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UAE not taking sides in Ukraine conflict, senior official says

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By Reuters

-The United Arab Emirates wants to encourage a political solution in the Ukraine conflict and taking sides would only encourage violence, a senior UAE official said on Sunday.

The comment, posted by Anwar Gargash on Twitter, comes after the UAE abstained to vote on Friday on a draft United Nations Security Council resolution deploring Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. It did not pass because of Russia’s veto.

The UAE “believes that taking sides would only lead to more violence”, said Gargash, diplomatic adviser to the UAE president.

Gulf Arab states have so far taken a neutral stance between Western allies and Russia, with which they are partners under an oil producers’ alliance known as OPEC+. Saudi Arabia and the UAE also have investment and business ties with Moscow.

A Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) statement read out by Saudi Arabia at a U.N. General Assembly session last week had affirmed the bloc’s “deep ties” with all parties involved and called for de-escalation, restraint and diplomacy to end the conflict.

The GCC includes Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman.

“In the Ukrainian crisis, our priority is to encourage all parties to resort to diplomatic action and to negotiate to find a political solution,” Gargash said.

“The UAE has a firm position regarding the United Nations, international law and the sovereignty of states, rejecting military solutions,” he added.

The UAE’s foreign minister is expected to hold talks with his Russian counterpart in Moscow on Monday, the Russian foreign ministry had said in a Feb. 25 Twitter post.