The United Arab Emirates called Wednesday for a coordinated international effort to tackle the “global scourge” of terrorism, raising particular concern about the threat posed by the Islamic State militant group that has seized large swaths of Iraq and Syria.
The U.S.-allied Gulf nation has provided backing for some of the Sunni rebel groups fighting to topple President Bashar Assad in Syria, and its companies have made significant investments in Iraq. It has taken a firm stance against Islamist movements such as the Muslim Brotherhood that have sought to benefit from the regional tumult of the Arab Spring.
In its appeal, the Emirati Foreign Affairs Ministry expressed its “deepest concerns and strongest condemnation of terror acts and criminal practices of violent extremists.” It blasted the Islamic State group for killing, terrorizing and displacing civilians, ransacking property and destroying religious and historical sites.
The message appeared to be directed in part at its Western allies ahead of a meeting between U.S. President Barack Obama and other NATO leaders in Wales on Thursday.
The UAE has deployed troops in support of the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan and last year became the first Arab state to open a diplomatic mission to the alliance.
“On the eve of the NATO summit in Wales, the UAE stresses the need for cooperation and coordination amongst the international community, taking advantage of the existing institutional framework,” it said. “As terrorism is a global scourge that knows no borders and draws from all parts of the world, the international community must work towards a unified strategy to face this issue at all levels.”
The Emirates is a seven-state federation that includes the oil-rich capital of Abu Dhabi and the Middle East’s commercial hub, Dubai.
It said it supports regional and international efforts to fight terrorism “and is determined to stand firm against all extremist threats.”
In addition to tackling extremist threats in Iraq and Syria, it called for international action elsewhere in the region too, including Yemen, Somalia, Libya and Afghanistan — countries it said “also suffer from the radical ideology and incitement to violence emanating from ISIL and al-Qaeda,” using another acronym for the Islamic State group.
U.S. officials say the Emirates and Egypt were behind airstrikes against Islamist-backed militants in Libya last month. The UAE has not publicly confirmed it was involved, and its statement Wednesday made no further mention of Libya.
SOURCE: The Associated Press