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‘No grudge against Canada’
UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan met a Canadian member of parliament on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos.
February 2, 2011 12:46 by Atique Naqvi
The UAE has no grudge against Canada, said the UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan during talks with a former Canadian minister and a current member of parliament on the sidelines of World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos last week.
Canada’s Liberal Party spokesperson on economy and shadow minister of finance, Scott Brison, met Sheikh Abdullah to discuss the UAE-Canada ties that have turned sour in the past few months. Brison said he had a very candid discussion with the UAE minister and asked him to come to Ottawa to resolve the problem. Sheikh Abdullah showed readiness to hold face-to-face talks with Canadian government provided he is invited officially to hold such a meeting, said Brison. I witnessed a keen sense in Sheikh Abdullah to solve this problem, he said.
The former minister of public works and government services said the whole episode is very unfortunate. The UAE has been our defense and security ally besides being a great economic investment partner, Brison said, adding that the two countries have shared very good friendship and the way situation has developed recently is bad for both the UAE and Canada.
“I seriously hope Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government invites Sheikh Abdullah to resolve this issue,” he said.
Regarding the Emirates and Etihad issue, Brison said that there has been a lot of confusion in Canada on this. “Harper’s government is telling Canadians that the UAE airlines want to add 40 more flights while Sheikh Abdullah told me that the carriers wanted just eight additional flight.” He condemned Harper, who launched slurs against the UAE through media saying that public insults should be avoided at any cost. Brison doesn’t see a reason why a compromise cannot be reached on the whole UAE-Canada issue. The current government should initiate the process to solve this problem and, if not, then once Liberal Party comes to power we will solve this issue as soon as possible, said Brison. “I hope we won’t have to wait for that long.”
Talking about W.E.F., he said that there is a need for strong partnerships between the developed world and emerging economies of Africa and Latin America to narrow the gap between the rich and poor. Fair trade regulations and liberalized economies would benefit everyone, Brison said, adding that thanks to effective regulation the Canadian banks are the strongest in the world.
(By Atique Naqvi and Ranvir Nayar in Davos)