Harris and Blinken at the Emirates to meet the new president

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris arrived in the United Arab Emirates on Monday (May 16) at the head of a large delegation including Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, to meet with the new president of this wealthy country. Gulf, Mohammad bin Zayed.

Kamala Harris needs to talk to someone named “MBZ“, Was elected president on Saturday of the sovereignty of the seven emirates that make up this state, including in particular Dubai and the capital Abu Dhabi. The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed bin Zayed already rules the country de facto on the left yet officially replaced his ailing paternal brother, Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, who died on Friday. “The United States takes seriously the strength of its relationship and cooperation with the United Arab Emirates.Kamala Harris said in a White House statement. “So we go there to express our condolences, but also our commitment to strengthening this relationship.“, He insisted.

World dignitaries have flocked to Abu Dhabi since Saturday to congratulate the new president on the small, oil-rich state that has become a key player in the Middle East in recent years. French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson were among the leaders who traveled this week.

Close relationship

The American delegation that arrived Monday included several other senior American officials, including Lloyd Austin, Minister of Defense, John Kerry, special envoy for climate, William Burns, director of the CIA, the main agency of foreign American intelligence. It will be the largest visit by U.S. officials to the Gulf, a wealthy region with important partners including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Relations between Washington and the Gulf have however gone through cold periods in recent years, with Americans sometimes accused by some observers of losing interest in the region in favor of their priority of Asia. The U.S. administration, for its part, has been hurt by the Gulf countries ’refusal to increase oil production to calm the surge in prices in world markets since Ukraine’s invasion of Russia in late February.

In early March, the ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the United States, Youssef Al Otaïba, estimated that relations between Washington and Abu Dhabi were “to testwhile insisting on the desire to launch it again in the long term. “Our relationship with the United States is like any other relationship. There were days when he was in good shape and days when he was questioned“, He said during a conference.

Iran too

Close to the United States, various Gulf powers have also forged important relations with Moscow and Russian President Vladimir Putin, a staunch ally of oil-exporting countries. Neither Saudi Arabia nor the United Arab Emirates supported Russia’s intervention in Ukraine, though. The two Gulf countries, however, are expecting more support from the United States in the Yemen file, where the war they are waging against the Houthis, rebels close to Iran, is broken even if the establishment of a truce of progress produces shy hope.

In Morocco, Antony Blinken met with Mohammed ben Zayed at the end of March, assuring that the cooperation between the two countries “importante gyud“.”We are determined to do everything possible to help you defend yourself effectively (…) against Houthis terrorist attacks“, By Antony Blinken.

The United States is not alone in seeking to reconnect with the United Arab Emirates, as the Gulf country has tried to ease its relations with the region. So Mohammed ben Zayed welcomed Tamim ben Hamad Al-Thani, emir of Qatar, another Gulf state where he had severed ties for a while. Even Iran, a neighboring country, sent its foreign minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, to Abu Dhabi on Monday. According to a statement from the presidency, Iran’s head of state, Ebrahim Raisi, congratulated Mohammed bin Zayed and expressed hope for the strengthening of relations with “interests of both countries“.

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