Middle East

UAE welcomes Egypt Morsi's pledge not to 'export' revolt

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle (L) attends a joint press conference with his Emerati counterpart Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan during his visit to Doha, which is the first stop of his regional tour that will take him to the UAE, Turkey and Lebanon. (AFP PHOTO / KARIM SAHIB)

ABU DHABI: The UAE is keen on strengthening relations with Egypt, its foreign minister said on Tuesday, welcoming newly elected President Mohamed Morsi's pledge not to "export" his country's revolution.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan's statement came days after Egypt's foreign ministry summoned the UAE ambassador over comments made by Dubai police chief General Dahi Khalfan offering "condolences" on Morsi's victory.

"We are keen on strengthening these historical and brotherly relations during the upcoming period politically and economically," Sheikh Abdullah said in a statement published on state news agency WAM.

He welcomed Morsi's remarks pledging "to not meddle in the affairs of others and not export the revolution" that brought him to power, according to WAM.

Sheikh Abdullah, who said he views Morsi's rule with "optimism," added that "Egypt's strong, balanced and effective role will positively affect the Arab world."

Khalfan, known for his hostility towards Islamists, offered his "condolences to the Arab and Muslim nation on the victory of the Muslim Brotherhood who do not represent Islam" in tweets published after Morsi was declared winner.

He also said the Egyptian revolution was "carried out by the youth, and the Brothers have harvested the fruits."

Morsi stood down from the powerful Muslim Brotherhood after his election.

Earlier this year, Khalfan said he had his reasons to claim that the "Brotherhood was plotting to change the regimes in the Gulf," in an interview published in Kuwaiti daily Al-Qabas.

Khalfan has been involved in a tit-for-tat controversy with the Brotherhood after he threatened in March to arrest cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a leading Brotherhood figure, for criticising the United Arab Emirates for deporting Syrian protesters.

Last year, the UAE revoked the citizenships of seven members of the UAE's Reform and Social Guidance Association (Al-Islah), which is linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, for allegedly threatening the Gulf state's security and safety.

The men had signed a petition calling for political reforms which was launched by UAE intellectuals and activists in March 2011.

The UAE, a federation of seven emirates, has not seen any popular protests calling for reforms like those that have swept other Arab countries, including nearby Bahrain and Oman.

However, the government has increased its clampdown on voices of dissent and calls for democratic reforms.





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