UAE, Britain discuss global financial crisis (Second Lead)

November 3rd, 2008 - 11:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Gordon BrownDubai, Nov 3 (IANS) The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Britain Monday reviewed the global economic crisis as British Prime Minister Gordon Brown arrived in Abu Dhabi on the last leg of his three-nation Gulf tour.UAE President Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan received Brown and his delegation in Abu Dhabi.

The two leaders reviewed bilateral ties and ways to bolster these, and also deliberated on regional and international issues, the state-run Emirates News Agency (WAM) reported.

On the ongoing global financial crisis sparked by the credit crunch in the West, Sheikh Khalifa lauded the efforts made by Brown to achieve greater international cooperation to meet the crisis through empowerment of world financial institutions and funds for helping countries most affected by it.

The British prime minister embarked on a whirlwind tour of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE Saturday to seek contributions to his idea of an expanded International Monetary Fund (IMF) as a bailout package for the global financial crisis.

Brown is leading a powerful delegation comprising British Secretary of State for Business Lord Mandelson, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Miliband, a business team comprising top executives of British companies and representatives of leading British universities.

During his meeting with Sheikh Khalifa, Brown hailed the strong historical relations between Britain and the UAE.

Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Interior Sheikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a number of other sheikhs, ministers, senior state officials and Britain’s Ambassador to UAE Edward Oakden were present at the meeting.

According to Ambassador Oakden, during the course of his two-day visit to the UAE - the first by a British prime minister to the Gulf nation since Tony Blair’s visit in December 2006 - Brown would discuss with the UAE leadership the need for greater coordination of monetary and fiscal policies of relevant countries and better inter-bank lending following his visits to Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Qatar has offered to help Britain in this time of crisis following a meeting between Brown and Qatar’s Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Al-Thani.

While praising Brown’s handling of the current crisis, Sheikh Hamad said: “We share the same world and the same principles and Qatar is not excluded from the current crisis. However, there are other countries that need our help in different ways and we continue to offer assistance to any countries that we can agree with.”

Addressing a joint press conference in Doha Sunday night, the Qatari premier said the two countries were studying new horizons for cooperation, adding that that he discussed with Brown the global financial turmoil and how to overcome it.

“We are in agreement to act together with Britain and with other countries we could agree with to work out a unified mechanism to deal with such a global financial turmoil and explore aspects of cooperation in numerous spheres,” he said.

According to the Qatar News Agency, asked about the Gulf nations’ responsibility to help European countries meet the economic crisis, Sheikh Hamad said: “There is a misunderstanding, nobody here seeks to get assistance but the pursuit is for cooperation… Qatar and Britain and the other countries have the same principles, will and desire to resolve such a crisis and discuss how to deal with that economic crisis.”

On his part, Brown praised Qatar’s policies to diversify its economy away from oil and gas.

“This great country is leading the world in so many ways,” he said, while lauding that Gulf nation’s move to a knowledge-based economy.

Brown reiterated that the credit crisis could be solved only through international cooperation.

The British premier is looking to add billions of dollars more to the over $400 billion that the IMF has at its disposal to bail out countries under pressure and he feels the Gulf nations, flush with rising oil revenues, could make major contributions.

During the course of his visit to Qatar, the two countries also signed a $406-million ‘Clean Technology Fund’, with Qatar contributing around $227 million.

Brown also praised Qatar for its role in bringing about peace in Lebanon.

Prior to Qatar, Brown held a meeting in Riyadh with Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz.

“Saudi Arabia will be at the table during the G20 meeting in Washington (Nov 15) and you have a crucial role to play and your voice must be heard,” he said at a meeting of the Saudi-British Joint Business Council in Riyadh Sunday after his meeting with King Abdullah.

Saudi Arabia is the only country from the Gulf to be a member of the Group of 20 nations, which also includes India, China and Brazil.

“Any movement on the process of reform at the summit-level meeting in Washington will entice more help from nations such as Saudi Arabia and China to help shore up the global economy,” Brown was quoted as saying.

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