H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE's Foreign Minister, has participated in a summit meeting chaired by US President Barack Obama, highlighting the international community’s efforts to counter Daesh, address threat of foreign terrorist fighters, and counter violent extremism.
Sheikh Abdullah said the UAE was conscious of the grave threat posed by extremism in the region and the world, adding that the extremist ideologies usually seek to poison young people's minds, divide communities and distort the Islamic religion in order to serve their agendas.
In his speech at the summit, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed pledged the UAE's continuous commitment to play its role in addressing extremism, whether through electronic means or other ways.
He noted that these extremist ideologies were usually props for terrorism, and called for the need to address the situation through a comprehensive international strategy aimed at attacking the root causes of extremist ideology.
He added that the systematic killings carried out by Daesh "of innocent civilians, the extermination of religious minorities, mass rapes of women and destruction of the historical heritage, are unprecedented and shocking developments in our contemporary world."
Sheikh Abdullah said, "The war on terror and extremism is a war in which all of us are together. We are fighting in defence of our human values against terrorist groups targeting the security of our people and the future of our children."
He went on to say that the UAE notes the positive indicators and the progress made by the international coalition in its operations against Daesh, stressing that in order to defeat this extreme group, it was required that collective international efforts are made and terrorism hotbeds being used as safe havens, including training camps, especially in Iraq and Syria, be eliminated.
Sheikh Abdullah stated that the solution to the crisis in Syria lies in intensifying the campaigns against Daesh and also keeping up the pressure. Besides, efforts to reach an urgent political solution in line with the principles of "Geneva 1" were required.
He also renewed the United Arab Emirates' support to the efforts undertaken by the Iraqi Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi, to achieve national reconciliation between various sections of the Iraqi people and reform its institutions.
Sheikh Abdullah said more aggressive measures should be used to restore the confidence of the Sunni sects in the political system and establish a unified national front against Daesh, adding that the UAE was ready to provide support to any such efforts.
The Foreign Minister said, "Failure to make progress in Iraq and Syria will continue to ignite the conflict, extend the danger facing the region, and lead to the worsening of the political, economic and social implications of the refugee crisis affecting many countries in the world."
Sheikh Abdullah went on to commend the support the UAE provides to the international coalition through its military operations and its work in tackling the channels through which funds flow to Daesh and other terrorist groups.
He said, "Let me focus on our contributions in addressing the terrorist ideologies propagated by Daesh and add to what was said by British Prime Minister David Cameron, which is that we have seen Daesh exploit the social media to communicate and disseminate extremist ideology, and also to recruit."
The Minister said that as a response, the United Arab Emirates and the United States in July launched the Sawab centre to monitor and analyse the group's social media communications and present an alternative view that is positive and moderate.
He said, "Although we still have a long way to go, the preliminary results are very encouraging. In August, the centre launched its first electronic campaign which focused on Daesh defectors and was a remarkable success."
Sheikh Abdullah also said the centre launched its second electronic campaign a few days ago to shed light on the difficult conditions in which people were living in Daesh-controlled areas.
The Minister explained that #exposing#Daesh#lies has topped the list of the most re-tweeted tweets in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, adding that the Sawab centre plans to expand its social network to reach new target groups.
He said that although initial indicators point to a decline in Daesh's activity on Twitter, "We recognise that this long fight requires continuous interaction on the part of our governments and peoples."
Sheikh Abdullah stressed that the UAE reiterates its calls to advance a moderate agenda in the region. He said, "We believe that tolerance, openness and good governance form the basic common values that underpin all kinds of cultures and religions."
He went on to express his hope that these visions and values will be transferred through the Sawab centre and other initiatives to help save a generation that feels abandoned by the international community, frustrated at the lack of opportunities available to them, making them such an easy prey to extremist ideologies.
In conclusion, the Minister reiterated the UAE's commitment to its role in fighting extremist propaganda, either through social media or other means.
He said, "In the end, our common vision will triumph over the brutality of Daesh."