandemic foreign policy will be an even greater focus on diplomacy and communication.”
“Where we can,” Gargash added, “we will seek to build bridges between the great powers on the Council. This will include engaging in dialogue with other countries to explore how to reinforce an open and collaborative world order.”
Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation